We’re looking at impeachment from 30,000 feet: Where we stand, how we got here, and what’s coming next.
On September 23, 2019, seven freshman House Democrats — including five women — authored an op-ed in The Washington Post calling for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. All seven House members are considered moderate Democrats, all represent swing districts, and all have backgrounds in national security or defense.
It was a watershed moment: Within 24 hours of the op-ed’s publication, Speaker Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s conduct. A number of House members cited this op-ed and the expert opinion of their colleagues as being a key factor in their decision to call for impeachment.
Eight weeks later, we’re in the midst of public impeachment hearings in the House. It’s a complex process — it can be difficult to keep track of the ever-growing list of players, timelines and allegations.
So in this week’s Off the Sidelines spotlight, we’re looking at impeachment from 30,000 feet: Where we stand, how we got here, and what’s coming next.
What, specifically, is Trump being accused of? The House impeachment inquiry centers around a series of events culminating in a July 2019 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
The House is investigating allegations that Trump abused the power of his office to solicit interference in the 2020 U.S. election by withholding military aid from Ukraine, using it as leverage to strong-arm Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden and his family.
Trump and his allies do not dispute the main facts of the case; rather, they claim, among other defenses, that Trump’s behavior does not constitute an impeachable offense.
Where does impeachment stand now? We’ve entered the second week of public impeachment hearings, in which members of the House Intelligence Committee and attorneys for both the majority and minority parties have the opportunity to interview key witnesses.
For more details on testimony in these open hearings, take a look at this New Yorker timeline.
What happens next? Once the House wraps up its impeachment investigation, members will vote on articles of impeachment. Members vote on each article individually, which means Trump could be impeached on some articles, but not others.
A simple majority (218 votes) is required for impeachment articles to pass the House. If the House votes to charge the president with impeachable offenses, the Senate will then conduct a trial presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. All senators would serve as jurors and vote on whether to convict the president, with two-thirds required for conviction.
READ | For a deep dive into the origins of the impeachment inquiry and where we stand now, check out this excellent explainer from Vox
WATCH | Dana Bash interviews the five moderate freshmen Congresswomen — Reps. Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Mikie Sherill of New Jersey, Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan — who collectively called for impeachment in their game-changing op-ed
LISTEN | The New York Times’ The Daily podcast answers a third-grader’s questions about impeachment (a valuable break-down for listeners of all ages)
WATCH | House Speaker Nancy Pelosi discusses impeachment on Face the Nation
No one comes to Washington to impeach the president — the Democrats that ran and won in 2018 did so because they wanted to make their communities, and their country, better.
But we can’t forget that if we hadn’t taken back the House, there would be no impeachment hearings. No oversight, no accountability.
We owe a debt of gratitude, in particular, to the House members who called for impeachment regardless of the political risks. Women like Reps. Chrissy Houlahan, Elaine Luria, Mikie Sherill, Abigail Spanberger and Elissa Slotkin.
Off the Sidelines supported each of these women in 2018, and with your help, we’ll be there for them again in 2020. Please, make a contribution to Off the Sidelines today to help ensure these brave, patriotic women win re-election.