The authors of the United States Constitution created impeachment as a process that is both detailed in its steps, yet imprecise in what actually constitutes an impeachable offense.
Bryan Marshall, chairman of the Political Science Department at Miami University, broke down the process for the Observer:
- It’s a two-stage process and starts in the House.
- A House committee or committees will vote on articles of impeachment and refer them to the whole House.
- The whole House then considers the articles of impeachment.
- If a House majority approves of one or more of the articles, the matter moves to the Senate for a trial.
- Once the Senate receives any article, they must respond to the article(s) of impeachment.
- The Senate majority and minority leaders will then determine how the trial will be conducted. Designated House members bring the articles over to the Senate and act as prosecutors. The Chief Justice of the United States presides as judge.
- Two-thirds of the senators (67 senators) must vote for conviction to remove the president from office.
The most important thing to remember, said Marshall, is that the House impeaches and the Senate decides whether or not to remove the president from office.