Who takes over after impeachment

United StatesImpeachment: Procedure and Chances of Success

The most important questions:

How does the procedure work?

The process in the broader sense begins in the House of Representatives. Individual MPs can submit a resolution for impeachment or the Chamber can initiate the process with a resolution. What is needed for this is a list of charges that, in the case of US President Donald Trump, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, presented on December 10, 2019.

(dpa-news / AP / Andrew Harnik) impeachment proceedings against Trump opened (05:34)
Impeachment proceedings against US President Trump have been initiated. The impeachment process drives an even deeper wedge between Democrats and Republicans, said Dlf correspondent Thilo Kößler.

In order to actually indict the President, the House of Representatives must approve the list with a simple majority. That is exactly what happened: the Congress Chamber accepted the first of two counts. With a majority of Democrats, the Congress Chamber voted 230 to 197 for Trump to answer for abuse of office in the Senate. The House also accepted the second charge, obstruction of Congress, by a majority.

It is then forwarded to the Senate, which has the function of a court. The chairman of the Supreme Court leads the proceedings, a conviction would have to end up with two-thirds of the senators present. According to the Senate, no appeal is planned.

What are the reasons for impeachment?

The hurdles for the impeachment of the US president are very high. The US Constitution provides that the President can be removed from office by Congress in the event of “treason, bribery, or other serious crimes and misdemeanors”. What exactly falls under this is not defined in more detail. However, a president doesn't have to have broken a law to be charged.

(AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY) US Impeachment Proceedings - First Clinton, Now Trump?
Because he is said to have put pressure on the Ukrainian President, US President Donald Trump is threatened with impeachment proceedings. Trump is not the first US president to face such a case. A review.

In the past, two presidents had to face impeachment: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. In both cases, the Senate disapproved of impeachment and both remained in office. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before legal proceedings against him could begin.

What are the charges against Trump?

The Democrats have charged the incumbent president with abuse of power and obstruction of parliamentary investigations. They accuse the incumbent of pushing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi to investigate Trump's political rival Joe Biden in order to influence the 2020 US presidential election in his favor.

(picture-alliance / dpa) "In the end, not much will get stuck"
He considers impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump to be right, said Ralph Freund, spokesman for the Republicans Overseas Germany, in the Dlf. However, there are currently only circumstantial evidence and contradicting witness statements.

The Democrats see it as proven that Trump made a meeting with Zelenskyi in the White House and the release of military aid to Ukraine conditional on the announcement of such investigations. They also accuse Trump of obstructing the House of Representatives investigation into the proceedings.

What are the chances of success of a trial against Trump?

The Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives, so an indictment against Trump was very likely. In contrast, Trump's Republicans have a majority in the Senate. In order for the two-thirds majority necessary to convict Trump to come about, 20 Republican senators would have to change camp. With Republicans still standing by Trump, impeachment is currently unlikely.

(Getty / Chip Somodevilla) "We're going to see another first-rate political show"
In the impeachment investigations, a high level of emotionality played a role, which Donald Trump fueled himself through tweets, explained Peter Beyer (CDU) in the Dlf. In the end, the US president could emerge from the impeachment process as "a shining winner".

What happens if there is impeachment?

If a president is removed from office, the vice-president takes over and takes power until the end of the regular term of office of his former boss. In the event of impeachment, Mike Pence would become head of state until January 20, 2021.