House Democrats may have passed a vote on Wednesday to impeach President Trump but legal scholars say he may not yet be officially impeached.
You have probably heard that the impeachment process is two-fold: the House votes to impeach and the Senate votes whether or not to remove the sitting president, but that is not what these experts are arguing. They are arguing the House part of the process is not yet complete, therefore Trump is not yet impeached.
According to them, the House part of the process concludes when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi instructs the Senate of the House’s intention to impeach the president. This step occurs after the House votes in favor of the impeachment article(s) against the president.
The Western Journal reports this part of the process has not yet occurred and thus Trump has not been impeached:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is threatening to withhold the articles of impeachment from the upper chamber unless they agree to the trial she wants, because she’s suddenly taken a conspicuous interest in fairness and process.
“So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” Pelosi said during a media conference, adding that “we’ll see what happens over there.”
To which Senate Republicans said, well, sure. Take your time.
The White House might like this outcome as well, and not just because the Senate trial is delayed or doesn’t happen. According to Bloomberg, the Trump administration is ready to argue that a failure to deliver articles of impeachment will mean President Trump was never impeached.
According to the report, legal scholars argued in order for Trump to be impeached, the Senate needs to already have jurisdiction in the case—which they do not.
“The case is a rhetorical one following Wednesday night’s vote to impeach the president on two articles. The U.S. Constitution grants the House of Representatives full authority over impeachment. But the argument is part of an effort by the White House and Senate Republicans to maximize their leverage as lawmakers debate when and how to conduct a trial on charges that the president abused his power to solicit an investigation into political rival Joe Biden, and obstructed the congressional investigation into the matter,” Bloomberg reports.
“The White House legal theory, according to a person familiar with the legal review, is that if Trump has been officially impeached, the Senate should already have jurisdiction. Backers of the theory would argue that the clause of the U.S. Constitution that gives the Senate ‘the sole Power to try all Impeachments’ indicates that the impeachment isn’t formalized until the House reported the charges to the upper chamber,” the report continues.
In an op-ed with Bloomberg, the Democrats’ own star impeachment expert argued impeachment was a process, not just a vote.
“But an indefinite delay would pose a serious problem. Impeachment, as contemplated by the Constitution, does not consist merely of the vote by the House, but of the process of sending the articles to the Senate for trial. Both parts are necessary to make an impeachment under the Constitution: The House must actually send the articles and send managers to the Senate to prosecute the impeachment. And the Senate must actually hold a trial,” he argued.
Adding, “If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president. If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn’t truly impeached at all.”
The fact that Pelosi hasn’t sent over the articles of impeachment is an implicit admission that House Democrats did not make a case. https://t.co/7rY85xPsbd
— Tim Murtaugh – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TimMurtaugh) December 22, 2019