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Law professor explains how second impeachment proceedings will work

Constitutional law professor explains how second impeachment proceedings will work
Posted at 7:22 AM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 07:22:48-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment Tuesday that charges President Donald Trump with “incitement of insurrection.”

The move follows last week’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol and alleges Trump “endangered” the country.

“What the House has done here is a real rifle shot,” said Devin Schindler. “It makes it much cleaner and makes it much easier. Instead of having to debate three or four different thesis to impeach the President, the debate can be about a single thesis. It helps knock out some of the extraneous information.”

Schindler is a distinguished emeritus professor of constitutional law at West Michigan University’s Cooley Law School.

“In this particular case, Congress, and their single article of impeachment, is focusing exclusively on high crimes and misdemeanors,” said Schindler.

Schindler lists scoring political points and absolving some of the emotions many Americans are feeling right now as reasons why this process is playing out with just a few days left in Trump’s presidency, but says the larger motivation seems to be the possibility of disqualifying Trump.

“If the President is serious about running in 2024, this could be very substantial,” said Schindler.

If the House votes for impeachment and the Senate convicts him, senators could then consider disqualifying Trump which would prevent him from holding public office. Article 1 Section

“That would flat stop President Trump from the ability to even run or be elected,” said Schindler.

According to Schindler, it’s not clear if a simple majority or a two-thirds vote would be needed for disqualification.

Schindler says nothing in the U.S. Constitution prevents impeachment proceedings from happening after a president’s term has ended. He adds a U.S. Supreme Court case from the 1980s vests Congress with “exclusive authority” on determining how impeachment works.

“My guess is that this is how it will play out,” said Schindler. “The House will vote very quickly on this, the Senate will run out the clock, but the next Senate will have the opportunity to take it up whenever they feel like it to determine whether the disqualification should go further.”

The impeachment vote is set for Wednesday.

If passed, Trump would be the only president ever to be impeached twice.