What’s next in the impeachment process? And, will it force President Trump from office?
This is Trahant Reports.
There have only been three presidents who have been impeached by the House of Representatives. Andrew Johnson in 1868. Bill Clinton in 1998. And now Donald Trump.
Impeachment is only the beginning of the process. The next step will kick in later this week when the House votes to name the managers who will then make a case for conviction.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told ABC’s This Week on Sunday that she will formally send the two articles to the Senate. The speaker hopes the Senate will conduct a formal trial, with witnesses, and due process. “Witnesses with firsthand knowledge of what happened. Documentation, which the President has prevented from coming out to the Congress, as we review this. Now the ball is in their court to either do that or pay a price.”
The impeachment trial is political. It takes two-thirds of that body voting to remove a president from office — and that’s unlikely to happen in a body controlled by Republicans.
But there is a lot of drama ahead. For example what will the rules of the trial be? Will there be witnesses? And when? That ruling will be decided by 51 senators.
Some in the Senate see this as nonsense and want to vote to acquit immediately. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News: “All I can say is the impeachment articles are a danger to the presidency, the way they impeached the president is un-American. This trial will end in a matter of days, not weeks and he’s going to be acquitted. I hope every Republican votes to acquit and I hope some Democrats will too.”
The politics of impeachment change depending on the party in the White House. The same arguments about witnesses and process that Republicans once made are now those of the Democrats. And the same is true for the Democrats who in Clinton’s day wanted the process over.
Still there are some differences. One is contrition. Bill Clinton admitted doing wrong. “I am profoundly sorry for all I have done wrong in words and deeds. I never should have misled the country, the Congress, my friends or my family. Quite simply, I gave in to my shame.”
Trump, on the other hand, has said his actions were perfect and the impeachment process itself is corrupt.
Indian Country is in a tough spot when it comes to impeachment. Tribal leaders are representing governments that have a direct relationship with the United States. So that means staying focused on the mechanics of how that works. At the same time tribal leaders are political leaders — with views and concerns about how the United States is led.
One final note: The impeachment trial will not be the end of the process. If the Clinton impeachment is a guide, then, there will be a lot of litigation ahead.
I am Mark Trahant.