Analyst: Impeachment to drum up votes, not remove president

Analyst: Impeachment to drum up votes, not remove president

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

 With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) ordering committee chairs to prepare articles of impeachment Thursday, Democrats are preparing to vote on whether to charge President Trump with a high crime or misdemeanor before Christmas.

Citing abuse of power, Speaker Pelosi declared the President has committed "a profound violation of the public trust" that "strikes at the very heart of our Constitution." Minority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) later said the charges weaken the nation, saying the Democrats have had this advanced timeline since the day they were sworn in.

Mark McKenzie, a political scientist and constitutional scholar at Texas Tech, said the whole process shows hypocrisy in both parties.

"When you look at the differing reactions of Republicans and Democrats," he said, "it just shows how partisan it is."

"The Democrats are making claims right now," he continued, "that -- 20 years ago, when President Clinton was impeached -- they said 'oh, no, there's no reason to worry about that, that's not enough for impeachment,' and Republicans were so upset about what Bill Clinton did, and then you look 20 years later, and the roles are just reversed."

President Clinton was impeached in the House; then-Speaker Newt Gingrich railed against the president for abusing his power, and House Democrats waved it off. President Clinton was acquitted on two charges in the Senate in 1999.

"And you just know all of these parties are -- both the Republicans and Democrats -- are lying," he concluded with a chuckle.

McKenzie said each party already has its own set views of the House's accusations -- claiming President Trump abused the power of his office to convince a foreign country to investigate a political rival -- and it's unlikely the Republican-held Senate will confirm the House's charges, but both parties will use the impeachment proceedings to their advantage during the election.

"The Democrats' base has been clamoring for some sort of an impeachment process almost since the day Trump assumed the presidency," McKenzie said.

He explained Democrats want to keep the president's perceived wrongs in the forefront of voters' minds in order to gain momentum in November.

Once the Democrats' articles of impeachment are finished, they will be submitted for a floor vote in the House; it will likely pass along party lines, potentially before Christmas. Once they're approved, the Senate will be charged with holding a trial -- Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already cleared the schedule -- in January. Even if the Republican majority confirms the House's charges against President Trump, it is not an automatic removal from office; that requires a separate, two-thirds supermajority vote.

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