House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced in September that the House would begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump, but there are many steps between the first step of launching an impeachment inquiry and the final step, which could be removing him from office.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Announcing formal

impeachment inquiry

Sept. 24, 2019

Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Announcing formal

impeachment inquiry

Sept. 24, 2019

Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Announcing formal

impeachment inquiry

Sept. 24, 2019

Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Announcing formal

impeachment inquiry

Sept. 24, 2019

Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House

According to the Constitution, the House can impeach a president — and other civil officers, such as federal judges — if lawmakers believe they have committed “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” What constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor is open to interpretation, but an abuse of power could fit the bill. Pelosi’s announcement means an investigation will look into whether actions by Trump rise to that level.

Formal inquiry by

House Intelligence Committee

WE ARE

HERE

Adam B. Schiff

Chairman

13 Democrats

9 Republicans

50%

Formal inquiry by

House Intelligence Committee

WE ARE

HERE

Adam B. Schiff

Chairman

13 Democrats

9 Republicans

50%

Formal inquiry by

House Intelligence Committee

WE ARE

HERE

Adam B. Schiff

Chairman

13 Democrats

9 Republicans

50%

Formal inquiry by

House Intelligence Committee

WE ARE

HERE

Adam B. Schiff

Chairman

13 Democrats

9 Republicans

50%

Pelosi chose the House Intelligence Committee to lead the investigation. In addition, she said the six key committees already investigating the president will continue “under the umbrella of impeachment inquiry.” The Intelligence Committee is led by Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) and includes 12 other Democrats and nine Republicans.

Three previous presidents have reached this inquiry stage: Andrew Johnson, Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton. The Nixon and Clinton impeachment processes included votes of the full House authorizing the Judiciary Committee to formally investigate.

Originally, Pelosi had said House Judiciary, led by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), would investigate this time as well, but she decided that Intelligence should lead when she narrowed the focus to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Judiciary Committee members, however, still have a crucial role to play: They vote on whether there are grounds for impeachment.

Formal inquiry ends

The House Judiciary

Committee votes to decide if there are grounds for impeachment

Jerrold Nadler

Chairman

24 Democrats

17 Republicans

Nadler

50%

The House Judiciary

Committee drafts

articles of impeachment.

The House Judiciary

Committee decides not to pursue impeachment.

No further proceedings.

President remains in office.

The House debates each article of impeachment

on the floor.

Formal inquiry ends

The House Judiciary

Committee votes to decide if there are grounds for impeachment

Jerrold Nadler

Chairman

24 Democrats

17 Republicans

Nadler

50%

The House Judiciary

Committee drafts

articles of impeachment.

The House Judiciary

Committee decides not to pursue impeachment.

No further proceedings.

President remains in office.

The House debates each article of impeachment

on the floor.

Formal inquiry ends

The House Judiciary

Committee votes to decide if there are grounds for impeachment

Jerrold Nadler

Chairman

24 Democrats

17 Republicans

Nadler

50%

The House Judiciary

Committee drafts

articles of impeachment.

The House Judiciary

Committee decides not to pursue impeachment.

No further proceedings.

President remains in office.

The House debates each article of impeachment

on the floor.

Formal inquiry ends

The House Judiciary

Committee votes to decide if there are grounds for impeachment

Jerrold Nadler

Chairman

24 Democrats

17 Republicans

Nadler

50%

The House Judiciary

Committee drafts

articles of impeachment.

The House Judiciary

Committee decides not to pursue impeachment.

No further proceedings.

President remains in office.

The House debates each article of impeachment

on the floor.

If a majority of the Judiciary Committee decides that there are grounds for impeachment, committee members will draw up articles of impeachment and present them to the full House. Articles of impeachment are not criminal indictments but are similar in that they are charges against a person that could be pursued in a trial.

There can be more than one charge: Johnson faced 11, Nixon faced three and Clinton faced two.

Votes on each article

of impeachment

Full House of Representatives

235 Democrats

198 Republicans

1 Independent

Yes on any

article of

impeachment

No to

all

No further

proceedings.

President

remains

in office.

Trump is

impeached.

Votes on each article of impeachment

Full House of Representatives

235 Democrats

198 Republicans

1 Independent

Yes on any

article of

impeachment

No to

all

No further

proceedings.

President

remains

in office.

Trump is

impeached.

Votes on each article of impeachment

Full House of Representatives

235 Democrats

198 Republicans

1 Independent

Yes on any

article of

impeachment

No to

all

Trump is

impeached.

No further proceedings.

President remains in office.

Votes on each article of impeachment

Full House of Representatives

235 Democrats

198 Republicans

1 Independent

Yes on any

article of

impeachment

No to

all

Trump is

impeached.

No further proceedings.

President remains in office.

The full House will debate the article(s) and vote on whether to impeach. Lawmakers may vote once on all charges or may vote on each charge separately. If a majority of House members present vote to impeach, the House sends the article(s) to the Senate for a trial.

Nixon resigned after an incriminating audiotape was released before the full House had a chance to vote.

SENATE

Trial before full senate

John G. Roberts Jr.

Chief Justice of the United States presides.

Senate

Acts as the jury.

SENATE

Trial before full senate

John G. Roberts Jr.

Chief Justice of the United States presides.

Senate

Acts as the jury.

SENATE

Trial before full senate

John G. Roberts Jr.

Chief Justice of the United States presides.

Senate

Acts as the jury.

SENATE

Trial before full senate

John G. Roberts Jr.

Chief Justice of the United States presides.

Senate

Acts as the jury.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will decide whether to hold a Senate trial. The Constitution says the Senate has “the sole power to try” but does not require that a trial occur. McConnell could hold a vote to dismiss the articles.

If there is a trial in the Senate, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. would preside. First, the president would be summoned to appear and address the charges — basically, enter a plea. If he does not appear, the Senate would operate as if the plea is not guilty.

During the trial, House “managers” — House lawmakers who are designated to argue the case for impeachment — outline the charges, and the president’s attorneys defend him. Both sides may call and cross-examine witnesses.

Johnson and Clinton were tried in the Senate. Then-Rep. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) was a manager during Clinton’s trial.

Senate trial

67 votes

needed to

convict

53 Republicans

45 Democrats

2 Independents

who caucus with Democrats

2/3 of Senate

votes to convict

Trump is

removed.

2/3 threshold

not met

Trump

remains

in office.

Senate trial

67 votes

needed to

convict

53 Republicans

45 Democrats

2 Independents

who caucus with Democrats

2/3 of Senate

votes to convict.

2/3 threshold

not met

Trump is

removed.

Trump

remains

in office.

Senate trial

67 votes needed to convict—

53 Republicans

45 Democrats

2 Independents

who caucus with Democrats

2/3 of Senate

votes to convict

2/3 threshold

not met

Trump is

removed.

Trump remains

in office.

Senate trial

67 votes needed to convict—

53 Republicans

45 Democrats

2 Independents

who caucus with Democrats

2/3 of Senate

votes to convict

2/3 threshold

not met

Trump is

removed.

Trump remains

in office.

After the trial is finished, the Senate deliberates behind closed doors. However, voting is done in open session. The bar is high for conviction: a two-thirds majority of the senators present.

If convicted of any charge, the president is removed from office and cannot pardon himself to avoid losing his position, according to the Constitution. The vice president becomes president.

Clinton was handily acquitted, but only one “nay” vote on each of three charges kept Johnson from being removed from office.

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Live updates: Historic impeachment hearing begins

Read the text message excerpts between U.S. diplomats, Giuliani and a Ukrainian aide

Why now? The moments that moved Pelosi and House Democrats toward impeachment

More than two-thirds of House Democrats support an impeachment inquiry of Trump

Annotating the rough transcript of the Trump-Ukraine call

Acting intelligence chief threatened to resign if he couldn’t speak freely before Congress on whistleblower, officials say

Note: There are 434 members of the House because Rep. Sean P. Duffy (R-Wis.) resigned.

Photos by The Washington Post, Getty Images, and the U.S. House Office of Photography

This graphic originally published on Sept. 25, 2019