Here's how a Senate presidential impeachment trial works

Monday - 16/12/2019 14:15
President Donald Trump talks with Chief Justice John Roberts as he departs after delivering his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington in January 2018.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters file
President Donald Trump talks with Chief Justice John Roberts as he departs after delivering his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington in January 2018.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters file
The likely impeachment trial of Donald Trump would be just the third of a president in the nation's history.

It would start with a proclamation from the Senate's sergeant-at-arms: "All persons are commanded to keep silence, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment against Donald John Trump."

It would end with senators voting on whether the president should be found guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Much of what happens in between would be decided by a simple majority of senators, all of whom would effectively be barred from speaking during the bulk of the proceedings.

If, as expected, the House passes articles of impeachment this week, lawmakers won't have much history to rely on as a guide — the proceeding would be just the third impeachment trial of a president in U.S. history. Andrew Johnson was acquitted in 1868, and Bill Clinton was acquitted in 1999. (Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 after the Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment but before the full House voted on them.)

Here's what to expect at a Senate impeachment trial of the president.

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