Midterms 2018: Will Trump be impeached now Democrats have taken the House?

Ramifications of GOP losing House of Representatives potentially seismic

Sarah Harvard
New York
Tuesday 06 November 2018 22:43 GMT
Midterms 2018: Inside the Democrats' multi-billion dollar campaign

The Democrats have taken back control of the House of Representatives, despite Republicans retaining its majority in the senate.

By casting their ballots, American voters had the opportunity to either stymie or accelerate Donald Trump’s policy agenda.

Ahead of the 2018 midterms, Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate, but the ramifications of overnight results could be seismic - not least for the president.

Can Trump get impeached now the Democrats have won the House?

It is now possible for the process to be initiated, but there are caveats. With Democrat control of the House, we can expect to see more calls to launch investigations into Mr Trump’s scandals and controversies. This is simply because the Democrats — being the majority party—will have more money, staff, and control over the chamber’s committees.

But when it comes to actually filing impeachment proceedings, it will take some time and political persuasion. First of all, the US House will need a majority vote to impeach Mr Trump. But even if that ends up happening with a Democrat majority, the Senate will also need a two-thirds majority to effectively rule his impeachment — and the Republicans have strengthened their control of the Senate.

Furthermore, Democrats face some fairly hefty obstacles in getting enough votes together to impeach Mr Trump.

Last year, six Democrats brought articles of Mr Trump’s impeachment to the House floor. They all failed to gain a majority vote. But that might all be because Democrat leaders — like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — don’t believe it is the right time, or should be their party’s priority to impeach the president.

Why are Democrat leaders reluctant to support Mr Trump’s impeachment?

There are a couple of reasons: American voters and Mr Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign.

For the most part, Democrats have been reluctant to use “impeachment” on the campaign trail during the midterm election cycle. Why? Well, it might turn off voters.

Take former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment proceedings. Republicans were relentless in impeaching Mr Clinton, but that ultimately came back to haunt their party on election day. Democrats showed up in large numbers at the polls, thus gaining them five seats in the US House. Republican Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House at the time, was overthrown.

Simply put, campaigning on “impeachment” could mobilise Americans to vote Republican.

The other reason Democratic leaders are cautious with carrying out impeach proceedings is straightforward: They are waiting to see what else comes out of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into election interference and possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

What could spring out of Mr Mueller’s investigation that could lead to Mr Trump’s impeachment?

A couple of things. First, it’s possible that there could be additional indictments following Mr Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign. The other thing Democrats might be on the lookout for is whether or not Mr Trump fires anyone overseeing Mr Mueller’s investigation: either the special counsel himself, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Democratic strategists suggest it is likely their party’s leaders will hold off on any serious moves towards impeachment until they are able to see what comes out of Mr Mueller’s probe, according to Need to Impeach’s lead strategist Kevin Mack.

“I don’t think Democrats will do anything until the Mueller report actually comes out,” Mack told Newsweek. “They might start some investigations, they’ve indicated that. On impeachment, I don’t think they’ll do anything until the report is complete.”

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Besides impeachment, what else can happen now Democrats have won back the House?

A lot can happen. It is likely Americans will see more investigations and subpoenas into Mr Trump’s campaign and administration.

The Oversight committee might subpoena Mr Trump’s cabinet members in their investigation for corruption. It’s possible that the Ways and Means committee would request obtaining Mr Trump’s tax returns from Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin, which could then be examined to see if Trump had any business ties with Russia that could have led to Russian interference.

But for the most part, they could stonewall Mr Trump’s policy agendas. With a Democrat majority in the house, the party has the power to approve or reject any legislation Mr Trump puts forward.

This is especially crucial for spending bills. In order for spending bills to be enacted, it needs to be passed from both the House and the Senate. With a Democratic-controlled House, any Republican efforts to cut entitlement domestic programmes—like social security—or funding for a US-Mexican border wall could be blocked from passing.

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