Political Science professors explain the next steps in impeachment process

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — In a historic vote, the U.S. House impeaches President Donald Trump Wednesday afternoon. Trump will be the only president to be impeached twice.

Manchester University’s Leonard Williams is a professor emeritus of political science. Williams was one of more than 2,000 political science professors from across the country calling on Vice President Mike Pence, Congress, and President Donald Trump’s Cabinet to begin the process of impeachment.

“I think it was expected,” Manchester University professor Leonard Williams said. “Something this monumental would not have gone on unremarked. It wouldn’t have been a lame response from the House. They had to do something, they were prepared to do it and they moved quickly.”

Mike Wolf is a political science professor at Purdue University Fort Wayne. The biggest surprise of the day was the number of Republicans that voted to impeach Trump.

“It’s not worthy,” Purdue University Fort Wayne professor Mike Wolf said. “There are some new members and one of the components of it that were probably really important was one member of the leadership on the Republican party, Liz Cheney voted (for impeachment). That allowed others to move in that direction.”

Wednesday’s final vote was 232 to 197, with 10 Republicans joining all 222 Democrats in supporting the single article of impeachment. The president was charged with incitement of insurrection.

“Incitement means that you have encouraged people to commit acts of mayhem,” Williams said. “The president was seen as encouraging the group to riot in the capital and to do all of the damage that they did.”

Only three presidents have been impeached in U.S. history. President Andrew Johnson was the first sitting president to ever be impeached in 1867. President Bill Clinton was the second in 1998, followed by President Trump in 2019. In 1974 the House had started the impeachment process on then-President Richard Nixon however, he resigned from office before the articles were voted on.

“I don’t think anyone in Congress or anyone likes the impeachment or the impeachment process,” Wolf said. “We have major foreign policy issues that are popping up right now that we aren’t even talking about on the news and the transition of the Senate much less the presidency all of at one time is a huge undertaking.”

No president in history has been removed from office. After a president is impeached the article moves to the Senate where lawmakers must hold a trial on whether to convict the impeached president and remove them from office. In order for that to happen the vote must be a two-thirds majority or 67 votes. Each of the past three impeachments has ended in acquittal.

“It’s very confusing partly because it doesn’t happen very often and rightly so perhaps,” Williams said. “Certainly the framers did not expect it to be another other than a weapon of last resort. We use it only in emergencies; in case of fire break glass element in the Constitution.”

Hear both Professor Williams and Professor Wolf exploitation of the process below.

“If he’s convicted it will affect his former rights as a president,” Wolf said. “It will also affect his right to run again for federal office.”

Both professors agree that the Senate is not likely to start an impeachment trial until after Trump leaves office. Joe Biden will be sworn in as president on January 20th.

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