Republicans in either the House of Representatives or the Senate are unlikely to break ranks and impeach President Donald Trump, according to a Tuesday analysis by statistics site 538.
Due to the impeachment process outlined in the US Constitution, Democrats would have to rely on a Republican buy-in to the argument that Trump needs to be impeached in order to make it happen. The analysis found that members of either party have a longstanding history of standing along party lines during previous impeachment proceedings.
The analysis of impeachment votes included three scandals, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and revealed that members of Congress rarely vote against their own president and that those that did were much more likely to be centrists than ideologues.
Only six Republicans voted to impeach Republican President Richard Nixon in the Judicial Committee after the so-called “Saturday night massacre” in which Nixon fired the special prosecutor charged with investigating the Watergate Hotel break-ins. All 21 Judicial committee Democrats voted in favor of the article of impeachment. When the articles of impeachment finally hit the full legislative body, only one Republican voted in favor of all three articles.
It was the Democrat’s turn to defend their president when Republicans formally began impeachment proceedings against Democratic President Bill Clinton.
The Republican-controlled Judicial Committee referred four articles of impeachment to the general body of the House of Representatives. Only two survived the House floor vote, and five Democrats voted in favor of the article that charged Clinton with perjury. Five Democrats voted in favor to charge Clinton with obstruction of justice. Two hundred Democrats voted against every article.
Although the third scandal never involved impeachment, the Iran-Contra scandal forced two investigative committees to draft a joint report, and only 3 Republicans signed the official statement. The remaining Republicans on both committees wrote a “minority report” that dissented from the findings of the joint report.
Democrats face overwhelming odds if they want to seriously try and impeach the president. The action would first have to go through the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee in order to start a “formal inquiry” into the charges. From there, the Judiciary Committee would have to vote on and create “articles of impeachment” that the full House of Representatives would then vote on. Each article requires only a majority of those present during the vote to pass.
Once the individual articles pass the House, they then head to the Senate, where an official trial would begin.
Despite the long shot, democrats continue to push for the president’s impeachment, citing his alleged ties to Russia, and his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey last week as proof that he’s hiding something.
“He has committed an impeachable act and must be charged. To do otherwise would cause some Americans to lose respect for, and obedience to, our societal norms,” Democratic Rep. Al Green said in a statement Monday.
Green served as ranking member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations during the 114th session of Congress before ceding his position to sit on the Committee on Financial Services starting January of 2017.
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