At issue is whether Trump abused the power of the office of the president of the United States in his dealings with Ukraine when he froze nearly US$400 million in military aid, allegedly to pressure the Ukrainian government to publicly announce separate investigations into purported interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as well as former vice-president and political rival Joe Biden’s son Hunter‘s work on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
Trump has vehemently denied the allegations against him but has acknowledged that he froze the military aid funds, which were later released.
On Tuesday, following weeks of investigation, the House of Representatives revealed the articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — against Trump.
In the resolution, lawmakers alleged Trump abused his power as president by “corruptly” soliciting Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and obstructed Congress by directing the White House, other agencies, offices and officials to defy lawful subpoenas and not co-operate with investigators.
Through his conduct, investigators said Trump “demonstrated he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office.”
As the impeachment probe continues, lawmakers will now debate, vote and try Trump based on these articles of impeachment.
Where are lawmakers at in the process, and what are the next steps?
Here’s a look at what’s happening:
House debate and vote
Now that the articles of impeachment have been revealed, the House judiciary committee, which drafted the charges, will meet to debate the resolution.
Lawmakers will then vote on whether to recommend the articles to the entire House of Representatives.
The committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday at 7 p.m., with the debate expected to extend into Thursday morning.
If the committee votes in favour of the articles of impeachment, the full House of Representatives will then hold a vote.
If a majority of the House’s 435 members approve the articles, Trump will be impeached, however he will remain in office.
Currently, the House has 253 Democrats, 199 Republicans and one Independent. That means Democrats could impeach Trump without support from the Republican Party.
If impeached, Trump would become only the third American president in history to be charged under the high crimes and misdemeanours article outlined in the U.S. Constitution.
On to the Senate
If Trump is impeached by the House of Representatives, the Senate — the upper chamber of Congress — will then hold a trial to determine whether he is guilty of the charges.
On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said an impeachment trial could begin as early as next month.
He said if the House of Representatives approves articles of impeachment against Trump, the trial in the Senate would be the “first order of business in January.”
McConnell previously said the Senate may opt for a quicker trial to allow lawmakers to return to their “regular business.”
At the trial, “managers” from the House of Representatives would present their case before Chief Justice John Roberts. Trump and his legal team would also be present to make their argument.
Senators would act as jurors, and at the end of the trial, a vote would be held.
A two-thirds majority vote would be required to convict and remove Trump from office.
The Senate is comprised of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two Independents.
That means that in order for Trump to be removed from office, all of the Senate Democrats, both Independents and 20 Republicans would need to vote in favour of his conviction and removal.
In a previous interview with Global News, Michael Gerhardt , said it is “unlikely” that Trump will be removed from office.
If Trump is impeached in the House but the Senate does not vote to convict him, Gerhardt said he would likely remain in office and would be eligible to run for re-election.
“He’ll emerge from this process if he’s not convicted and removed — the likelihood is that he won’t be convicted and removed — claiming he’s been exonerated and then lambasting the Democrats for a sham process,” Gerhardt said.
— With files from the Associated Press and Reuters