Donald Trump has recently come under fire as the House of Representatives starts its formal impeachment proceedings against him.
To develop an informed opinion on the proceedings, it is important to know what impeachment really is and how it can affect everyone in the United States. Presidential Impeachment is basically charging the President with the commission of offenses that justify removing the President from office. Impeachment results in the trial of the President without a judge, a jury or a prosecutor, in the normal sense. Outlined in Article Two, Section Four of the Constitution, all civil officers of the United States, including the President and Vice President “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
The House of Representatives, the branch of Congress that begins the proceedings, has to accuse the President of one of the offenses previously stated. This is also the only branch that has the power to bring charges against - and impeach - the President. Impeachment does not strip the President of their title. If impeachment is successful, the President can resign, or the trial goes to the Senate which hears the case, the evidence, and the facts. Ultimately, if two-thirds of the Senate votes to convict, then the President is officially removed from office.
In her announcement of the Trump Impeachment Inquiry, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, “The action of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”
But just how has Donald Trump done this?
Of the most recent actions by the President involves Ukraine and his phone call with its leader, Volodymyr Zelensky. The President has been accused of threatening to hold back hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine that has already been approved by Congress if leaders there failed to investigate Joe Biden, his leading domestic political rival. By “investigating.” Trump allegedly solicited “dirt" against Joe Biden that would help him in the upcoming 2020 election. A result of this call, a whistleblower in the intelligence community spoke with White House sources about the call. In the complaint, the whistleblower alleged that Donald Trump used "the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the U.S. 2020 elections.”
If this proves to be true, this action by President Trump is an abuse of his power and extortion. This nation has been built on a system in which no single person or group can accumulate the kind of power that can resemble that of a dictatorship. Trump appears to be using the power of the presidency for his own political gain.
In response to the drama that has erupted, Donald Trump said, “virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening. Is anybody dumb enough to believe I would say something inappropriate on such a potentially heavily populated call?” He also claims he was really just asking help to uncover “corruption” that he believes started an inquiry about his campaign. He also alleged corruption in Joe Biden interfering with the prosecution of his own son who sat on a corporate board in Ukraine.
If Donald Trump has nothing to hide, why are he and his administration trying to block access to the whistleblower’s complaint against him? Also, why did they move information about the call to computer servers normally reserved for especially secret covert operations? Ironically, this situation occurred on Constitution Day. It reasonably appears that the Trump administration has done things they deem necessary to hide from Congress and the general public.
What is likely to happen from this?
It is likely this effort will pass in the House of Representatives and the President will be impeached. The House of Representatives only needs a majority vote in support of impeachment, and the Democrats regained control of the House after last November’s elections. It will be more difficult to pass this effort through the Senate. The Senate is majority Republican, so the Democrats would need 20 Republicans to side with them for the President to be removed from office. This is also only assuming that all Democrats and the two independent senators vote for the President’s removal from office. It will likely take even more revelations of misconduct for the Republican-led senate to support removal.