House Democrats voted Wednesday, December 18, 2019 on President Donald Trump’s impeachment. But that’s just the first step. How many votes will be needed to actually remove Trump from office? Although impeachment itself won’t be hard to achieve, actual removal may take more votes than the Democrats can get. Read on for details.
The House Impeached Trump
An impeachment vote in the House happened today, Wednesday, December 18. A markup of the articles happened last week and now the House has formally voted on impeachment.
The Constitution only allows impeachment on the grounds of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Articles of impeachment are essentially formal allegations against the President.
You can read all the laws on impeachment proceedings here.
A simple majority vote was needed in the House to impeach Trump. This would be fairly easy, 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. There are 235 Democrats in office in the House, one Independent, and 199 Republicans, Reuters explained. That’s more than enough to reach the majority need to impeach Trump.
For Article 1, abuse of power, there were 230 votes for impeachment, 197 votes against, and 1 present from Tulsi Gabbard.
Then for Article II on obstruction of Congress, there were 229 votes for impeachment, 198 votes against, and 1 present vote from Tulsi Gabbard.
But that’s not enough to remove him.
A 2/3 Majority Is Needed in the Senate To Remove Trump
A 2/3 majority of the Senate’s 100 members would need to vote to for the President to be removed from office before Trump would actually be removed. Like former President Bill Clinton, he could be impeached but never actually removed from office.
That 2/3 majority would be tough to get. A total of 67 Senators would need to vote to convict and remove Trump. 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.
It will likely be really tough to get 20 Republicans to agree to vote to remove Trump.
Before the vote, there would be a trial with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presiding. The House of Representatives would essentially act as the prosecutor, Vox reported, and the President’s lawyers would be the defense. Witnesses are deposed and sometimes live witness testimony also occurs.
Sen. Chris Murphy has said that he only knows of a handful of Republicans who might vote to remove Trump, The Hill reported. He wouldn’t name them, but he said some in the Senate were considering it, but it was a small list that could be counted on one hand.
He also said that an anonymous removal vote wouldn’t be appropriate and, even if it happened, only a handful of Republicans would still consider voting to remove Trump.
The Hill reported that according to Senate insiders and political experts, the Republicans who might consider removing him might include Sen. Susan Collins from Maine, Sen. Mitt Romney from Utah, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Others have expressed concern about Trump’s actions, but are likely not as close to voting for actual removal.