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UK law professor talks impeachment

Posted at 4:13 PM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 18:55:22-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18)  — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear Thursday that she is asking the House Judiciary Committee and chairmen of other committees to move forward with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

“Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and our heart full of love for America, today, I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment,” said Pelosi.

As this process moves forward, there are different steps that could take place. University of Kentucky Professor Joshua Douglas, who teaches constitutional law, says the House is essentially getting ready to decide whether or not it'll formally accuse the President.

"Right now, the House is going through its process through its various committees, gathering evidence, hearing testimony, and ultimately, will draft articles of impeachment and vote on those articles of impeachment in the House," said Douglas.

Depending on how the House votes, the President will then either be impeached or not. And although impeachment is serious, it, itself, cannot remove the President from power.

"When a president is impeached, it's sort of like an indictment, a criminal indictment," said Douglas. "They're essentially charged or accused with doing something and then the trial itself would happen in the Senate."

So what happens during the Senate trial?

"The Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, will preside over the trial and each side will essentially present evidence and the judge or the jury are the senators," said Douglas. "They would determine whether the evidence is there to convict and they could actually take two votes. One on removal from office and then, two, on whether the president is eligible to run for re-election. Those are actually two different things."

Presidents have been impeached before. President Andrew Johnson and President Bill Clinton were both impeached. However, during their Senate trials, they were acquitted.

President Richard Nixon resigned from office before the House could vote on whether to impeach him. To this day, no American President has been removed from office.