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What actually are the steps to an impeachment?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has announced a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump. Here’s what you need to know about what impeachment is and how it works, starting with the basics.

What does impeachment actually mean?

It means that Congress thinks the president is no longer fit to serve and should be removed from office.

Who can impeach the president?

Congress. Specifically, the House of Representatives. Under the framework of the Constitution, the House can vote to impeach a president for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” It’s up to the House to decide what that means.

But impeaching the president is not the same thing as removing the president from office. For that, the Senate holds a trial presided over by the chief justice of the United States.

So wait, is impeachment happening?

No. There’s an impeachment inquiry happening. If lawmakers decide there is enough evidence to consider writing up articles of impeachment, then they will. At which point, impeachment will be underway. The difference may sound semantic, but it’s important to note that a majority of House Democrats support an impeachment inquiry. We don’t know how many would vote to actually impeach Trump. So far only 27 have publicly said they want him impeached.

What is an impeachment inquiry?

It is the first step in the impeachment process. It means lawmakers will investigate what, if any, “high crimes and misdemeanors” Trump may have committed.

What is the process for an impeachment inquiry?

Pelosi said Tuesday that the