A divided House of Representatives voted last Thursday, Oct. 31 to move ahead with the impeachment of President Donald Trump, the vote’s resolution coming to 232 for and 196 against. This, while a top Trump National Security Official, Tim Morrison, in a closed-door deposition, backed up claims that, in a phone call Trump made to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump withheld $400 million in military aid to Ukraine.
The supposed bargain put forth by Trump was for Zelensky to investigate political rival Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, who worked at Ukranian gas company Burisma. The theory goes, at least in Trump’s eyes, that Biden strong armed the Ukrainian government into firing top Ukranian advisor Viktor Shokin because he was investigating Burisma, but Shokin was actually fired after Shokin refused to investigate the company after an inquiry led by the British.
Though, according to Rudy Guliani, Trump’s attorney, Shokin told Guliani in a private interview that he was fired for investigating Burisma, despite several sources saying much to the contrary, and that instead the Burisma investigation had been dormant for some time.
It’s worth noting that Ukranian citizens have been pushing for Shokin’s firing for some time before his eventual release, this according to Daria Kaleniuk, co-founder and executive director of the Anti Corruption Action Centre in Kiev, in an article written by USA Today earlier this month.
All of this adds up to a large, complex plot that must be untangled before a divided and divisive nation of onlookers who look toward the 2020 election.
- Sinclair Establishes Logan Turner Scholarship
- Divisive Holidays that Share the Same Day and their History
At this point we have entered the beginning of the impeachment process. As per the U.S. Constitution in Article II, Section 3: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
As this is the written law for requirement of impeachment, ambiguity included, this is obviously up for interpretation.
As the process moves forward, articles of impeachment are drawn up, which are a series of offenses to be leveled at the president. In other words, a committee writes a series of crimes they believe the president has committed.
“Eight federal judges have been impeached and had the political trial in the Senate and been removed,” said Political Science Professor Kathleen Sooy of Sinclair.
“The only ones of the whole group of impeachable officials, no president, no vice president, just federal judges,” added fellow Political Science Professor Jennifer Sooy of Sinclair.
Only two prior presidents have had impeachment proceedings; Andrew Johnson, who was later acquitted of breaking the Law of Tenure Act, and Bill Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice, but he too was later acquitted. Former President Richard Nixon was nearly impeached but resigned from office before the proceedings were to take place.
“The problem is we have to figure out if it’s a quid pro quo if the person didn’t even know that the money was going to be withheld,” said Jennifer Sooy, citing the phone call and whether or not what the president did can be seen as a form of bribery, or one of the impeachable crimes laid out in the constitution.
“The thing is, you have to have the broader context…” said Kathleen Sooy. “You see the phone call compiled by those five national security people. You have to look at the intent.”
The reaction from House Republicans and from several other Republicans has been less than warm.
Trump himself has responded to the House’s vote with a barrage of tweets.
“READ THE TRANSCRIPT” said the president in one. In another he said “The Impeachment Hoax is hurting our Stock Market. The Do Nothing Democrats don’t care!” and added again that it was the “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!” something that he has often referred to throughout the entire investigation process.
“There is nothing in that phone call that is wrong or impeachable,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California.
“37 DAYS OF SOVIET-STYLE IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS,” read a sign held by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise Rep. from Louisiana. This despite the fact that the aid that was withheld from Ukraine was aimed at stopping Russian aggression.
Of the 435 voting representatives in the House of Representatives, two Democrats voted against the impeachment process moving forward.
“Every member should support the American people hearing the facts for themselves,” said Nancy Pelosi in a floor speech. “That is what this vote is about. It’s about the truth. And what is at stake in all of this is nothing less than our democracy.”