who becomes president if the president is impeached
In an explosive memo, former FBI boss James Comey said that Donald Trump asked him to “let go” of an investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The memo emerged a week after the US President fired the FBI director leading an investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election and possible contact with the Trump campaign.
Congressman Al Green is the latest Democrat to call for the impeachment of Mr Trump over the way the president sensatationally fired Mr Comey last week.
The Democrat yesterday told Congress: “I rise today…to call for the impeachment of the President of the United States of America for obstruction of justice.”
In a statement, he said: “I have said on previous occasions, and do now say again, the President should be impeached… Our mantra should be ‘I. T. N. – Impeach Trump Now’.”
Amid the mounting controversy, leading Republican John McCain has said: ”I think it’s reaching the point where it’s of Watergate size and scale.”
What happens if Donald Trump is impeached?
In order to face impeachment, Mr Trump would need to be accused of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours”.
If the House of Representatives votes to impeach the President, the Senate will hold an impeachment trial over whether convict the president and remove him from office.
Who becomes President if Donald Trump is impeached?
If Mr Trump was impeached, convicted by the Senate and expelled from office, Vice President Mike Pence would take the oath of office and replace him.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence Getty
If Donald Trump is impeached then Vice President Mike Pence is next in line
In the highly unlikely event of Mr Pence also being impeached then the Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, is next in line to become president.
Removal from office is unprecented because former Presidents Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were acquitted by the Senate despite being impeached.
The impeachment of Mr Trump would provoke outrage among his supporters, while Democrats would not support the ascension of Mr Pence to the presidency.
Mr Pence is long-serving Republican and traditional conservative whose evangelical Christian faith influences many of his political beliefs.
The former congressman is anti-abortion, once said gay marriage represents the “deterioration of family” and has denied climate change.
But the ex-governor of Indiana is trusted by the Republican Party establishment and Mr Ryan has described him a “personal friend”.
Donald Trump impeachment: Campaigners protestGetty
Donald Trump impeachment: Campaigners call for Donald Trump to be impeached
Will Donald Trump be impeached? Latest odds
The odds on Mr Trump leaving office before the end of his first term shortened on Tuesday night after the Comey memo emerged, according to bookmaker Betfair.
Betfair spokeswoman Katie Baylis yesterday said: “Overnight we’ve seen more than £5k bet on Trump to leave before the end of his first term and we expect to see a lot more bet today, with his odds now shortening from evens into 5/6.
“And many punters think it won’t be too long before he departs, with the odds of him leaving this year now into 12/5 from 11/2 – a 27% chance from 16% before the latest allegations.”
There are now 5/1 odds that he will leave office in 2018, 6/1 that he will exit in 2019 and 5/4 that he will stay until 2020 or later.
WASHINGTON — The account from the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey of President Trump pressing him to drop an investigation into Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, has escalated talk among the president’s critics that his actions may amount to obstruction of justice and grounds for impeachment.
“Asking F.B.I. to drop an investigation is obstruction of justice,” Representative Ted Deutch, Democrat of Florida, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “Obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense.”
But several legal specialists across party lines cautioned that talk of impeachment was premature while the facts remained unclear; the White House has denied that Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Comey to drop the case.
Still, the early chatter has heightened interest in how the impeachment process works. Here’s what you need to know:
What is impeachment?
The Constitution permits Congress to remove presidents before their term is up if enough lawmakers vote to say that they committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
What Is Obstruction of Justice? An Often Murky Crime, Explained MAY 16, 2017
Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation MAY 16, 2017
Five Contradictions in the White House’s Story About Comey’s Firing MAY 12, 2017
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Only three presidents have been subjected to impeachment proceedings. Two were impeached but acquitted and stayed in office: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 and 1999. A third, Richard M. Nixon in 1974, resigned to avoid being impeached.
What is the process?
First, the House of Representatives votes on one or more articles of impeachment. If at least one gets a majority vote, the president is impeached — which essentially means being indicted. (In both the Nixon and the Clinton cases, the House Judiciary Committee considered the matter first.)
Next, the proceedings move to the Senate, which holds a trial overseen by the chief justice of the Supreme Court.
A team of lawmakers from the House, known as managers, play the role of prosecutors. The president has defense lawyers, and the Senate serves as the jury.
If at least two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed, and the vice president takes over as president.
What are the rules?
There are no standard rules. Rather, the Senate passes a resolution first laying out trial procedures.
“When the Senate decided what the rules were going to be for our trial, they really made them up as they went along,” said Greg Craig, who helped defend Mr. Clinton in his impeachment proceeding and later served as White House counsel to President Barack Obama.
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For example, Mr. Craig said, the initial rules in that case gave four days to the Republican managers to make a case for conviction, followed by four days for the president’s legal team to defend him — essentially opening statements. The Senate then decided whether to hear witnesses, and if so, whether it would be live or on videotape. Eventually, the Senate permitted each side to depose several witnesses by videotape.
The rules adopted by the Senate in the Clinton trial — including limiting the number of witnesses and the length of depositions — made it harder to prove a case compared with trials in federal court, said former Representative Bob Barr, a Georgia Republican who served as a House manager during the trial and is also a former United States attorney.
“Impeachment is a creature unto itself,” Mr. Barr said. “The jury in a criminal case doesn’t set the rules for a case and can’t decide what evidence they want to see and what they won’t.”
What are the standards?
The Constitution allows for the impeachment and removal of a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” But no controlling authority serves as a check on how lawmakers choose to interpret that standard, which makes it as much a question of political will as of legal analysis.
In the case of Mr. Clinton’s trial, for example, Robert Byrd, a Democratic senator from West Virginia at the time, told his colleagues that he thought Mr. Clinton was clearly guilty of perjury but that removing him from office was a bad idea.
“To drop the sword of Damocles now, given the bitter political partisanship surrounding this entire matter, would only serve to further undermine a public trust that is too much damaged already,” he said. “Therefore, I will reluctantly vote to acquit.”
Mr. Clinton was impeached by a Congress in which the opposition party controlled both the House and the Senate. In Mr. Trump’s case, his party controls both chambers, making it more politically unappealing for them to vote to impeach him.
What about the 25th Amendment?
Adopted in 1967, the 25th Amendment provides another mechanism for removing a president. It is geared toward dealing with a president who becomes too disabled to carry out the duties of the office, as opposed to presidential lawbreaking.
Under its procedures, if the vice president and a majority of the cabinet tell Congress that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” the vice president immediately becomes the acting president. If the president contests that finding, but two-thirds of both chambers of Congress side with the vice president, the vice president remains the acting president for the rest of the term.