How The Impeachment Process Works, Simplified

Trump exits a press conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2019 in New York City.

Congratulations America, many of you are about to witness your first impeachment proceedings! For those of you just reaching the legal drinking age, you weren’t even alive the last time the House of Representatives voted to impeach a sitting president. Others had some formative takeaways. Those of us who were (for example) graduating high school may have a fuzzy memory at best of how the process works.

This diagram will help you better understand where we are in the process, and how it might go down.

Impeachment inquiry is announced.

House committees (Intelligence, Oversight,

Financial Services, Foreign Affairs,

Ways and Means, and Judiciary) submit evidence

of impeachable offenses to Judiciary Committee.

We Are


Not enough evidence.

If there is sufficient evidence

of wrongdoing, Judiciary

sends articles of

impeachment to the

full House.

Nothing changes.

Trump thinks long and

hard about what he did.

House holds a floor vote on

articles of impeachment.

Simple majority does not

vote for impeachment.

Simple majority votes

to impeach.

Trump is impeached

by the House; he tweets.

Nothing changes.

Trump thinks long and

hard about what he did.


Articles of impeachment

move to the

Republican-controlled Senate.

House elects

or appoints


to present case

to Senate.

Senate takes up

impeachment proceedings.



Senate determines rules for

trial proceedings, and holds a trial.

Senate Trial Time!


“the jury”

Chief Justice of US

“the judge”

Trial Managers

“the prosecution”

Trump’s Lawyers

“the defense”

Less than 2/3 of the

Senate votes to convict.

At least 2/3 of the Senate

votes to convict.

Trump remains

in office.

Trump is removed

from office.


President Pence!

Images credits: Melina Mara / The Washington Post via Getty Images (Pelosi); Drew Angerer /Getty Images (Trump); Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images (McConnell); Stephanie Keith / Getty Images (Trump); Caroline Brehman / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images (Pence)

More on this

  • Some Democrats Are Skipping Their Two-Week Vacation To Keep Working On ImpeachmentAddy Baird · Sept. 27, 2019
  • Democrats Want To Impeach Trump Over A Number Of Scandals, But Say They’ll Focus Solely On UkraineAddy Baird · Sept. 26, 2019
  • A Whistleblower Has Alleged Trump “Abused His Office For Personal Gain” — And That The White House Tried To Cover It UpSarah Mimms · Sept. 26, 2019
  • Ben King is the Art Director for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

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