MEMPHIS, Tenn. — History is in the making after President Donald Trump was officially impeached Wednesday for abuse of power and obstruction of congress.
President Trump is now the third United States president to be impeached. But with impeachment being very uncommon, comes misunderstanding of what it actually means.
WREG asked many Memphians what impeachment actually means, and we got a variety of answers.
Impeachment is when the House of Representatives votes to formally charge or accuse the president of committing a high crime or misdemeanor. But this doesn’t mean immediate removal.
University of Memphis law professor Steve Mulroy said in order for the president to be forcefully removed from office, he has to be convicted in a trial handled in the Senate.
“The Senate can do one of three things,” Mulroy said. “It can acquit, in which case, no change. They can convict, or they can convict and say he’s not eligible to ever run again.”
Impeachment has only happened two other times in history, with President Andrew Johnson and President Bill Clinton. Both were acquitted.
“History will go down recording that one of the two or three things you’ll know about President Trump for the rest of the history books is that he got impeached, whether or not he gets convicted,” Mulroy said.
In order for there to be a conviction, two-thirds of the vote is needed. If that happens, the president is removed, and the vice-president claims the title of president.
If not, the president remains in office.
Mulroy said the constitution doesn’t specify exactly how the trial should be held, but there are rules in place that are still being negotiated.