Impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump have been heating up in the last few days, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing on Thursday, Dec. 3 that the House would begin drawing up articles of impeachment. But who will write these articles of impeachment? The House Judiciary Committee plays a key role in the impeachment process.
In recent weeks, Democrats have organized a number of impeachment hearings, during which they received testimony from senior diplomats and national intelligence officials. In a statement to Elite Daily, the White House characterized the impeachment inquiry as Democrats' attempt to "weaponize politics." Now that Pelosi has announced a transition to the next phase of the impeachment process, the House Judiciary Committee will have to examine these testimonies and the evidence compiled by other House committees to determine what, if any, impeachable offenses Trump has committed. Traditionally, they also draw up the articles of impeachment, which the House then votes on.
Articles of impeachment are essentially a list of charges that the House wants to bring against the president. According to CNN, the articles of impeachment the Judiciary Committee draws up in Trump's case will likely pertain, at least in part, to the alleged quid pro quo regarding military aid to Ukraine. Following a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Associated Press reported that the United States government delayed its release of $250 million in military aid to Ukraine. Those close to the decision have said they understood the aid to be contingent upon Ukraine investigating the family of Trump's domestic political rival, Vice President Joe Biden. Trump has publicly denied any quid pro quo. An article of impeachment concerning these allegations might charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, per The Los Angeles Times.
The impeachable offenses for which a president may be charged include treason and bribery, as well as the vaguely-defined "high crimes and misdemeanors."
With this expedited timeline, the Judiciary Committee could draw up and vote on articles of impeachment as soon as next week, the Times reported. According to The New York Times, the Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing for Monday, Dec. 9 shortly after Pelosi made her announcement. But, before the House can take a full impeachment vote, the Judiciary Committee must debate and vote on each article of impeachment introduced. Any article which receives a majority vote will then make its way to the House floor, where it will face a full House vote. If things continue at this pace, Americans may see a full House impeachment vote before Christmas.
Impeachment seems to be almost certain in the Democratic-led House, so Trump is now focusing on the Senate, per CNN. If Trump is indeed impeached by the House, the next step would be an impeachment trial in the Senate. However, given that Republicans currently hold the majority in the Senate, any impeachment proceedings are unlikely to cross the 67-vote threshold necessary to remove a president from office.