The First Official Step To Impeaching Trump Just Happened In Congress

by John Haltiwanger
Ukas Michael/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is having a really tough week.

On Wednesday, July 12, Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman formally filed an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Sherman accused Trump of obstruction of justice, citing the president's controversial dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey, The Hill reports.

Comey was in the midst of investigating the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Given Republicans currently control Congress, Sherman's article is unlikely to move forward in the House.

It would need 218 votes to pass, and Democrats only have 194 seats at the moment (Republicans have 240).

At present, only one other member of Congress — Democratic Rep. Al Green — has endorsed Sherman's article.

Green called for Trump's impeachment on the House floor in May -- and received lynching threats in the aftermath.

Impeachment is a rare and complicated process.

Only two presidents have ever been impeached — Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton — and both were acquitted in the Senate.

Richard Nixon likely would've been removed from office if he hadn't resigned as he faced impeachment in relation to the Watergate scandal.

But, the point is, impeachment is not a common thing when it comes to U.S. politics.

Impeachment is essentially an indictment, or a formal charge, of a crime.

In order for it to occur, a majority in the House must vote for at least one more article of impeachment.

If this happens, the process then moves to the Senate, where a trial overseen by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (currently John Roberts) occurs.

During the trial, the president has defense lawyers, and prosecutors are typically chosen from the House Judiciary Committee. The Senate serves as a jury.

If at least two-thirds of the Senate ultimately find the president guilty, he or she is removed from office and the vice president becomes POTUS.

So, not only is the process rare, it's complex.

With that said, even though this seems unlikely to move to the next steps, it's still a blow to Trump.

In less than a year in the White House, he's already seen a member of Congress introduce the first official step toward impeachment.

This news comes during a week that's already been quite dramatic for the Trump administration in relation to the Russia investigation.

Over the past several days, it was revealed the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., met with a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin during the U.S. presidential campaign.

What's more, Trump Jr. did so under the impression the lawyer had information provided by the Russian government that would be damaging to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and aid his father's candidacy.

Many have cited this as the first definitive proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and it places the Trump administration in a very tough position.