Republican Donald Trump was only just elected to be the next president of the United States, but some Americans are already calling for his impeachment. Thousands of people are supporting online petitions demanding Trump be impeached before he reaches or immediately after he takes the Oval Office.
The most popular so far is on change.org, where more than 17,000 users have signed a petition simply titled "Impeach Donald J. Trump." The page was launched Wednesday and is one of 419 change.org petitions that mention the new president-elect.
"It is clear something is wrong here if an openly homophobic, racist, xenophobic and sexist individual can become the most powerful man in the world," it reads. "Make it clear you do not want this man leading our free nation."
Petitions aside, it's unclear whether Trump could actually face impeachment.
The precedent for the process is laid out in the U.S. Constitution. It reads, "The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors," according to the House's history, art and archives webpage.
Only two presidents have ever been impeached: Bill Clinton, in 1998, and Andrew Johnson, in 1868. Neither were actually removed.
Both presidents, as is typical, were impeached in connection with offenses that occurred while they were in office. The various fraud and sexual assault accusations against Trump concern incidents from before the election, which means there's some disagreement among experts about whether he could legally be charged.
Bill Blum, a retired judge who writes for Truth Dig, said there may be a precedent. In an article about Democrat Hillary Clinton, Blum pointed to a 2010 case in which a federal judge, G. Thomas Porteous, was convicted for financial corruption that started when he was a state court judge three decades earlier.
Meanwhile, University of Utah professor Christopher Lewis Peterson wrote in an essay that Trump could be impeached in connection with Trump University, a real estate education program that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has alleged relied on false advertising.
"Trump has on several occasions promised to commit impeachable crimes as a matter of executive policy," Peterson wrote. "As controversial as these actions — both of which are likely high crimes or misdemeanors — may be, they bear at least one important distinction with the controversy over Trump University. Unlike his promised crimes yet to come, the illegal acts in Trump’s high pressure wealth seminars have already occurred."
Finally, even if Trump were charged, Congress might not vote him out. The House of Representatives has the power to impeach, but the Senate has to try all impeachments.
As Mic noted, both houses of Congress are now under control of the Republican party.