Reporting by WVUA 23’s Jabaree Prewitt

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced Congress is launching a formal impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump today.

In the midst of all the national chatter, a University of Alabama political science professor is weighing in on the situation. Allen Linken, a common source for all things politics here at WVUA 23, said this is just the first step, but Pelosi has a tough battle ahead.

“Should the House find that there are impeachment conduct, the grounds for impeachment are treason or high crimes or misdemeanors, so effectively, any unnecessary crime allegedly the president has committed,” Linken said.

Pelosi mentioned there was some conduct from the president that may be illegal, but Linken said it is not subject to an impeachment.

“If a majority of the House is going to approve the impeachment, so it’s just a simple majority plus one,” he said. “And at the moment, Democrats have a coalition that has a simple majority plus one, so if most the Democrats were to agree to the argument to the articles of impeachment, and right now it’s about two-thirds.”

Three U.S. presidents have faced impeachment in the country’s history. These cases are:

  • Andrew Johnson (1868) – Johnson was brought under fire for dismissing Edwin Stanton as Secretary of War
  • Richard Nixon (1974) – Nixon faced impeachment after the Watergate Scandal was tied back to his re-election campaign
  • Bill Clinton (1998) – Clinton lied under oath about his sexual relations with an intern

Johnson and Clinton were acquitted in trials that were held by the Senate, but the two-thirds of the votes were not reached. Nixon resigned from office before the impeachment process could be completed.

Bradley Byrne, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate and the congressman from Alabama’s first congressional district, issued this response, saying in part:

“I will fight these efforts to impeach President Trump. The radical squad has taken over the Democrat party, and the American people will see right through this nonsense. President Trump has been the conservative leader that our country needs, and Democrats just can’t stand that he is getting the job done.”

If a formal impeachment investigation is approved by the House, Trump will remain in power. The key would be having enough votes from the Senate.

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