The impeachment process: What happens next

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WINCHESTER, Va. (WDVM) — With an impeachment inquiry on President Trump underway, many are wondering: What could the impeachment process look like?

“The term ‘impeachment’ is the actual formal indictment of a public official for some sort of either treason, high crime, misdemeanor or bribery, according to the constitution,” said Dr. Michael Romano, assistant professor of political science at Shenandoah University.

Dr. Romano says that this is a rare event when it comes to presidencies.

“We’ve only done it twice. Many people think that Richard Nixon is the example here, but Nixon was never actually formally impeached, he resigned before that occurred,” said Romano.

With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting a formal inquiry, the House will put together a committee to gather information and to investigate any claims. If the committee deems there is enough information, then the process moves to a floor vote.

“The floor vote is where we get the articles of impeachment from, these are each of the listed possible charges that we can bring a public official up on,” said Dr. Romano.

If any one of those charges passes on a simple house majority vote, that charge leads to impeachment. Only then does the Senate get involved.

“And the Senate acts as the trial essentially for the impeachment. So every senator acts as a jury member,” said Dr. Romano. “In cases involving the president and the vice president, we have the chief justice of the supreme court acting as the judge.”

Each senator will get a vote to see whether or not there was enough evidence to determine guilt. And in order to remove a public official from office, a two-thirds majority vote is required.

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