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UW-Eau Claire students weigh in on impeachment process

U.S. President Donald J. Trump, Photo Date: 5/17/2019 / Source: Brian Copeland / CC BY 2.0 via MGN
U.S. President Donald J. Trump, Photo Date: 5/17/2019 / Source: Brian Copeland / CC BY 2.0 via MGN
Published: Dec. 19, 2019 at 6:55 PM CST
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President Trump is the third president in U.S. history to be impeached by the House of Representatives but the process is confusing for some students at UW-Eau Claire.

“I don’t know where they go from here,” says Kyle Daoust, a student at UW-Eau Claire.

The House of Representatives impeached President Trump for two articles of impeachment: obstruction of congress and abuse of power.

“The reasons for why the house decided to impeach him are certainly confusing,” says Alex Johnson, a student at UW-Eau Claire.

Kimberly Zagorski, a professor of political science at UW-Stout explains the house vote as the halfway point in the impeachment process.

“Not only is the House of Representatives saying [President Trump] has participated in inappropriate behavior but it is such to the level that he should potentially be removed from office,” Zagorski says. “The house is seen as gathering all the evidence and laying down the charges and the senate is taking on the role of the court to determine whether the president needs to be removed from office.”

“I think a lot of people have a misconception of what impeachment is,” says Gabrielle Andersen, a student at UW-Eau Claire. “I think a lot of people think now he is not going to be in office but that’s not what impeachment means.”

Once House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hands over the articles of impeachment to the senate, there will be a trial to decide whether President Trump is removed from office. Professor Zagorski says there is very little chance of that actually happening as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be in control of how the trial runs.

“It is political because it is not in the judicial system,” Zagorski says.

However what happens on Capitol Hill could have an impact on what happens at the ballot box in 2020.

“There is a very real chance that this will be one of the driving forces for not only the Democratic primaries but the general election itself,” Zagorski says.

Zagorski says for people who have not been keeping up with impeachment, now is the time to get informed.

“The reason it has only been used four times in our country's history is because it was designed for behavior deemed so unacceptable it is disrupting normal electoral institutional order,” Zagorski says.

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