(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Democrats in Washington are calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment after a whistleblower’s complaint that Trump pressured the president of the Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential rival in the 2020 election.
Considering this is such a rare occurrence the Palmetto Report explored the topic of impeachment with Dr. John Holder, an adjunct professor of political science at Winthrop University who is teaching a class this semester on the presidency.
Holder spent 10 years in Washington working for three members of the South Carolina congressional delegation and he is the former secretary of the York County Democratic Party.
Only two American presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, have been impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, but both were acquitted in the Senate, which requires a two-thirds vote for removal from office.
Richard Nixon resigned before a vote on impeachment was taken, thus, no president has been removed from office by impeachment.
“There was never a two-thirds majority (in the Senate) to impeach Clinton (and remove him from office). Andrew Johnson was saved by one vote. That is the closest it has ever come,” said Holder.
“It’s always political and an impeachable offense is whatever congress decides it is. The Constitution says bribery, treason or other high crimes and misdemeanors. Other high crimes and misdemeanors, however Congress defines it,” he said.
“The allegation about pressuring the president of Ukraine is the clearest indication so far that there may have been an impeachable offense committed.
“As a political scientist, I’m concerned by (the allegations against the president). The reason that there is an inquiry is to gather the information: What happened? We haven’t really established what happened yet. We haven’t established if it’s illegal yet. That is what the investigation is supposed to put together before they ever take any formal steps to impeach, so it will come out in the investigation, whether what he did was illegal.”
Holder said, ultimately, he doesn’t think Trump will be removed from office.
“Unless there is clear, convincing, smoking gun evidence, which there isn’t now, there won’t be 67 votes to remove him in the Senate,” he said. “It is possible the House of Representatives will vote to impeach him, but unless things change dramatically, he won’t be removed.”
However, he said it’s still uncertain if the House would actually vote to impeach the president.
“I would say it’s better than even (odds), but it’s not a guarantee,” said Holder.