All you need to know about the Trump impeachment hearing


Photo courtesy of: whitehouse/ Flickr

President Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine, shake hands after meeting in 2019. Both President Trump and President Zelensky participated in the phone call that lead to an impeachment inquiry.

Recently there’s been a lot of talk about impeachment in the news. But what is impeachment? How does it happen? What does it mean? Why is it happening? Here are all the basics you need to know:


What is impeachment? Impeachment was established in the Constitution, stating that a president can be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”.  What “high crimes and misdemeanors” means exactly is not elaborated on further in the Constitution. Most important to note is that even if a president is impeached, it does not mean they are removed from office. 

How does impeachment happen? For a president to be impeached, the House of Representatives must introduce an impeachment resolution. A hearing must be held to decide if the resolution will go to a full chamber vote. If a majority in the House vote to approve an article of impeachment the president is impeached. 

How is a president removed from office? After a president is impeached, all proceedings move to the Senate where a trial is held. Members of the House would act as prosecutors, called managers, and provide evidence to the Senate. The chief judge presides over the trial (currently John Roberts). The Senate votes on if the president is guilty or not. If two-thirds vote the president is guilty, they are removed from office.

Why is Trump facing an impeachment inquiry? The Trump-Ukraine scandal began after a whistleblower filed a complaint accusing Trump of wrongdoing. Basically, Trump called the Ukraine and asked for them to investigate the Bidens in exchange for military aid. This is called “quid pro quo” or a “favor for a favor”. Asking for a foreign country to investigate a political opponent is not allowed.

What is obstruction of justice? Trump is also being accused of obstructing justice. This means he impeded or interfered with the process of justice and law. This could include threatening a witness, juror, or official, providing false information, or otherwise harming a legal process. 

What else do I need to know? Public hearings for the impeachment inquiry start Wednesday Nov. 13 at 10 a.m. Before all witnesses have testified behind closed doors. Some information has been leaked to the public and considered pretty damning. Want to watch the impeachment hearings? Most major news networks are streaming them live on Youtube. 


Interested in reading more about impeachment? Check out this article from Vox or this article from NPR.