Further Understanding Impeachment

Megan Sigismonti, Staff Writer

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 The House of Representatives opened up an impeachment inquiry regarding President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, 2019. Allegedly Trump was requesting an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. President Trump believes the Democrats are attempting to overturn the results of the 2016 election and/or influence the 2020 election through impeachment. The case has exploded and The Matador is here to soften the blow.

On September 26, lawmakers released the whistleblower complaint to the public, and the Washington Post has provided the declassified information. “An anonymous intelligence official filed a complaint alleging that ‘multiple U.S. government officials’ had told him that Trump is ‘using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the U.S. election.’” This ‘interference’ specifically refers to Trump pressuring Zelensky into investigating the Bidens in return for military aid against Russian aggression at the Ukranian border.

There are nine basic steps of the impeachment process, provided by USA Today. First, the Speaker of the House declares an official impeachment inquiry. Second, the six House Committees, lead by the Intelligence Committee, investigate the inquiry. Third, the House votes on how the impeachment inquiry would be conducted. Fourth, the House Intelligence Committee and the Judiciary Committee hold public meetings and hearings. Fifth, the Judiciary Committee debates the articles of impeachment and votes upon whether or not to send them to the House. Sixth, the House votes to impeach or not. Seventh, if the House agrees to impeach then the Senate decides how the trial would be conducted. Eighth, the trial is held with the Senate acting as a jury. And ninth, the Senate renders a verdict, which requires a two-thirds majority.

The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has made the announcement of an official impeachment inquiry. Investigations began in the six committees: Intelligence, Judiciary, Oversight and Reform, Ways and Means, Foreign Affairs, and Financial Services. On October 31, the full House approved how the impeachment inquiry will transpire, producing House Resolution 660 which tallied a vote of 232 to 196. The House began to hold public hearings in November.

Pelosi argued, “No one is above the law,” and asked the House to proceed with the articles of impeachment against Trump. Ideally in the Democrats’ eyes, Trump would be impeached by Christmas.

The House of Representatives Report on the Impeachment Inquiry began with the statement, “Today, we may be witnessing a collision between the power of a remedy meant to curb presidential misconduct and the power of offaction determined to defend against the use of that remedy on a president of the same party.”

The United States has maintained a bipartisan policy with Ukraine since 2014 concerning security assistance. This assistance benefits both the U.S. and europe by ensuring that Ukraine is equipped to defend against Russia. In 2019, President Trump froze military aid despite Congress’ authorization for $391 million in relief to Ukraine. The Russian-led armed conflict still persists. In the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, 13,000 people have been killed and 1.4 million have been displaced.

According to the section labeled “Key Findings of Fact,” Trump exercised his authority over the Executive Branch to apply increasing pressure on the Ukranian government. “President Trump conditioned the release of vital military assistance he had suspended to Ukraine on the President of Ukraine’s public announcements of the investigation that Trump sought.” The inquiry further claims that certain White House and Executive Branch officials had knowledge of and even facilitated the President’s actions.

President Trump was able to hide information through his White House and Executive Branch officials from Congress and the rest of the country by implementing “a campaign to conceal his conduct from the public and obstruct the House of Reprsentative’s impeachment inquiry.” The House argued that Trump undermined anti-corruption reform policy, the rule of law in Ukraine, and U.S. national security.

Trump refused to provide the House Committees the necessary information and records. In defiance of a lawful subpoena, Trump directed the Executive Branch to retain all documents and records. The House claims that Trump was “intimidating, threatening, and tampering with prospective and actual witnesses in the impeachment inquiry in an effort to prevent, delay, or influence the testimony.”

Past presidents who have been impeached (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton) have handled the impeachment inquiry quite differently. According to the House, Johnson and Clinton both “acknowledged Congress’ authority to investigate, and complied (to varying degrees) with information requests and subpoenas.” In fact, Donald Trump is technically the first president in American history to challenge the constitutional impeachment process. The House argues they are handling the procedure in relatively the same way Republicans have when they were in control of the House.

The following responses to the impeachment matter provided by Fox News are across the board. President Trump accused Democrats of downplaying the weight of the impeachment process and believes it should only be utilized in an emergency. “It’s a scam. It’s something that should not be allowed,” was Trump’s response to the Judiciary Committee approving two articles of impeachment against him.

Democratic Chairman Jim McGovern stated, “The President withheld congressionally approved military aid to a country under siege to extract a personal political favor. He did not do this as a matter of U.S. policy, he did this for his own benefit. That is wrong and if that is not impeachable conduct, then I don’t know what is.”

Republican Representative Doug Collins claimed, “The only thing that is a clear and present danger right now in this room is the pattern of attacks and abuse of rules and decisions to get at this president that started over three years ago the night he was elected.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says they have “no choice but to impeach.” The House approved the guidelines for the impeachment debate with a vote that totaled 228 to 197.

On a bitterly cold December day, hundreds of people protested outside of the Capitol in favor of impeachment and removing Trump from office.

The House of Representatives voted on December 18 to impeach President Trump on both articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, with votes tallying 230 to 197 and 229 to 198, respectively.

In a tweet, Trump stated, “Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing. Read the Transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER! [Sic]”

According to NBC News, Republican Representative Mike Kelly reacted with the statement, “On December 7, 1941, a horrific act happened in the U.S., like Pearl Harbor, ‘a date that will live in infamy.’” Likewise, Republican Representative Louie Gohmert said, “This is a travesty, and we’re in big trouble, and this country’s end is now in sight. I hope I don’t live to see it. This is an outrage.” However, Democratic Representative John Lewis viewed the impeachment as a “moral obligation.”

Now the trial moves on to the Senate. As claimed by CNN, Pelosi is trying to force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell into allowing witnesses to be called in the Senate trial. McConnell responded with “there will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure, we will not cede our authority… the House Democrats’ turn is over.” McConell was able to secure a majority of the Senate to approve the trial to begin without any decision on witnesses.

According to CNN, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says Pelosi withheld the articles of impeachment to further understand the arena in which she’s working. When asked if there was another reason, Schumer sidestepped the question and said, “it’s her decision and her strategy worked.”

McConnell only needs 51 senators and a few swing senators to keep Trump in office. It has been confirmed that Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Mitt Romney are the said swing senators.

Pelosi has yet to introduce the articles of impeachment to the Senate, so until then a trial cannot materialize.

On January 15, in an article by Fox News, Pelosi announced the seven lawmakers who will act as impeachment managers to prosecute the case against Trump in his Senate trial. Representatives Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, Jason Crow, and Silvia Garcia were selected.

The impeachment case is far from over with the Senate trial and verdict on stand by. The future of Trump’s presidency still remains a mystery. Maybe the explosive case will be officially finished by our third edition.