Impeachment trial begins for third time in U.S. History

The impeachment of President Trump did not come as a surprise to many, as it had been the talk of the country for some time. With Democrats threatening a formal impeachment and Republicans refuting evidence, everyone knew it had to come to a head at some point. That point came on Dec. 18, 2019 when the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the House of Representatives approved articles of impeachment on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

There have been three presidents in the history of the United States who have been impeached: Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. However, no president has ever been removed from office. President Nixon faced impeachment after attempting to block evidence being brought forth for his case, but stepped down before the House could vote.

The impeachment process is a two-part process, one part taking place in the House of Representatives. The second part takes place in the Senate, where the senators act as jurors, and a trial is held where evidence is brought forth. If the evidence is convincing enough, the President will be found guilty, and removed from office. If not, the President will be acquitted and allowed to finish out his term.

The second part of the impeachment process is currently underway in the Senate. Trump took to Twitter on Jan. 27 to say, “Senate hearing on the Impeachment Hoax starts today at 1:00 p.m.” 

According to Daniel Bennett, political science professor at John Brown University, it’s unlikely Trump will leave office.

“It’s very, very likely he’ll be acquitted just like President Clinton was,” Bennett said, “It takes two-thirds of the Senate to vote to remove a president, and right now, there’s just not two-thirds vote to remove.”

No matter the outcome, the trial could have rippling effects in the upcoming election. Teague Broquard, a political science major at JBU, believes that the impeachment should absolutely affect the 2020 election. “Ideally it will drive more people to the polls. I don’t think higher voter turn-out is ever a bad thing,” Broquard said.

The impeachment trial could also further increase the political divide within the US. “Well, it’s currently not bringing anyone together,” Bennett said of the impeachment process. “This certainly won’t help the situation. It might not make it worse, but it’s definitely not a wake-up call to either party.”

It’s yet to be seen what side the trial will affect more in the coming election. “It’s a great way for the GOP to capitalize on being ‘attacked’ and get people to the polls and protect the President,” Broquard said, “Democrats need voters to prove that their impeachment process wasn’t for nothing. Either way, we should all be awaiting February 3 eagerly for the Iowa caucuses.”