McKenna on KIRO: Who can be impeached, and for what?

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KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob for an Impeachment 101 primer. Who can be impeached? What are the standards? Is the process as much political as it is judicial?

Dave Ross: “Slade Gorton, one of your predecessors as attorney general, was in the Senate at the time of the Clinton trial, and he pointed out that the standard there for deciding to convict was not merely whether the offense occurred, correct?”

Rob McKenna: “That’s correct. It’s also whether the offense was serious enough to warrant removal. And you only get to take one vote. Your vote is on whether you think the person is guilty and whether you believe the fact they’re guilty warrants their removal from office.

“With Senator Gorton, he believed that Clinton was guilty of perjury, yet also believed that it was not serious enough to remove him from office.

“So, it’s a high bar, and not only because of that double, two-step analysis, but because you need 2/3 of the U.S. Senate voting to convict in order to remove from office, whereas you need just a majority of the House of Representatives to adopt articles of impeachment, or the ‘indictment.’”