Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, filed articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump last week – but the move soon died as no action was taken.
Green offered four scathing articles of impeachment on the House floor. No action was taken, and Green forewent an opportunity to force action on them – letting the articles expire.
Read on for a look at how the impeachment process works – and just what that means for the president.
What does impeachment mean?
Congress has the ability to remove a sitting president from office before his term is finished – an authority granted by the Constitution.
Along with the president and vice president, all civil officers in the U.S. can be removed from office if they are impeached and convicted of bribery, treason or other high crimes and misdemeanors, according to the Constitution.
How does impeachment work?
Article One of the Constitution grants the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment; the Senate has the sole authority to try all impeachments. If the president is being tried, the Chief Justice should preside over the trial.
The House must vote, requiring a simple majority vote to adopt the articles of impeachment. Before a vote, the House Judiciary Committee – or another special committee – may investigate the articles.
The House is able to vote to impeach even if the committee does not recommend doing so.
Should that vote be reached, then the House will appoint members – called managers – to act as “prosecutors” as the proceedings will then go to trial in the Senate. The president is able to have defense attorneys.
The Senate would need a two-thirds majority in order to find the president guilty. Should that happen, the president would be removed from and the vice president takes office.
Have other presidents been impeached?
Only two U.S. presidents have been impeached – and neither were removed from office.
Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.
While an impeachment proceeding began against former President Richard Nixon, he was not actually impeached. Nixon was the only president to resign from office.
What is the White House’s response?
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the move was “pathetic” in a tweet Wednesday afternoon.
What do Green’s articles say?
Green’s impeachment articles covered a wide range of issues. One accused Trump of “inciting white supremacy, sexism, bigotry, hatred, xenophobia, race-baiting, and racism by demeaning, defaming, disrespecting and disparaging women and certain minorities.”
Another criticized the president for alleging that several million people illegally voted in the 2016 election.
One article said Trump has brought “shame and dishonor to the office of the presidency” because he has associated it with “causes rooted in white supremacy, bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, white nationalism and neo-Nazism.”
And another article said Trump has “enourag[ed] law enforcement officials to violate the Constitutional rights of the suspect in their case.”
Since no action was immediately taken, the articles expired.
Green does have the ability to reintroduce his articles at a later date. A spokesperson for the congressman told Fox News that Green wanted to give his colleagues time to review what he’s put forth.
The Associated Press reported that Green’s articles did not accuse Trump of a crime, but the congressman said that was not needed to impeach.
Would impeachment work?
With a Republican-led House – and other Democratic congressmen who don’t support impeaching Trump – the lawmaker’s bid to remove Trump from office is considered to be a longshot.
Democratic leaders have distanced themselves from the efforts to impeach Trump, including Green’s, believing it serves only to energize the president’s supporters.
However, at least one Republican has considered articles of impeachment, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said over the weekend.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.