The Newly Normal Impeachment Process

The Story:

The impeachment of a US President was once a very rare event. A child born in 1870 might have lived to be a century old and that lifespan would not have overlapped with a single serious impeachment/removal effort regarding any President of any party. But there have now been three occasions in the last half century in which the House of Representatives has geared up the impeachment machinery: 1974, 1998, and now in 2019. The extraordinary has been normalized.

Reluctance Overcome:

This time around the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, was for months reluctant to put the impeachment machinery in gear. She evidently feared that doing so would interfere with other items of business more dear to her heart, such as the drafting of a law that would limit or lower the price of some prescription drugs.

But as of this writing Pelosi is completely on board with impeachment, and there may be a vote by the full House on the articles of impeachment by Thanksgiving.

The Thing to Know:

The House brings charges (its vote to do so is the act of impeachment proper) and the Senate then treats the “articles” of impeachment as counts of an indictment and it puts the President on trial on those counts. Chief Justice Roberts would preside over the trial. In the event of a 2/3 vote finding the President guilty, (that is, 67 votes “yes”), President Donald Trump will be removed from office.

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