Impeaching Trump to Hold Him Accountable

The Time to Impeach Is Now

The Mueller report confirmed what we already knew: Trump abused his authority, violated the law, and tried repeatedly to obstruct justice. Trump has now been accused by a whistleblower of asking Ukrainian leaders to interfere with our elections by digging up dirt on his political opponents, and then Trump himself admitted—ON CAMERA—that the call took place. Donald Trump is a criminal. These activities are impeachable offenses. 

Finally, it looks like House Democrats are ready to act. Nancy Pelosi has announced a formal impeachment inquiry of Trump, and Rep. Adam Schiff, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has announced that the Committee will continue its work through the October recess, but that doesn’t mean our work stops here.

Right now, join partners from Indivisible, MoveOn, By the People, Public Citizen, SEIU and more at www.impeachnow.org to find a townhall or plan and register your own District Office visit during the October recess to make your voice heard.

Every member of Congress (MoC) should be on the record in support of an impeachment inquiry and a vote in the House before Thanksgiving to hold Trump accountable and of a fair and open impeachment trial in the Senate.

  • If your Democratic representative in the House is vocal in support of a vote, call and say thank you and to keep it up. If they aren't quite there yet or they haven't been vocal enough, demand they get stronger and publicly support a swift vote in the House before Thanksgiving.
  • If you have a Republican representative in the House, remind them of their oath to protect the Constitution and that you demand they support impeachment now. Remind them that if Congress does nothing, then our Constitution means nothing. Our democracy will mean nothing.
  • For Democratic senators, demand that they speak out loudly and firmly about the need for a fair and open impeachment trial in the Senate.
  • For Republican senators, remind them of the oath that they took to support and defend the Constitution and ask whether they will support a fair and open trial in the Senate to fully hear the evidence and hold Trump accountable for his actions.

Call the House

There's no time to waste - Donald Trump has committed impeachable offenses, and the House must act to hold him accountable. Tell your Representative to uphold their duty to the Constitution and publicly support a vote on impeachment in the House before Thanksgiving.

Get the Script!

Call the Senate

We have to make sure Mitch McConnell doesn't assist Trump in his cover-up, so we need Senators to fulfill their constitutional duty by holding a fair and open impeachment trial in the Senate. Call your Senators and tell them to commit to holding a fair and open impeachment trial in the Senate.

Get the Script!

How does the impeachment process work?

Only two presidents have been impeached in the history of the United States: Andrew Johnson in 1868, and Bill Clinton in 1998. (Richard Nixon resigned before the full House of Representatives could vote on impeaching him.) So it’s understandable that there’s a lot of confusion about how the process of impeaching a president works! We’re here to try to clear that up so you understand when you have the best opportunity to make a difference by taking action.

In the House

The House is responsible for laying out the charges—the constitution calls these “high crimes and misdemeanors”—against Trump that will form the basis of the impeachment articles. Once the House votes on those articles, those charges will become the subject of the impeachment trial, which takes place in the Senate.  

The House has already made its first move toward impeachment: launching a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump. This was an important step because being in an impeachment stance gives House committees a stronger case for getting the courts to move quickly to rule in their favor in some of the cases where Trump has been stonewalling their investigations  for months, like refusing to turn his tax returns over to the Ways and Means Committee.

The next step is for the Judiciary Committee to draft articles of impeachment, which they are hoping to do by Thanksgiving. Each article is essentially a charge of a “high crime or misdemeanor” for which Trump should be impeached. Aside from the Ukraine scandal, these articles could include things like Trump’s obstruction of justice and of Congress, his acceptance of emoluments from foreign governments, his human rights abuses at the border, his offer or pardons to members of his campaign and administration who committed crimes, and more.

Once the articles of impeachment are drafted, the House can vote to send each article to the Senate after debate with a simple majority. There is no upper or lower limit on the number of articles of impeachment they have to vote on, but there should be enough that they can paint a compelling picture of Trump’s astounding abuses of power and corruption since taking office.

Finally, once they have voted to impeach Trump for one or more articles, the House will appoint managers to essentially serve as prosecutors for the trial in the Senate. During the Clinton impeachment, every House manager was a Republican sitting on the Judiciary Committee (including now-Senator Lindsey Graham). This time around, Democrats should make sure that they select House managers who can present a compelling case against Trump based on the evidence they assemble in support of their articles of impeachment.

In the Senate

Once the House has laid out the charges against Trump, the Senate is responsible for being the court where he will be tried on those charges. Mitch McConnell has already said that he will have to hold a trial if the House votes to impeach Trump, but that is hardly the end of the fight.

There are plenty of ways that McConnell could try to protect Trump (and vulnerable Republican senators who don’t want to take hard votes) by preventing a fair and open trial in the Senate. For example, a simple majority of senators could vote to exclude incriminating evidence against Trump from the proceedings, or they could vote to demand testimony from unrelated actors in an effort to muddy the waters (e.g. they could demand that Joe and Hunter Biden come testify about Trump’s nonsense accusations against them). That’s why it’s so important that Senators commit ahead of time to holding a fair and open trial—and we’ll have more information coming about that soon.

Once the trial is over, the Senate will deliberate in private, then hold a vote on each article of impeachment. Each article requires a two-thirds majority in order to convict Trump. If any one article is approved with a two-thirds majority, Trump would be automatically removed from office and Mike Pence would be sworn in as the new president, per the 25th Amendment. (Pence would also have to pick a new Vice President.) There are no criminal penalties associated with conviction, but if Trump were removed it would also mean that he would be able to be prosecuted by the criminal justice system for his other crimes since he would no longer be protected by the office of the presidency.

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What's the Scandal Over Ukraine About?

The short version is that Trump was withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid from Ukraine without providing any justification to Congress, at the same time that he was urging the Ukrainian government to launch a sham investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Then, when a whistleblower went to the intelligence community’s Inspector General (IG) with concerns, the administration blocked the IG from going to Congress with the details of the whistleblower’s complaint (which was likely a violation of the law in itself). The Washington Post has a timeline of the scandal that you can read here.

So there are two layers here: the first, which is Trump’s abuse of power in trying to use U.S. government funds to get a foreign country to intervene in our election to his benefit (sound at all familiar?); and the second, which is his obstruction of Congress’s oversight responsibilities to cover up his own wrongdoing (again—sound at all familiar?). These instances constitute the latest in a long series of impeachable offenses that Trump has committed since entering office.

The difference this time is that MoCs decided this was the last straw, and started publicly coming out in support of impeachment—but in order to guarantee that the investigation is robust and appropriately conducted, you still need to make your voice heard.

What can you do now?

Here are the key things Congress needs to do to hold Trump accountable:

  1. Support a vote on Trump's crimes in the House as soon as possible. This is an urgent matter and we can't slow-walk this. This does not necessarily mean that we shouldn't have additional hearings on this, but this is about getting specifics from Democratic leadership because we know that there is a risk that they move more slowly than the situation warrants in holding Trump accountable for his abuses. The House must vote before Thanksgiving.

  2. Support a fair and open impeachment trial in the Senate. The American people deserve to hear the Senate consider the evidence against Donald Trump. The only way that will happen is if Senators publicly urge Mitch McConnell to fulfill his constitutional duty by holding a fair and open impeachment trial—otherwise, he'll do everything he can to aid Trump's cover up. Democrats must make this a key piece of the public narrative on impeachment, and constituents must get Republicans on the record.

There are a couple things you can do to ramp up the pressure on your MoC to act:

  1. Plan or find an event near you during the October recess at www.impeachnow.orgPartners like Indivisible, MoveOn, Stand Up America, Public Citizen, SEIU, By The People and more are coming together to ensure that every member of Congress hears loud and clear from their constituents over the October recess that they're paying attention and to hold Trump accountable, we must impeach now.
  2. Call your members of Congress (MoCs) and demand that they move quickly to impeach Trump in the House, AND support a fair and open impeachment trial in the Senate. At this point most Democratic MoCs have spoken up in favor of impeachment (you can check if your member is a supporter here). But we need them to know that there’s no time to waste—the Judiciary Committee has the ability to thoroughly investigate the new allegations that Trump tried to extort a foreign government by withholding aid in exchange for dirt on his political opponents, and they should do it now with full, explicit backing of Democratic leadership. Then once articles of impeachment reach the Senate, we need to make sure Mitch McConnell knows he can't get away with anything less than a free and full airing of the facts around Trump's misdeeds.
  3. Text IMPEACH to 977-79. We’ll send you messages to make sure you have the latest updates and action alerts to pressure your MoC to impeach Trump.

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