FACT CHECK: DID VERMONT GOV. PHIL SCOTT VOTE TO IMPEACH PRESIDENT TRUMP?
An image shared on Facebook more than 5,000 times claims that Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott voted to impeach President Donald Trump
Under the U.S. Constitution, only Congress can remove sitting presidents from office before their term ends after impeachment proceedings. State governors play no role in this process, so it is impossible for Scott to have voted in favor of it.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Sept. 24 that the House would initiate a formal impeachment inquiry after a member of the intelligence community filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open a corruption investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.
The post, which has been shared more than 5,000 times, purports that Scott, the Republican governor of Vermont, “just voted” to impeach Trump.
“Hi I’m Vermont Republican Phil Scott,” reads the caption. “I just voted to impeach President Trump.”
It is, however, impossible for Scott to have voted for the impeachment of the president, as state governors have no role in federal impeachment proceedings.
Only Congress can remove sitting presidents from office before their term ends if enough lawmakers vote that “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” have been committed, according to the Constitution.
A simple majority of the full House must vote “yes” for the president to be impeached. The Senate then votes on whether to convict the president and remove him from office following a trial overseen by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. A two-thirds majority is required for that.
The Daily Caller News Foundation confirmed with Columbia Law professor Philip Bobbitt in an email that, under the process laid out explicitly in the Constitution, state governors like Scott have no role in impeachment proceedings.
Nonetheless, numerous Facebook posts have inaccurately claimed he “just voted” to impeach Trump, likely in response to Scott becoming the first Republican governor to come out in support of the impeachment inquiry in late September.
“I think the inquiry is important, yes, and where it leads from here is going to be driven by the facts that are established,” he said.
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