Impeachment trial could conflict with candidates’ campaign plans


Courtesy of Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. 

Anna Olson

With the Democratic presidential primaries and the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump ongoing simultaneously, a potential timetable conflict is being set up.

The steps of this impeachment inquiry include hearings in several committees in the House of Representatives, and the House committees will then evaluate if there is enough sufficient evidence to proceed with the process of impeachment.

Following that, the full House of Representatives would vote on the president’s impeachment.

Being impeached by the House of Representatives doesn’t mean a removal of the president from office, but it means the U.S. Senate would hold a trial of the president.

Time commitment in a trial could potentially be lengthy. Then-President Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial ran from Jan. 7 to Feb. 12.

Many of the current Democratic presidential candidates are U.S. senators who would therefore make the decision on whether the president is guilty. Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren all hold Senate seats. These candidates could potentially have to hit pause on their campaigns if an impeachment trial takes place in the Senate.

Sharon Yang, Iowa press secretary for Kamala Harris, said Harris will be at a potential impeachment trial.

“Senator Harris will absolutely fulfill her constitutional responsibility to be present during impeachment hearings and serve as a key voice holding the Trump Administration accountable on behalf of Californians and the American people,” Yang said. “In the meantime, she will continue to be all-in on Iowa and continue discussing her record of fighting for justice for all Americans and her plans as President to fight for economic justice, environmental justice and health care justice, among others.”

A Warren spokesman referred the Daily to previous comments the senator made on a possible impeachment trial.

Speaking with reporters on Nov. 1, Elizabeth Warren said “I’ll be there” of a potential impeachment trial.

“This is a constitutional responsibility,” Warren said. “I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, and so did everyone who is in the United States Congress.”

The Booker campaign said in a statement that as a senator and member of the judiciary committee, Booker would be a “juror as the Senate deliberates” whether to convict the president on the articles of impeachment. The campaign added “most of the specifics” would have to be worked out once impeachment charges were finalized by the House.

“Cory Booker will uphold his duty to the Constitution, regardless of any political campaign,” the Booker campaign said in the statement. “Cory will continue to compete for the Iowa caucuses, but the proceedings in the Senate will take first priority. Much of the specifics around the campaign will be determined by the process set forward by the Senate.”

The Booker campaign said in the statement holding an impeachment trial in the month before the Iowa caucuses is “completely unprecedented” and every campaign would be “breaking new ground” as they “traverse this difficult time in our country.”

“We will continue to uphold Cory Booker’s values and run a campaign that does right by the American people,” the Booker campaign said in the statement.

Spokespersons for the other senators in the presidential race did not respond to emails requesting information on how the candidates that hold Senate seats will be affected if the impeachment proceeds further.

For the president to be found guilty in an impeachment trial, two-thirds of the body most vote guilty. Given current partisan standings in the Senate, that would require all of the Democratic senators to vote guilty in addition to at least 20 of the 53 Republican senators.