Jaws dropped Tuesday after Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House of Representatives will launch an impeachment investigation into President Trump. Politicians and political pundits have debated the impeachment of Trump since he took office in 2016. And only now is it real.
So here's what to understand about the process and what happens next.
What Is Impeachment?
Impeachment is when the House formally charges a federal official with a crime. That could include “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” according to the Constitution. Officials would investigate the person involved and decide what to charge them with.
What Does the House Want to Investigate?
There are questions surrounding recent decisions Trump made regarding Ukraine. According to multiple reports, Trump allegedly pushed the Ukranian government to investigate the son of political rival Joe Biden. His son did business with the country. And Trump allegedly instructed staff to cut off military aid to Ukraine in the days before the call, according to reports.
Trump denied that he pressured the Ukranian government in any way for political gain. Pelosi called the alleged actions a "betrayal of his oath of office" and a "betrayal of our national security."
And If the House Charges Trump With a Crime?
The process moves on to the Senate, which would decide whether to try the president on the charges brought against him. The chief justice of the United States would preside over the trial. A two-thirds majority vote in the Senate would be needed to remove him from office.
However, while other presidents have been impeached, including Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, no president has been removed from office.
Who Would Become President If Trump Is Removed From Office?
Vice President Mike Pence. He would serve out the rest of Trump's term — until January 2021.