NBC12: What does an impeachment inquiry mean?


Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced that the House will move forward with an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, but many are left wondering what an impeachment inquiry means.

“She has asked the six committees already investigating the president for a variety of things to continue their investigation under the umbrella of an impeachment inquiry,” said Elliott Fullmer, who teaches political science at Randolph-Macon College.

Fullmer says the committees already investigating Trump can move in impeachment investigations under ‘the speaker’s blessing’ but it’s not an easy or quick process.

The committees will come back with their recommendations and the House Judiciary Committee will make the decision if formal articles of impeachment should be filed.

It doesn’t stop there.

“The House has the unique right to impeach a president but once the House has impeached the president – it’s only happened twice in American history – then the Senate has the final say,” Fullmer said.

This is only the fourth time in American history a House Speaker has called it. Both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached. Richard Nixon faced impeachment but resigned before that happened.

“These allegations against the president are new and different,” Representative Abigail Spanberger said.

Spanberger says she isn’t set on impeachment just yet but says it’s clear something isn’t right.

“These clouds of suspicion, these clouds of allegations are so deeply disturbing that we need to either prove them true or prove them false,” Spanberger said.

Fullmer says you can expect this to be a big topic in the 2020 campaign.

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