WASHINGTON (WSAV) — Six House Democrats introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
They accuse him of obstructing justice in the firing of FBI Director James Comey over the Russian probe into interference in the U.S. presidential election as well as other offenses.
But what does filing articles of impeachment actually mean for the president?
Savannah Political Science Professor Bruce Mallard says it might be the beginning of a process, but in this case, maybe not.
He says impeachment is like a trial but in Congress. “The House has to vote to have a trial like a grand jury and the Senate holds the trial — like a 100 person jury,” he said.
Mallard says the highly charged partisan nature of Congress these days makes pursuing this unlikely, in his opinion.
He says only two American presidents have actually be impeached (Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998) and “neither president was convicted or removed from office.”
“You don’t have to violate the laws to get impeached but it has to be something pretty concrete Clinton was actually impeached for lying under oath, perjury is what gets everybody eventually,” says Mallard.
He doesn’t think this will go far but he does say Trump may face more frustration and even trouble, “if the Russia probe doesn’t go well.”
“If that rises to an impeachable offense it’s still up to the House and Senate to decide, however,” says Mallard. “A special prosecutor will just lay out what they find.”
Mallard also reminds Americans who are tired of the political wrangling that this idea didn’t originate this week, with this group of six Democrats.
He says articles of impeachment were written into the Constitution.