Impeachment Process: How Many Votes Are Needed to Impeach Trump?

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Talks of impeaching President Donald Trump had died down after the Mueller report was released, but they’ve gained momentum again after allegations involving a phone call with the President of Ukraine surfaced. Now Nancy Pelosi has called for a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump. Although only 218 votes in the House would be needed to impeach Trump if all members of the House voted, this would simply not remove him. More steps would be needed, along with votes from Republican Senators, in order to convict and remove him from office. Impeaching Trump hasn’t been popular in the polls so far, so getting those Senate votes might be tough. Read on to learn more.

Political leaders are seeking to know if President Donald Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy into investigating Joe Biden and his family, The Washington Post reported. Some view the possibility as particularly egregious since Biden is running for President against Trump. The allegation is that Trump might have withheld $250 million in aid until they agreed to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Trump, meanwhile, has said that he never said he would only offer military aid if the country investigated Biden.

This is also all connected to a whistleblower complaint about the phone call that was not passed on to Congress. Democratic members of Congress have said the letter was credible and should have been passed on.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence has said that everything is a distraction from possible wrongdoing by Joe Biden. In a talk with Fox News, he referenced a 2016 comment by Biden about withholding $1 billion in loan guarantees until the President of Ukraine agreed to fire its prosecutor. Some have alleged that the prosecutor was investigating a company tied to Hunter Biden at the time.

With all that in mind, some Democrats are now pressing for impeachment proceedings. Just how many votes are needed to begin the proceedings?


A Majority Vote in the House Is Needed To Impeach Trump, But 20 Republican Senators Will Need To Join a Vote To Remove Him

GettyTrump at the Social Media Summit

Impeachment proceedings are more complicated than they might sound. If you recall, in former President Bill Clinton’s administration, there were enough votes to impeach him but there were not enough votes to convict and remove him. This could happen again with President Donald Trump. You can read all the laws on impeachment proceedings here.

A simple majority vote is needed in the House to impeach Trump. This might not be difficult since the Democrats have a majority in the House.

If all 435 House members vote, they would need 218 votes for a majority to be reached and for Trump to be impeached. There are 235 Democrats in office in the House, one Independent, and 199 Republicans, Reuters explained.

So getting a majority of Democrats wouldn’t be difficult, since a majority of House Democrats already supported impeachment earlier this year. But even with an impeachment vote, Trump would still not be removed from office.

With a majority vote in the House, articles of impeachment would be approved that lay out all the impeachable offenses. Treason and bribery qualify as crimes warranting impeachment, as do “other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

But this is not all that is needed to remove a sitting President. They would then need 2/3 majority of the Senate’s 100 members to vote to for the President to be removed from office. That means a total of 67 Senators would need to vote to convict and remove the President.

There are 45 Democrat Senators and 53 Republican Senators, plus two Independents who typically vote Democrat. So to reach the 67 total needed to remove Trump, they would need at least 20 Republicans to join with Democrats in voting to remove Trump (plus the two Independents), Reuters reported.

Before the vote, there would be a trial with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presiding. The House of Representatives essentially acts as the prosecutor, Vox reported, and the President’s lawyers are the defense. The President historically does not appear. Witnesses are deposed and sometimes live witness testimony also occurs.

Then the vote would be taken after the trial on whether or not convict the President. And getting 20 Republicans to vote to remove Trump would be very difficult.

READ NEXT: Trump Impeachment Polls


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