ST. LOUIS — Tuesday afternoon, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stepped up to a podium in the Capitol with an historic announcement.
"I’m announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry," Speaker Pelosi told reporters.
But what does that mean, and does that officially start the impeachment process?
Our sources for this story: Pelosi's speech and the United States Legal Code that outlines impeachment rules.
First, let's define what an impeachment inquiry is. Essentially, it's announcing they'll launch an investigation.
Here's the interesting part, that's already started.
Several different house committees are already investigating President Donald Trump dating back to allegations of Russia meddling in the 2016 election.
Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi announced those committees will continue their work.
"I’m directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry," Pelosi told reporters.
The significance of the announcement? This is the first time we've heard Speaker Pelosi say she'd like to pursue impeachment.
But this doesn't officially start the process.
In order to impeach President Trump, one of the House Committees investigating the President must pass Articles of Impeachment, essentially the charges against him.
That would move to the full House and they would have to pass it with a majority vote.
Two Presidents — Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton — have been impeached but a President has never been convicted and removed.
That process plays out in the Senate.
There would be a trial with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presiding.
The Senate would be the equivalent of a jury.
It would take two-thirds of the Senate to vote for a conviction for President Trump to be removed.
All of that to say, we can verify, the notion that the impeachment has begun against the President is false.
This is still just the investigation phase.
And even if it did, the framers of our Constitution made sure, removing a sitting President is a long a difficult process.
It's not to be taken lightly.