‘The situation is unprecedented’: Constitutional law professor talks possible impeachment vote

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A possible vote on whether to impeach President Donald Trump could come as soon as Wednesday, one week after the chaos that unfolded on Capitol Hill.

The nation is bracing for an unprecedented situation – the potential impeachment of one president just days before the inauguration of another. If President Trump is impeached for a second time, that would be a first in U.S. history.

“Never before in American history has an American president been impeached twice, and while it hasn’t happened yet, it looks almost certain that it will happen tomorrow,” said Constitutional Law Professor at Lincoln Memorial University, Stewart Harris.

Harris broke down what could be a historic week, one day after House Democrats filed an article of impeachment against President Trump.

“Once the House has impeached, if indeed they do impeach tomorrow, then they will send those documents over to the Senate, and the Senate will hold a trial. There it’s a much bigger deal because it takes 2/3 of the senators to convict a president or any federal official in an impeachment proceeding,” Harris said.

Harris also explained the possible punishments should the president face impeachment and a subsequent trial, and what that means for any future presidential bid.

“Removal is only one of two penalties for impeachment. The other one is disqualification from ever holding a position of trust or profit, I believe that’s the constitutional phrase, in the federal government. So that means effectively that if 2/3 of senators vote to convict Trump, then he can be deprived of his ability to ever be president again,” Harris said.

About a year ago now, the House impeached President Trump for pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden, but the Senate acquitted him in February 2020.

Harris calls it a night and day difference in comparison to recent moves to impeach the president, following last week’s attack on Capitol Hill.

“So what we have now is much less partisan, it’s much more bipartisan,” Harris said.

Congressman Chuck Feischmann told WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel he’d be voting ‘no’ on impeaching the president. His colleagues Tim Burchett and Diana Harshbarger say they both think an impeachment will only further divide the country.

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