Here’s the impeachment process in Missouri and what it could mean for Gov. Greitens

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The impeachment process in Missouri is a bit complicated, especially since a Missouri governor has never been impeached.

The Missouri Legislature has called a special session to discuss impeachment, set to begin Friday. It's the first time in state history that has happened.

“I would be surprised if he wasn't impeached,” UMKC political science professor Greg Vonnahme said.

It took a 3/4-vote to call the special session.

“It is an indication that the House of Representatives is taking these allegations very seriously," Vonnahme said.

In every other state and the federal government, someone who is impeached, like former President Bill Clinton, remains in office until and unless he is kicked out by the Senate -- but not in Missouri. If Greitens is impeached, it will affect his job.

For Greitens to permanently lose his job, there would be a two-step process.

The first step is for the House to issue Articles of Impeachment. Unlike a normal piece of legislation that has a clear path through the House, the Missouri Constitution only says the House is responsible for deciding impeachment but not how to do it.

“A Missouri governor has not been impeached in anyone`s lifetime, so this is setting a precedent,” Vonnahme said. “This is setting a new process.”

If impeached by the House, the Senate would then appoint a seven-judge panel to preside over an impeachment trial.

The seven Missouri Circuit Court judges will preside over a trial where someone representing the House will act as the prosecutor and Greitens attorneys will mount a defense. It will be up to them to decide if Greitens' conduct concerning the affair and allegations of tampering rise to the level of impeachable offenses.

If it comes to a trial, there would be a lot of tricky parts of that process, including what qualifies as misconduct. There is no definition in the state constitution, so it would be up to the panel of judges to decide what it means. They would consider it carefully because whatever they decided would set precedent for future cases in the state.

If Greitens is acquitted, he would resume the duties of the governor of Missouri.

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