Articles of impeachment introduced, Congress remains divided

Posted at 3:54 PM, Dec 10, 2019

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — While many are certain President Donald Trump will be impeached in the U.S. House only to be acquitted by a Republican-led Senate, it's impossible to know the lasting effects of this process on the American people.

Following the unveiling of the two articles of impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against the president, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress were quick to issue statements.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted, "Democrats never had a real case, and now it's collapsing entirely."

Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., wrote "No one is above the law."

Calvin University political science professor Doug Koopman said as impeachments happen more frequently, this being the third in 45 years, party lines become increasingly difficult to cross.

“Nixon, there was some bipartisanship," Koopman said. "Clinton, there was a little bit, but it was mostly partisan and this is almost purely the Democrats on one side and the Republicans against it.”

Koopman said the timing of the Democrats' investigation opened them up to more scrutiny than necessary.

“The legal arguments would imply this should last another year or two just to follow the trail and have all the court things resolved. Then you would have an election right in the middle of a congressional process," Koopman said. “There’s really no good argument. There’s really no compelling argument on either side, this is the way it should be done, the Democrats are doing it right or the Democrats are doing it wrong.”

Should the articles of impeachment be approved by the U.S. House, it will be the first time in American history that a president is charged with obstruction of Congress.

According to the articles of impeachment, "Donald J. Trump has directed the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its 'sole Power of Impeachment.'"

“You could argue the House Democrats made it difficult to cooperate because they clearly wanted to go, they had a timeline in mind, not a set of charges in mind," Koopman said.

Republicans have argued to let voters decide the fate of the presidency with the 2020 election, rather than proceeding with impeachment.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said doing that would be too costly.

"The argument 'Why don't you just wait?' amounts to this: 'Why don't you just let him cheat in one more election?" Schiff said. "'Why not let him cheat just one more time? Why not let him have foreign help just one more time?'"

As this may be the first time an impeached president runs for reelection, there's no precedent on which to predict how voters will react.

“Certainly the election does matter but it’s also, it’s very hard to predict how voters will think about the outcome of this," Koopman said. “It’s a gamble to say, ‘Wait for the election.’ It’s also a gamble to want to stretch it all the way through.”

The House Judiciary Committee, which has a Democratic majority, will vote this week on whether to proceed with the two articles of impeachment. The full U.S. House could vote on whether or not to impeach the president as early as next week.