Donald Trump is in the biggest mess
of what has been a very messy political career.
There’s already been the Mueller investigation,
his handling of the border crisis,
his firing of James Comey, and all the shenanigans
that went on during his presidential campaign.
But now the Ukraine scandal
is threatening to outweigh all of that.
It’s looking like Trump could be … impeached.
You can’t impeach a president for doing a great job.
So what is impeachment?
Impeachment is a step in the process
of removing a president from office.
A process that could end
with Trump being told: you’re fired.
You’re fired! Get out of here!
A president can be impeached
for treason or bribery,
or the rather vague
‘high crimes and misdemeanours’.
High crimes and misdemeanours
isn’t really defined in the US constitution.
But it essentially means, you know,
having been up to no good.
News presenter: Five people have been
arrested and charge with breaking in
the headquarters of the Democratic
Presidents have been impeached before.
But it doesn’t happen often.
Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998.
He was accused of obstructing justice
and lying under oath.
I did not have sexual relations
with that woman.
I misled people.
Including even my wife.
Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868.
Johnson was seen as too sympathetic
to Confederate leaders
in the wake of the American civil war.
He was ultimately nobbled when
he fired his secretary of war.
The House of Representatives was preparing
to impeach Richard Nixon in 1974,
after people connected with Nixon’s
broke into the Democratic
party headquarters, Watergate,
and Nixon tried to cover it up.
But Nixon resigned
before he could be impeached.
I shall resign the presidency
effective at noon tomorrow.
They’re pursuing an illegal, invalid and
unconstitutional bullshit impeachment.
If Trump is impeached it seems likely
it’ll be over his dealings with Ukraine.
But long before we found out
about Trump asking Ukraine to investigate
there were already moves to impeach the president.
In fact, one particularly keen Democratic
congressman began calling for Trump
to be impeached in May 2017.
This offence has occurred before
our very eyes.
And even before that infamous Ukraine phone call,
Trump was already under investigation
for things that could have led to impeachment.
paying off a porn star following
an alleged affair;
his refusal to release his tax returns,
and whether anything nefarious is exposed
in those returns;
profiting off the office of president,
like in his DC hotel, where
numerous foreign dignitaries have stayed;
interfering with Robert Mueller’s
investigation into Russian election interference;
firing James Comey, who
was head of the FBI.
So how would Trump be impeached?
It’s the House of Representatives
that decides whether to impeach a president.
Someone will present ‘articles of impeachment’.
Essentially, documents detailing
the accusations against Trump.
The articles are then voted on
by the House judiciary committee.
Democrats have a majority on the judiciary
committee, so that could be plain sailing.
Then the entire House of Representatives
– 435 congressmen and women – vote on
whether to impeach.
If a simple majority vote to impeach,
then Trump is impeached.
225 representatives have already
said they support impeachment,
so that kind of seems like
a done deal: Trump will be impeached.
But being impeached doesn’t mean Trump
will be packing up his golf clubs, bathrobes
and golden chairs just yet.
It just means everything moves to the Senate,
where things get a little trickier.
Impeachment means a president, in this case,
Donald Trump, is essentially put on trial
in the Senate.
In there, the 100 senators, two from each
state, act as the jury.
If a two-thirds majority of the senators
vote to convict, then it’s bye bye Trump.
Of course, the whole process is lined
with potential political pitfalls.
Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat, had been
reluctant to start the impeachment process.
It could galvanise Trump’s rock-solid
‘make America great again’ base
who already see the president as
the victim of a grand deep-state conspiracy.
It’s a waste of time.
Because it seems like it’s biased.
Do you have any regrets?
No, I would vote for him again.
On the other hand, about half
of the American public
are now in favour of impeachment.
Perhaps voters will appreciate the
Democrats’ bolder stance.
What we do know is that right
now 53 of the 100 senators are Republicans.
At this moment in time,
they might not be keen to give
their president the boot.
But, this is Donald Trump.
Who knows what could come up between now,
and a Senate trial.
And if public opinion continues
to turn against Trump,
don’t be surprised if some
of his Republican colleagues
start to turn against him too.