Local attorney explains impeachment, lays out what will happen next

Updated: Dec. 19, 2019 at 5:09 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The historic move to impeach President Donald Trump has many people now asking what comes next.

Many people, when they hear the word “impeachment,” think the president will immediately be removed from office. But, that is not the case.

Andy Seger, a Lubbock attorney, said the impeachment process can be compared to a grand jury that has indicted a criminal defendant.

Now, the criminal defendant is going to go to trial, except this is not a criminal trial. Seger said it is a procedure set forth in the constitution that covers all federal civil officers.

The House Judiciary Committee presented the evidence and then crafted two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

“Alleged abuse of power, that is leveraging government and taxpayer dollars for personal benefit, and the other charge is obstructing the congressional investigation into the Ukraine, for lack of a better word, scandal,” Seger said.

A simple majority vote was taken. The results were 230 to 197 for abuse of power and 229 to 198 for obstruction of justice.

But, this is just the is the first of a two-phase process. Seger said the next step is a trial that will take place in the Senate. Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over the trial.

“The Senate is supposed to be the jury, and they have to take an oath that they’re going to be impartial and use due diligence to come to an investigation,” Seger said.

Seger said, in order to convict the president, there must be a two-thirds majority vote by the Senate.

“Even if every single one of the democratic senators voted for impeachment, there would have to be 23 republican senators to vote in favor of impeachment to actually remove the president,” Seger said.

While Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both also impeached, Seger said no president has ever been removed from office under this procedure.

Seger said he anticipates seeing the next step begin some time next month.

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