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Impeachment likely to end Wednesday, eyes now on Iowa

WASHINGTON - The impeachment process is all but over after the Senate's vote to decline additional witnesses sunk Democrats' attempt to remove Trump from office. Impeachment remains a hot topic in Iowa leading up to Monday’s caucus, but not regarding President Trump.

Friday was considered by many to be the most vital day of the impeachment trial. According to University of Memphis law professor Steve Mulroy, the lack of witnesses was unique to the investigative process.

"This was the first time there have been no witnesses [in an impeachment trial]," Mulroy said. "It made it harder for house managers to make their case and harder for the public to get the full story and make up their own minds."

John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney have publicly said there was a quid pro quo regarding Trump's decisions with Ukranian aid and the Biden investigation, according to Mulroy.

The articles of impeachment presented by the House state that President Trump committed "abuse of power." Trump's actions resemble more of a charge of bribery, though.

"They [Democrats in the House] probably didn't know that Bolton would come forward with quid pro quo testimony," Mulroy said. "They probably did not want to get caught up with the bribery statute. There is a heavy burden of proof with a quid pro quo."

The vote not to call additional witnesses, the vote that essentially ends the impeachment process and dismisses the charges brought forward, was won on party lines 51-49, as anticipated.

Two Republicans voted to call additional witnesses, Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Sarah Collins (R-Maine). Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander took to Twitter and explained the logic behind his vote against the procedure.

"There is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven," Alexander tweeted shortly after Friday's vote. " ...The Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year's ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate."

Alexander, along with other Republicans, acknowledged that the president did, in fact, withhold aid to Ukraine to obtain information about the Biden family's corrupt activities in the country. But according to Alexander, these actions are "inappropriate" not "impeachable."

Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was also an intriguing character during impeachment, as he brought forward a question censored by Chief Justice Roberts. Paul then released the information publicly on Twitter.

"My exact question was, 'Are you aware that House intelligence committee staffer Shawn Misko had a close relationship with Eric Ciaramella while at the National Security Council do you respond to reports that Ciaramella and Misko may have worked together to plot to impeach the president before there were formal house impeachment proceedings?'"

President Trump is expected to be acquitted Wednesday, and the impeachment will be old news. The Iowa caucus was Monday, however, where Senator Joni Ernst warned Biden that Republicans could immediately move to impeach him over his involvement in Ukraine if he wins the White House.

The Iowa caucus is a very important election process in the national spotlight. Unlike voting in a primary, the Iowa caucus uses the process of elimination to find out who gets the nomination.

"Everybody stands in a certain spot depending on who they support," Mulroy said. "Any candidate with 15% or more stays where they are. If any candidate gets less, they are eliminated."

Mulroy also said that if someone has their candidate of preference eliminated, they are welcome to choose a remaining candidate to support. This is all in efforts to obtain delegates, 49 of which are awarded by Iowa.

It is widely accepted that Donald Trump will win the Republican nomination, as he's accomplished an impressive 95% approval rating among Republicans and is riding the momentum of recent successes like the USMCA deal. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are the two favorites, according to The Wall Street Journal poll.

Even though the caucus takes place in Iowa, it is significant for Memphians and Tennessee residents not just for its political impact, but because the city has implemented similar election configurations.

"If you are in Memphis, it is important to remember the Iowa caucus," Mulroy said. "Anyone under threshold is eliminated, which is very similar to instant runoff voting that Memphians have voted into effect by referendum."

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