How Impeachment Works


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Impeachment. What does it mean? Read on to find out!

Liliana Owen, Journalist

The fact that the House of Representatives has impeached President Trump has been in the headlines for a month or so. But what is impeachment, and how does it work?

What It Is And How It Works

The first article of the Constitution of the United States of America gives the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment. Impeachment has two parts. The House of Representatives is in charge of one, the Senate in charge of another.

In the first part, the House of Representatives looks at the evidence and then decides whether or not the President is guilty. This is referred to as impeachment. As Wikipedia says, “Impeachment does not necessarily result in removal from office; it is only a legal statement of charges, parallel to an indictment in criminal law.”

In the second part, the Senate votes on conviction. This is not about sending the President to jail, it is just about kicking them out of office. This requires a “super majority,” not a “simple majority.” (A simple majority is more than half; a super majority is more than two-thirds.) If the motion passes in the Senate, then the President is kicked out of office and can then go to an ordinary criminal trial.

So What Does This All Mean?

Well, President Trump being impeached does not mean that he is going to jail, or even being kicked out of office. The issue still needs to go to the Senate, after all. If Trump is convicted then that means that his Vice President, Mike Pence, would take over the role of President of the United States.

So really, right now it means next to nothing.