ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – With the nation’s attention tuned into the presidential impeachment hearings this week on Capitol Hill, we wanted to see how it’s playing out with students.
Many of them will be voting for the first time ever in 2020 and what happens in Washington could affect the vote.
Just two presidents in our nation’s history have been impeached, Andrew Johnson in the aftermath of the Civil War and Bill Clinton during his second term.
While impeachment is not unprecedented, it’s the first time in these students’ lifetimes that such hearings are even taking place. The process of impeachment is more complicated that many people might think.
“Impeachment does not mean removal. The impeachment process is simply charging the President with wrongdoing,” said RCTC history instructor Chad Israelson.
The House only needs a majority vote to impeach the President but for him to be removed from office, there must be a two-thirds vote in the Senate.
“Well that’s not going to happen unless there’s some amazing bombshells that come in because right now the Republicans control the Senate,” said Israelson.
If the President’s position is not under threat, are the impeachment hearings are worth the time it will take?
“I can definitely understand where it may be a waste of time because of the timing and how short it is til the next election but I do believe someone should be held accountable for their actions,” said RCTC student Chol Angok.
“If they find enough then yes, he should go ahead and be impeached,” said student Madalyn DeYoung. “It’s kind of a bad thing that the country has to listen to it every day. He is our President of the United States and you’re going to have to deal with it no matter what.”
While the impeachment hearings might not end up in President Trump’s removal, Israelson says it could hurt his re-election hopes.
“He did well among suburban women voters. Right now, what we’re seeing is a big chunk of them are peeling away,” Israelson said. “It may very well have been a mistake by Trump believing that there’s some sort of corruption here.”
He also says some of the presidential impeachment hearings we’ve already seen have taken surprising turns.
“Wait and see if there is that moment that takes everyone by surprise,” said Israelson. “There’s a whole lot to still play out.”
He believes that hearing will wrap up before Christmas and that the President’s tax returns could play a part.