SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A University of Oregon law professor gave his analysis on the impeachment proceedings to the Springfield City Club on Thursday.
Professor Stuart Chinn teaches constitutional law at the university, and he has been closely following the proceedings and comparing them to the past. He said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to direct the House to move forward with articles of impeachment is justified, but the whole process is dividing the the country.
"It could end up being this pivotal moment where all of a sudden what we take to be acceptable behavior for the president changes in a fundamental way or it could be this moment where you know even if President Trump is acquitted in the Senate, it kind of becomes a foot note to history and the norms reassert themselves," Chinn said.
He said one of phrase in the Constitution lays out a good reason for impeachment, and that is "high crimes." Someone who holds an office of power is held to a higher standard than that of an average citizen. If a person in power uses his office to advance his own political gain, this is considered a "high crime."
Chinn said in President Donald Trump's case, he used the power of his office to pressure a foreign country to help him advance his own personal agenda.
Regardless of the outcome, Chinn said this moment in American history will define the future of the country. He also said if he is acquitted in the Senate, the 2020 election will consume the American public.
"You follow this presidency. It seems like something new happens every week, and so there is also this suspicion that by the time we get to the 2020 election, this can be a long afterthought," Chinn said.
House Democrats said there should be a vote on impeachment before Christmas. If there is a majority vote, a trial will follow in the Senate.