AUSTIN (KXAN) — Most Texas lawmakers reacted to the U.S. House inquiry to impeach President Donald Trump just as you’d expect.
Democrats support impeachment, Republicans are against it.
Many people think this process will be the first, last, and only thing, Washington looks at in the days ahead.
President Donald Trump gets an entire row at Pinata Party Palace in East Austin.
“He’s the only President that actually made me money,” said Jorge Salazar, owner of the Pinata Party Palace. Salazar personally leans Republican but ever since a distraught customer made a custom request in early 2016 Trump pinatas have just been too good a product to ignore in this liberal area.
“If it’s the safest way for you to have fun and take out your aggression that’s great, go for it. Buy another pinata,” said Salazar.
He says the more the President is in the news, the more he sells.
No matter what the country’s representatives are trying to do, impeachment will be the dominant show in D.C.
“They have chosen a partisan political path which will absolutely suck all the oxygen out of Washington. It will be an obsession in the media and the American media until it is concluded,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Cornyn thinks it’s a fool’s errand, Democrats trying to redo the 2016 election.
Some like Austin Congressman Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, says they should have done this a long time ago.
“The President has been empowered not only by Republicans sitting on their hands but when Democrats have not been forceful enough when responding to his lawlessness,” said Rep. Doggett.
Salazar — for his part — just ordered more Trump’s last night banking on booming business.
“Especially with the impeachment and the next President cycle coming up. So I expect him to keep selling,” said Salazar.
Some of your local representatives have been mum on this issue. KXAN has reached out to all of them. We have not heard back from Williamson County Congressman John Carter. Congressman Chip Roy’s, R-Austin, office told us he was not available but will speak with us later this week.
How the process works
President Trump could be impeached after his phone call with the Ukrainian President. He’s accused of holding back aid to the country in exchange for an investigation into the family of his political rival.
The stakes are whether to remove the President from office — and the Mueller report reinforced the stance of the Justice Department that a sitting president cannot be indicted for a crime.
There are many details still to find out but it’s important to know that impeachment is a political process, not a criminal one.
Impeaching a President is very, very hard to do. No President has ever been removed from office by this process impeachment.
First, a member of the House of Representatives must bring an impeachment resolution before the House. Then, the House judiciary committee must approve the idea by a majority vote. Then, a majority of the entire House of Representatives must approve it, getting 218 votes or more out of 435.
Think of impeachment like charges someone with a crime: for bribery, treason, or a vague — often argued over phrase — high crimes and misdemeanors.
If the House charges the President, the Senate is the jury. Two-thirds of the Senate must convict the President for him to be removed. We’ve come close but this has never happened.
In 1868, Democrat President Andrew Johnson fired his secretary of War. That was the last straw between him and the Republicans who wanted to control Reconstruction after the Civil War. They thought he was too sympathetic to the former Confederate states and wanted him out. But Johnson survived by one vote.
Then, Democratic President Bill Clinton was impeached. Not for his affair with the intern Monica Lewinsky, but for perjury and obstruction of justice, trying to cover it up. He was impeached by the House but not convicted by the Senate. He actually became more popular as Republicans tried to oust him. So much so that Newt Gingrich, Republican House Speaker, ended up resigning and Clinton finished out eight years as President.
But what about Nixon you say?
He was not impeached.
After the Watergate break-in, leaders in the House and Senate said they had the votes and began the process but Nixon resigned before they could finish.
So what about now?
Despite low approval ratings, in a Quinnipiac poll hot of the press this week, only 37 percent of Americans want Trump impeached. Fifty-seven percent do not.
Right now, Republicans control the Senate, so a two-thirds vote is not likely unless Republicans turn on their President.
Both sides can take this issue into the 2020 election with the wedge issue of all wedge issues: do you support the President or should he be thrown out?