House submits articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate

The Republican-controlled Senate will now have to decide the form of the trial which will set the stage for the impeachment process against US president Donald Trump who stands accused of abuse of power

January 17, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Trump impeachment
Officials and representatives from the US House of Congress in a procession to formally submit the articles of impeachment to the Senate secretary (Photo: AP)

The United States House of Representatives submitted two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on January 16, Thursday. The articles were passed on clear party lines as almost all Democratic House members voted in favor, and all Republicans voted against them. The submission will initiate the impeachment trial in the Senate, where Trump’s Republican Party holds a slim majority.

The House has also appointed a seven-member prosecution team, called House managers, led by veteran Democrat and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, to argue for Trump’s removal from the office. While Trump stands impeached, removing him from office will require a conviction in the Senate with a two-thirds majority, or 67 senators voting for at least one of the articles of impeachment.

The trial will be a much longer process than the 15-hour long impeachment proceedings in the House, and can go on for weeks or even months. As the Congress is divided on the matter along party lines, the prosecutors have an uphill task to get a conviction in the Senate, which is being viewed as next to impossible. It remains to be seen if the trial is a mere formality required to acquit the president in the Senate, or a proper civil or criminal trial.   

President Trump has been accused of abuse of power for using the office of the president to pressure a foreign nation into interfering with US elections, and for the obstruction of Congress by directing the officials of his government not to cooperate with the House inquiry.

The leadership of the Democratic Party, which is going through a very polarizing and decisive presidential primary, will try to use this opportunity to indict the president and the Republicans before the nation. The Republicans, on the other hand, are likely to attempt to discredit the opposition, and eat into the Democratic primaries process as much as possible.