WASHINGTON (SPECTRUM NEWS) — The stage has been set for another explosive week in Washington after Democrats rolled out and passed out of committee two articles of impeachment against Pres. Donald Trump.
The charges against the president are abuse of office and obstruction of Congress.
Susan Low Bloch, a constitutional law professor at Georgetown University says the highly divisive proceedings draw parallels to the 1999 impeachment inquiry and trial of Pres. Bill Clinton.
“It seemed crazy, I mean the whole thing was ugly,” said Prof. Bloch. “And this is ugly for different reasons.”
Prof. Bloch had a seat at the table during Clinton’s trial.
She was one of a handful of legal experts called to testify before the Senate to define what’s an impeachable offense.
“I do think that it was warranted with Nixon. I think it was not warranted with Clinton. And I think now, Trump has abused his office and impeachment is warranted,” said Bloch.
With that in mind, lawmakers took up the two articles of impeachment during a Judiciary hearing on Wednesday.
After two days of debate, the committee voted to send the articles to the full House on Friday with a 23-17 vote.
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls is the only congressman from Wisconsin on the committee.
He argued Democrats have moved the goal post on what the impeachment inquiry was about.
“What we’re debating here, in my opinion, is the weakest case in history,” said Rep. Sensenbrenner. “Unlike the Nixon and Clinton impeachment, there are no crimes alleged to be committed. There are policy differences.”
He says those policies differences aren’t impeachable.
“There’s no allegation of bribery in these articles, there are no allegation of extortion,” said Rep. Sensenbrenner. “They have defined for themselves what a ‘high crime and misdemeanor’ will be.”
A full vote is expected to take place next week on the House floor.
A Senate trial could happen as early as January.
“One of the indications of how serious the Senate trial is, is the fact that the Constitution requires that the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court come from the court and reside. And that only happens when the president is being impeached,” said Prof. Bloch. “So I think the country can understand that this is a very serious matter and we can all learn from it.”