TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) – Democrats in Congress are pushing ahead with impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
This, after accusations President Trump asked the president of Ukraine to conduct an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
So now that the impeachment inquiry is in motion, what does it mean and what comes next?
Based on the evidence found, the Judiciary Committee will eventually decide whether to bring formal charges against the president, which will then be voted on by the Full House.
“This is really a political process as much as a legal one,” said ETSU Associate Professor Dr. Daryl Carter.
Carter said six different committees will investigate various parts of President Trump’s administration, as well as his past and his business.
“They will investigate whether or not the president committed high crimes of misdemeanors,” said Carter, “and if so, do those rise to the level of impeachment?”
If the representatives on those committees decide that’s the case, Carter says they will draw up articles of impeachment.
Those will be discussed and debated, before being voted on by the full House.
“There’s enough out there though, from the Mueller investigation, from the intelligence investigation and from some of the journalistic efforts, there’s some things here that may be unseemly,” he said. “The question is, if they are unseemly, are they something that violates his oath of office and deserves his removal?”
Lincoln Memorial Constitutional Law Professor Stewart Harris said the process could take most of the year.
“This is a moment where we should all take a deep breath,” said Harris, “and we should say yes this is serious, and yes this is probably the greatest constitutional confrontation we’ve had since Watergate, but let’s let it play out.”
Harris also said the Democratic leaders’ declaration of an official inquiry statement was not technically necessary.
“The Constitution gives the power of impeachment to Congress,” he said, “and it implicitly gives the power of oversight in the investigation to Congress and those are already clearly established.”
If a majority of House members vote for the articles of impeachment resolution, the House will have effectively impeached Trump.
If the vote passes the House, the next step would be a trial, run by the Republican-controlled senate.