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Noah Feldman

Trump Isn’t Impeached Until the House Tells the Senate

According to the Constitution, impeachment is a process, not a vote. 

Don’t delay.

Don’t delay.

Photographer: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Now that the House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump, what is the constitutional status of the two articles of impeachment? Must they be transmitted to the Senate to trigger a trial, or could they be held back by the House until the Senate decides what the trial will look like, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi has hinted?

The Constitution doesn’t say how fast the articles must go to the Senate. Some modest delay is not inconsistent with the Constitution, or how both chambers usually work.