How the impeachment hearings are different from a criminal trial

US Politics

The U.S. Capitol is seen as the House is set to begin public impeachment inquiry hearings as lawmakers debate whether to remove President Donald Trump from office, in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. At left is the Peace Monument. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Much of the talk surrounding impeachment is in the framework of a criminal trial, however, it is a completely different process. KXAN spoke with constitutional law professor H.W. Perry to break down how that process works and when the president will mount his defense.

Does a president have to commit a crime to be impeached?

PERRY:  The answer to that is no. The founders were worried about, of course, the commission of a crime like treason or like bribery, but the high crimes and misdemeanors was thrown in to be a cover for, in some ways, dereliction of duty.

Is it out of the ordinary for the president to not be able to face his accusers?

PERRY: Everything’s sort of out of the ordinary because we’ve had so few impeachments of presidents. In terms of the impeachment process, it’s, no it’s not because this is not about the guarantees of the right to confront your accuser Now, that will happen because the Republicans in the House will be cross-examining the people who are accusing him.

Right now, the impeachment is in the hearing phase in the House. Perry told KXAN that the “trial” phase of the impeachment process will begin in the Senate if the House passes a vote to impeach the president.

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