Impeachment expert weighs in on proceedings

What do the next steps in an impeachment look like?

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - President Donald Trump became the first president in history to be impeached twice. Critics have questioned why with just a few days left in his presidency, and others are looking forward to a Senate trial.

Our crews spoke to North Alabamians about the proceedings. For some people in the Valley, impeachment is not at the top of their mind, and others say they don’t see the point.

”I don’t know why they are trying to impeach a president now, I mean a new one is just coming in,” one resident said.

“I haven’t really been following a whole lot,” another said.

Professor and impeachment expert Dr. Buckner Melton Jr. said not many people realize that an impeachment doesn’t necessarily mean a person is removed from office. He said an impeachment is simply an indictment, or an official charge or accusation of a wrongdoing.

The charge in President Donald Trump’s case was incitement of insurrection.

“After which there has to be a trial and a conviction,” Dr. Melton Jr. said. " In our system, the House of Representatives does the impeaching or accusing by a simple majority vote which is what the house did to President Trump for a second time yesterday.”

The next step is the Senate.

“Members of the House of Representatives will be the prosecutors for that trial and they will be called managers,” he said. “They will prosecute these charges before the court with the court being the senate. The senators will collectively serve as judge and jurors.”

From there, voting will take place.

“If the senate votes by a two thirds supers majority vote to convict at that point he is removed from office if still in office. Obviously, Trump will be gone by then.”

Dr. Melton Jr. said the reason lawmakers are working to impeach with just a few days left in President Donald Trump’s term is a chess move of sorts.

“If he is convicted then the senate has the option to hold an additional vote that would be a simple majority vote to disqualify him from ever holding office ever again,” Dr. Melton Jr. said.

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