UVA’s Larry Sabato says future Congresses could make impeachment the rule, not the exception

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) — UVA Political Analyst Larry Sabato says the impeachment vote could change the way future congresses weaponize politics making impeachment more of the rule than the exception.

Out of 44 presidents in our nation’s history, only three have faced impeachment charges. President Richard Nixon resigned before Congress could impeach him or a trial could be held. Sabato says President Donald Trump’s impeachment process could change that.

"By and large, it's up to each House and each Senate to determine this. So if they have the political will to do it, they can find the justification assuming a president has done something that at least one party regards as being outrageous," Sabato says.

Impeachment could be far more common in the future, regardless of whether the votes are there to remove the president.

“You don’t need a reason under the Constitution, high crimes and misdemeanors are defined by, first the House of Representatives, and then by the United States Senate,” Sabato says.

He says the lesson could be a lot different if President Trump wins re-election in November, though, as Clinton won re-election after his impeachment and subsequent acquittal.

“Then, the lesson will be exactly the opposite. Don’t impeach because it will politically help the other side," he says.

Sabato also says the impeachment process has strengthened the president’s standing among Republicans.