Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey's revelation about an ongoing investigation into Donald Trump administration's Russian connection could eventually result in the United States President's impeachment.
On Monday, Comey, along with National Security Agency chief James Clapper, decided to divulge explosive information about an ongoing investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections and associations of some of Trump administration members with Moscow.
Comey and the NSA director, appearing before a congressional committee, stated that their probe into the Moscow links could go on for months. The officials spent over five hours before the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee in testimony of the Russian interference probe.
In the hearing, which saw stark partisan divides between the panel's majority -- Republicans and Democrats, Comey also asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin was himself involved in the interference. He also firmly stated that not only did Putin want Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to lose the election, he also wanted Republican presidential candidate Trump to win.
Comey's public acknowledgement of an ongoing investigation associated with the Trump team and the Russians even before the Republican assumed the office throws light to the possibility that there is damning evidence with the investigation bureau which has led it to continue the probe and come out with it. Comey, during the congressional hearing, said that the investigations into the links could take months.
Democrats could seek Trump impeachment soon
Members of the Democratic Party have already begun talking about the probability of impeaching Trump, particularly after the Republican claimed that former President Barack Obama 'wiretapped' his campaign office last year.
Trump, earlier this month, had tweeted that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower, the headquarters of the Republican's 2016 presidential election campaign. Trump, however, provided no evidence to back that claim.
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas has said that if Comey reiterated that there was no evidence to Trump's claim of Obama wiretapping, then the Republican billionaire has set himself up for impeachment.
"If you do not have any proof and you have been saying this for three weeks then you are clearly on the edge of the question of public trust and those actions can be associated with high crimes and misdemeanours for which articles of impeachment can be drawn," Jackson Lee told the Houston Chronicle.
The FBI Director also clearly stated that the intelligence agencies found no evidence of any such wiretapping or spying by the Obama administration.
Trump could be impeached over a tweet
Article II, Section 4 of the US Constitution states that presidents (among other federal officials) can be impeached for three main offences, which include treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanours.
How is the US President impeached?
The US Constitution allows Congress to put certain officials on trial and potentially remove them from the office. The impeachment process, at a high level, say a president's, moves through the legislature in almost the same manner any Bill does.
The House Committee on the Judiciary is charged with investigating the allegations against the President or any other high-ranking official, and if the judiciary finds adequate grounds for impeachment then they will move ahead to remove the President in a two-step process.
The impeachment process firstly requires a full House vote on whether the President should be impeached or not. After this, the Senate votes on how the President will be convicted of the charges placed against him. Subsequently, if at least the two-thirds of the Senate votes in favour of impeaching the President, then the President is removed from office and the Vice President steps in to replace him.
This means that if Trump is impeached in the near future, Vice President Mike Pence will have to step in to replace him as the United States President.
Only two presidents have been impeached in US history
In 1869, the House impeached Andrew Johnson for allegedly flouting a Reconstruction-era statute that restricted the President's ability to remove certain officeholders without Senate approval.
In 1998, the House impeached President Bill Clinton for lying under oath while testifying in a sexual harassment case brought against him by Paula Jones.