Analysts talk impeachment inquiry & what's next
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Top Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry said Wednesday they hope to wrap things up by the end of the year.
“We're not fooling around here though,” said U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “We don't want this to drag on months and months and months which appears to be the administration's strategy.”
To get a better idea of what happens between now and then and what everything means, Erie News Now Washington Correspondent Matt Knoedler sat down this week with Paul Schiff Berman, a law professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
From subpoenaing Trump administration officials to documents related to that phone call with the Ukrainian president, Berman says we expect similar actions in the weeks and months ahead.
But what if those officials don’t show up or turn over those files?
“(Lawmakers) could also see the refusal to testify as itself part of the coverup that could be grounds for impeachment,” Berman said.
Berman believes that could force Democrats to draft Articles of Impeachment sooner rather than later. Those Articles are a formal statement by House members making the case to the Senate that President Trump committed what is defined in the Constitution as “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
“It could be one, it could be multiple articles that would say here are the reasons why the President is deserving of being removed from office,” Berman said of the Articles.
From there, Berman expects the Republican-led Senate to weigh both the evidence and the political cost. Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict a president, what is currently a tough number to hit given the political divide.
If there is no conviction, practically speaking, nothing happens, according to Berman.
“I think the real question is the degree to which the evidence that comes out really is convincing to the American people that a gross abuse of power has taken place,” he said.
That is part of the political calculation both sides are weighing, Berman said, with the presidential primaries just three months away.