Donald Trump faced greater restraints on his presidency after Democrats won control of the U.S. House of Representatives and pledged to hold the Republican accountable after a tumultuous two years in the White House.
Trump and his fellow Republicans expanded their control of the U.S. Senate in Tuesday’s midterm elections, following a divisive campaign marked by fierce clashes over race and immigration.
But they lost their majority in the House, a setback for Trump after a campaign that became a referendum on his leadership.
With some races still undecided, Democrats were headed for a gain of more than 30 seats, beyond the 23 they needed to claim their first majority in the 435-member House in eight years.
A House majority would be enough to impeach Trump if evidence surfaced of collusion by his campaign, or of obstruction by the president of the federal investigation. But Congress could not remove him from office without a conviction by a two-thirds majority in the Republican-controlled Senate, an unlikely scenario.
Seizing the Senate had never looked a likely prospect for the Democrats, and in the event they fell short of a tidal wave of voter support that would have given them control of both chambers of Congress.
Winning a Senate majority would have allowed Democrats to apply the brakes even more firmly on Trump’s policy agenda and given them the ability to block any future Supreme Court nominees.
However, the Democrats will now head House committees that can investigate the president’s tax returns, possible business conflicts of interest and possible links between his 2016 election campaign and Russia.
The Democrats could also force Trump to scale back his legislative ambitions, possibly dooming his promises to fund a border wall with Mexico, pass a second major tax-cut package, or carry out his hardline policies on trade.
How impeachment works
The process of impeachment starts from the House of Representatives and needs a simple majority to pass. The trial on the other hand is held by the Senate where a 2/3rdvote is needed for removal, a milestone that has never been reached in America’s history.
Only two Presidents have found themselves impeached, but neither were removed from office. A third – Richard Nixon – quit when the impeachment process started.
Bill Clinton found himself impeached on grounds of perjury, when he lied about the nature of his affair with Monica Lewinsky. The House voted 228 to 206 in favour of impeaching Clinton and 221 to 212 on the second. However, when it reached the senate, it failed to get close to 2/3rdof the majority required.
The second was Andrew Johnson in 1865. A third Nixon, quit, while impeachment proceedings started against him. However, history bears witness to the fact that no POTUS has ever been removed from office so far due to the impeachment process.At best, they can simply start the impeachment process in the House of Representatives.