For about a month now, the American people have been witnessing the House impeachment hearings.
On Tuesday, House leadership announced two articles of impeachment — and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) just announced how he wants the Senate impeachment to go. “Here’s what I want to avoid: this thing going on longer than it needs to,” he said, according to the Washington Examiner. “I want to end this.”
First the House
For those unfamiliar with the process, here is a quick crash course on how this all works: Now that the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees have had hearings, with more hearings still possible in the Judiciary, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) gave the order to write the articles of impeachment.
As the Judiciary panel chair, Rep. Jerry Nader (D-NY) is responsible for penning the articles of impeachment. The Constitution specifically states the president can be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Because “high crimes and misdemeanors” are not specifically defined, it can pretty much be whatever Congress wants. That lack of definition by our Founders and Framers left a loophole whereby impeachment could be weaponized, which is what Democrats have done here.
While they insisted that Trump bribed a foreign power only a few weeks ago — which by definition would have fit one of the very specific categories of impeachable offense — they have since decided to ignore that and instead impeach Trump on “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” instead.
The articles will be put on the floor for debate and a vote will be held, probably next week. If the vote falls along party lines, as is expected, the articles of impeachment will pass and move on to the Senate for a trial.
When impeachment hits the Senate
As soon as the impeachment is turned over to the Senate, a motion can be made to dismiss the impeachment outright. For dismissal, only a majority approval is needed, so Republicans would need 51 of their 53 seats, assuming no Democrats crossed over, to dismiss the charges without a hearing.
If, however, the hearing goes on, which President Trump has stated he would prefer, the Senate would need a supermajority of 67 votes to convict.
While some pundits believe the GOP cannot count on garnering 51 votes to dismiss, that may not be the case. In fact, it is still in question as to whether or not this impeachment will even move on from the House.
There are more than a few rumors swirling that House Democrats from more moderate districts are already pressuring party leadership to censure Trump rather than move for impeachment.
Hopefully, as Graham seems to believe, this impeachment will be over shortly after it is turned over to the Senate — if it even gets that far.