The Week - Junior

US president Donald Trump is accused of acting unlawfully


On 24 September, the Democratic Party in the US launched an inquiry to decide whether or not to impeach President Donald Trump for acting unlawfully. Trump says he hasn’t done anything wrong.

What is impeachmen­t?

Impeachmen­t is the first stage in a process that could result in the president being forced to leave his job. The US Congress (which is like the UK Parliament) can put the president on trial if they believe that he or she has committed certain crimes.

What is Congress?

Congress makes and votes on new laws. It is made up of two parts – the House of Representa­tives and the Senate. The House is made up of 435 representa­tives, each of whom speaks for a certain district within a state. Representa­tives are elected to serve for two years. In the Senate, there are 100 senators who are each elected to serve for six years. Two senators represent each state (there are 50 states in the US). The Senate has unique powers; for example, only the Senate can hold an

impeachmen­t trial.

How does impeachmen­t work?

For a president to be impeached, a majority in the House of Representa­tives must vote to say that they agree with it. If that happens, a trial takes place in the Senate and at the end of it the senators vote to say whether they think the president is innocent or guilty. The president is only found guilty if two thirds or more of the Senate agrees. If found guilty, the president is then replaced by the vice president (the person next in rank to the president).

What are the accusation­s against Trump?

Trump is accused of asking the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigat­e Joe Biden, who is a member of the Democratic Party and is one of Trump’s political rivals (Trump is in the Republican Party.) Biden is hoping to be the Democracti­c Party’s next candidate for president. This means he could be competing against Trump in next year’s election, and some people think Trump wanted to harm Biden’s chances. In the US it is illegal for someone to ask a foreign country for help in an election. Trump says he is being unfairly accused.

How do we know this?

According to a whistleblo­wer (someone who reports wrongdoing at their place of work), during a phone call on 25 July Trump asked Zelensky if he would investigat­e Biden. Trump claims that Biden abused his power as vice president by trying to influence the Ukrainian government. Biden denies this.

What will happen next?

Some members of the House of Representa­tives are gathering evidence to decide whether or not to hold a vote on impeachmen­t. When they have finished their investigat­ion, they will present their findings to the House. The representa­tives will study the evidence and then decide whether to hold a vote.

 ??  ?? Protesters outside the US Capitol, where
Congress meets.
Protesters outside the US Capitol, where Congress meets.
 ??  ?? President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump
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