EAST LANSING, Mich. - Can a former president be convicted after he was already impeached while in office?
A Senate vote two days ago affirmed yes after 56 members of the body approved the measure. However, the former president's lawyers still plan to present the case that the role of impeachment remains constitutional only as long as the figure is in office.
A Michigan State University law professor has become one of the country's top experts on impeachment. House Managers would know after both prosecutors and defense attorneys cited his research in their opening arguments.
"Well they voted yesterday that it is consistent with an earlier case where they had a similar issue, they voted on it, they said they had jurisdiction and the trial will go forward," said Brian Kalt.
Much of the ambiguity surrounding this uniquely American process is due to it being a political trial, not a criminal trial.
"Well, it's not a criminal trial, there's a lot of constitutional protections that apply to a criminal trial because the consequences are so different," Kalt said. "This is just about very limited possible consequences."
Trump's attorneys cited Kalt's work when they argued the Senate could not remove a former president. But in the professor's eyes, that's not right.
"The framers knew that the House and the Senate are full of politicians and so it's always been about the political side of making these judgments about public misconduct."
And a more unnerving thought from the professor is the belief that political impeachments could become more popular in the future.
"It is a concern that in the last four presidents, we've seen three impeachments," Kalt said. "On the other hand, we haven't seen any convictions."