Impeachment Possible

Hearings underway regarding Trump, Ukraine

Bella Herring, Writer

Since September, President Donald Trump has been under investigation by the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee for activities that could lead to his impeachment. 

The inquiry is to determine whether Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine in exchange for them investigating Hunter Biden, son of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, to increase his chance of being re-elected in the 2020 election. Trump has strongly denied the accusations. The first public hearings began Nov. 13 in the House of Representatives. 

Impeachment is the process by which the House of Representatives brings charges against a president or government official. Impeachment does not remove one from office. In order for a president to be removed definitively, the Senate has to convict and decide to remove them. According to the U.S. Constitution, a president “shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanours.” In Trump’s case, Democrats argue that bribery is the impeachable offense.

Although she does not like Trump as president, junior Lexie Ellis would rather let Trump finish his term than face impeachment and removal and have a year of Vice President Mike Pence as president in his place.

“Pence is much more effective than Trump is,” Ellis said. “Trump is a lot of talk, and Pence has actually gotten stuff done that I don’t think is beneficial for the country.” 

Many Republicans, including Trump himself, have claimed that the Democrats are falsely accusing Trump of crimes that he did not commit. Trump’s lawyers believe that the Democrats are pushing for Trump’s impeachment in order to remove him from office and increase their chances of winning the 2020 election. 

Ellis disagrees with these claims and believes that there is a valid reason behind the impeachment investigation.

“I think the impeachment is not just people trying to get rid of him,” Ellis said. “Whether anyone thinks he’s guilty or not, it’s up to Congress.”

While many Democrats support the investigation for whether or not Trump is guilty of impeachable offenses, many Republicans are choosing to stand by Trump and claim he is innocent. 

However, sophomore Paulmer Smith considers himself a “conservative nationalist” and believes that Trump should pay the consequences if proven guilty by the House investigation.

“I don’t completely support them hunting for Trump’s impeachment, but I believe that if he is found guilty of an impeachable offense, he should be punished,” Smith said.

In the first public impeachment hearing Nov. 13, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, William B. Taylor, Jr. stated to the House Intelligence Committee that Trump has been interested in the investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who had business dealings in Ukraine. Taylor’s testimony consisted of him restating previous claims and mentioning a phone call between the president and Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Following the conversation, Sondland claimed that “President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which [his lawyer, Rudy] Giuliani was pressing for.”

In senior State Department official George P. Kent’s opening statement, Kent claimed that Giuliani has been leading an effort to increase politically-motivated investigations of Trump’s political opponents.

Republicans on the House Intelligence committee attempted to discredit the witnesses, pointing out that none of them had a personal interaction with the president.

According to The New York Times, Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan attacked Taylor’s testimony that “military aid for Ukraine was withheld and conditioned on Ukraine launching the investigations that Mr. Trump wanted.” The aid was delivered in September following the White House learning  of a complaint “alleging that the freezing of the money had been part of a scheme by Mr. Trump to enlist Ukraine to help him in the 2020 election.”

Also stated in The New York Times, Republicans have declared the impeachment inquiry as a “sham court” and have consistently claimed that the accusations against Trump are not impeachable.

Junior Kamryn Ray, president of Young Republicans, believes that if the impeachment goes through, it will cause further conflict between Democrats and Republicans.

“If [Trump] were to be impeached [and removed], the Democrats would be making a mistake,” Ray said. “Most Republicans would vote for Pence, which would set him up for a term and possibly two.”

The House Intelligence Committee has laid out their argument for impeachment in a 300-page summary of their inquiry, which also claims that Trump has overstepped his authority in the Executive Branch during the proceedings.

“Even President Richard Nixon — who obstructed Congress by refusing to turn over key evidence — accepted the authority of Congress to conduct an impeachment inquiry and permitted his aides and advisors to produce documents and testify to Congressional committees,” the report states.

New York Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler gave the White House a deadline of Dec. 1 to decide whether or not they were going to appear at the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearing. Lawyers for Trump have announced in a 123-page rebuttal to the allegations that they will not be participating in the hearing, claiming that the process has been unfair and Trump is innocent.

The first public hearing on the impeachment took place Dec. 4, while Trump attended the NATO summit in London.


This copy originally appeared in the December 17, 2019 print edition.