Local political experts believe process to impeach President Trump again could be difficult

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Congress is getting closer to impeaching President Donald Trump for the second time, something not seen before in American government. But there are political factors in play that would complicate that or other efforts to remove him from office.

Vice President Mike Pence would need the support of at least half the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, but he does not appear to support taking that step.

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That means House Democrats would move forward to vote on at least one article of impeachment. An article passed in the House goes to the Senate for a trial.

Political experts say in the wake of the Capitol assault and President Trump’s statements, this impeachment could be more bipartisan.

“It might be quick to say that he would be impeached by the Democrats,” said Bonnie Mani, a retired professor from ECU Political Science Department. “They do have the simple majority to do that but the fact is, that there would be Republicans and Democrats involved.” 

A Senate trial may not happen before Jan. 20, which means the trial could also interfere with or delay President-elect Joe Biden’s efforts on issues like COVID-19, the economy and even putting his administration into place.

Dr. Keith Lion is a history professor at Beaufort County Community College. He said the process would not be an easy one.

“President-elect Biden has to have cabinet officials approved by the Senate, which takes a lot of time and keeps a lot of people busy, as would obviously a trial of a by then formally president of the United States, and it would also suck up a lot of the oxygen politically and give less time to focus on the appointments,” Lion said.

A conviction by two-thirds of the Senate could come after Trump leaves office, preventing him from running for president again and the loss of other “ex-president” privileges, experts say.

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