Donald Trump Could Be Impeached by Christmas—Here's How

The House impeachment inquiry entered a new phase this week as the first in a series of public hearings were held with witnesses, following prior testimonies held behind closed doors in the Capitol's basement.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was the latest witness to appear before cameras. She was questioned by lawmakers in a committee room today, two days after the State Department official George Kent and the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor gave testimony to representatives.

Another raft of witnesses is also due to appear at public hearings next week—including U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council staffer.

The impeachment inquiry was launched by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on September 24 after the details of a whistleblower's complaint about a now-infamous phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy were made public. A chart below, from Statista, shows where the American public falls on the issue of impeachment.

Impeachment Inquiry Trump Statsita
Percentage of Americans who approve or disapprove of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. Statista

Trump is alleged to have withheld military aid to Ukraine in an effort to pressure the country into opening an investigation into his political opponent Joe Biden.

As the impeachment process against the president ramped up following the announcement of public depositions last week, the appetite for impeachment among Democrats did not appear to wane.

Shortly after the impeachment inquiry was set in motion, Democrats were reported to be aiming for a Thanksgiving vote on articles of impeachment.

But The Hill reported last Friday that the Democrat majority in the House was seeking to wrap up impeachment before the Christmas holidays with a December vote.

Here is how the House could end up impeaching President Trump by Christmas.

Could the House vote to impeach Trump by Thanksgiving?

Democrats had once planned to be voting on articles of impeachment before the Thanksgiving holiday, as reported by both The New York Times and ABC News.

But the likelihood of the House voting to impeach Trump by November 28, with several public hearings being held near the Capitol in the interim, is next to none.

The passage of impeachment articles before Christmas, however, is a far more probable outcome.

How could the House impeach Trump by Christmas?

Once the public impeachment hearings have come to a close—potentially before the Thanksgiving break—representatives will return to the Capitol, where the House Judiciary Committee will consider the available evidence and draft articles of impeachment to be brought against President Trump.

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A file photo of President Donald Trump at the Whitehouse. The possibility remains that he could be impeached by Christmas. Alex Wong/Getty

But first the President or his counsel will have the opportunity to respond to evidence and present their case. They will also have the power to request further testimony and evidence for the Judiciary Committee's consideration, according to the House Rules Committee.

If the Judiciary Committee does adopt articles of impeachment, they will be put to a vote in the House.

Will the House vote for impeachment?

While it is not impossible that the Democrat-led House will decide not to impeach the president, it is incredibly difficult to imagine that scenario playing out in reality.

Democratic leadership has put its weight behind impeachment, and managed to pass its resolution formalizing the inquiry process by a clear majority of 232 votes in favor to 196 against at the end of October.

Barring a massive change in the political landscape, you should expect the House to vote for Trump's impeachment.

What happens next?

If the House votes to impeach President Trump, then he will face a trial in the Republican-held Senate. After the trial, senators will vote on whether or not to convict the commander-in-chief and remove him from office.

Although GOP senators have had their differences with Trump of late, namely over his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Kurdish-controlled Syria, there appears to be little appetite for his impeachment, let alone his conviction and removal from office.

A two-thirds majority of votes in the Senate is required for a president to be convicted and removed from office. In this case, that outcome is highly unlikely.

Donald Trump Could Be Impeached by Christmas—Here's How | U.S.