Revelations that President Donald Trump gave Russian officials highly classified intelligence and allegedly encouraged former FBI Director James Comey to drop an investigation into his ties to Russia have had many throwing around a term the president won’t be too excited to hear – impeachment.
And whilst Mr Trump might never face impeachment, the Democrats have been calling for the House of Representatives to consider impeaching the president.
But what does impeachment mean and how will it affect Mr Trump? Impeachment does not guarantee removal from office, but it is a serious situation for the president to find themselves in as it is the first step toward removal from office.
Technically speaking, impeachment is a formal charge of misconduct levied against public officials by Congress. The process of impeachment begins with an independent investigation which is then handed over to the House Judiciary Committee which reviews evidence and writes up the Articles of Impeachment.
After debate in the House, the legislative body will vote on the Articles of Impeachment. If a simple majority votes in favour of impeachment then the president is considered impeached. From there, Articles of Impeachment are sent over to the Senate for consideration and a trial.
From there, the Articles of Impeachment are sent over to the Senate for consideration and a trial. The accused mounts their defence and the House Judiciary Committee acts as the prosecution. During the proceedings, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court acts as the Judge and the Senate acts as the jury. If a two-thirds majority in the Senate votes against the President, they are then removed from office.
Two presidents have been impeached in US history, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, both of whom were subsequently acquitted. Richard Nixon famously faced impeachment proceedings relating to the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, but resigned before they could begin.