PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — So what exactly is impeachment and what does it mean for President Donald Trump? The founders of the United States wanted to make sure the president’s power has some checks and balances, so impeachment was written into the Constitution.
Essentially, impeachment means the president could be charged with a crime.
“Impeachment is the equivalent of an indictment,” Villanova University political science professor David Barrett explained.
Barrett added it’s up to Congress to impeach a sitting president.
“The president has to do something very, seriously wrong,” Barrett said.
Here’s what would happen, according to Barrett.
First, the House Judiciary Committee must decide whether or not to move forward with the impeachment with a vote.
If it decides yes, then the House of Representatives holds debates and then votes over each article of impeachment. After that, the Senate would decide if the president would be convicted of any of those offenses.
“The Senate would become like a jury in a criminal trial,” says Barrett.
The Senate needs a two-thirds majority to impeach, but Republicans currently hold a Senate majority.
“As of now, it is hard to imagine the Senate finding President Trump guilty,” said Barrett.
People Eyewitness News talked to have mixed feelings over the president’s possible impeachment.
“He should have been impeached a while back,” one person said.
“It was the right thing to do,” said another.
“I think impeachment, at this late stage in his administration, would be a detriment to the country,” Morris Barron said.
An impeachment trial can last several months.
If convicted, President Trump would be removed from office and the vice president would then step in.