A growing number of discontent Democrats are already trying to mount support for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. When Barack Obama was in the White House, some Republicans had talked about impeaching him, but knew the effort would be futile and without hope.
Impeachment of a president is rare and has never resulted in the removal of a president from office. Only two presidents in US history were successfully impeached by the House of Representatives – Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. However, both men were acquitted by the Senate.
Richard Nixon was facing certain impeachment in 1974. Knowing that he would certainly be found guilty, Nixon did what no other president had done or has done since – he resigned from office. Gerald Ford became the first and only man in the history of the United States who was not voted in as Vice President or President. Ford was selected to replaced Vice President Spiro Agnew in 1973, who also resigned under a cloud of controversy.
So, what does it take to impeach a US president and remove him from office?
It begins in the House of Representatives with articles of impeachment introduced. The articles of impeachment require a majority vote in the House. If the House votes to approve the articles of impeachment, the case then goes to the Senate who will conduct a trial to determine the guilt or innocence of the president. In most Senate impeachment trials, the Vice President presides over the trial, but not in the case of a President on trial. In these rare cases, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over the trial. To convict a president, the Senate has to garner a two-thirds vote. If found guilty by the Senate, the president would be removed from office and the vice president would be sworn in as the new president.
The impeachment process is why Barack Obama was not impeached. Once Republicans gained control of the House in 2010, they knew that as long as the Democrats controlled the Senate, there would be no chance of Obama being found guilty and removed from office by the Senate. When Republicans finally gained control of the Senate in 2014, it was considered too late to impeach Obama and although they had a majority, they did not have two-thirds control and there was no chance of any Democrats voting against their messiah.
As for the chances of impeaching President Donald Trump, one would think that with Republicans controlling both the House and Senate that there would be no chance of impeachment, but that assurance is not certain.
To begin with, Donald Trump is not a member of the elite Washington DC insider club of career politicians, nor was he an attorney who became a politician. Trump is an outsider and mainstream Republicans have not forgotten it. Many opposed him in the primary elections and even after he won the GOP nomination, more than just a few Republicans spoke out about not supporting Trump for the presidency.
Even now, Trump is busy not only fighting against his Democrat enemies, but also against a number of Republicans who are still bitter and unwilling to accept the outsider as their leader. As controversy keeps building around Trump over Russia, Michael Flynn and James Comey, some of those disgruntled Republicans have joined forces with Democrats in calling for investigations and special counsels.
So, what are the chances of Donald Trump becoming the third president to be impeached and the first to be found guilty and removed from office? Currently, it’s not impossible to say that House Republicans will block any articles of impeachment. If they don’t, then it’s up to the Senate.
Currently, Republicans only hold 52 seats in the Senate. Democrats hold 46 and 2 are held by Independents who generally vote with Democrats. It would take 67 votes in the Senate to convict Trump. That means if only 19 Republican Senators voted with the Democrats, Trump could be found guilty and removed from office.
What are the chances of that happening? Slim, but not impossible. If it does, I for one will gladly welcome Mike Pence as the new President. I believe he will do a great job in uniting the GOP helping to turn the country around from the road to destruction that Obama put us upon.