Inquiry for a POTUS impeachment begins
Living through the Trump Administration has been exhausting, the past three years feeling like three decades. We have found ourselves wondering if each political scandal would be the scandal.
On Sept. 24, Speaker Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump. He is now the fourth President of the United States to face impeachment.
A few weeks ago, there were rumors of a whistleblower complaint in the intelligence community, which alleged that Donald Trump withheld foreign aid to Ukraine until they committed to investigating Hunter Biden, Former Vice President Biden’s son. These rumors, which took Washington by storm, were quickly proven to be true. On CNN, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, stated that the President asked Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Trump also confirmed this to be true when pressed by reporters on the White House lawn.
Corroborating evidence for these admissions came when the White House released a summary of the transcript of Trump’s call with President Zelensky of Ukraine. The summary alone is damning for Donald Trump. On it, when President Zelensky brings up U.S. military aid to Ukraine, Trump says, “I would like you to do us a favor though.” This is the very phrase that historians will mention when writing about Trump's impeachment process.
Two days after Speaker Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry, the House Intelligence Committee released the whistleblower complaint, which corroborated everything in the call transcript with Ukraine. The complaint confirmed that other people witnessed Trump’s mob-like behavior with Ukraine, which the Committee is continuing to investigate.
Though we have long known about Trump’s violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause and his obstruction of justice as relayed in the Mueller Report, this Ukraine whistleblower scandal has struck a chord with the American people. The President of the United States violated the Constitution by asking a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, threatening to withhold taxpayer-funded foreign aid. This behavior should not be normalized, and it seems that the House Democrats are finally prepared to uphold their Constitutional duty.
Throughout the many scandals of the Trump Presidency, Democrats, including Maxine Waters, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Al Green have repeatedly called for Trump’s impeachment. Nancy Pelosi has had a more methodological approach, preferring to work through the courts instead of impeachment procedures. It is important to realize that although Speaker Pelosi did not reach her decision to open an impeachment inquiry quickly or enthusiastically, she knew that it was the only way to protect what the Founding Fathers imagined for our country.
Conducting an impeachment inquiry on Donald Trump is risky, especially for the many moderate Democrats in the House that flipped red districts. Speaker Pelosi was slow to open impeachment into Trump because she wanted to protect these representatives, many of whom now support impeachment due to growing demands from their constituents, but with the Ukraine whistleblower scandal, it seems that there is a bigger political risk for the Republicans and some conservative Democrats who continue to stay silent on the matter. Public opinion polls from Morning Consult and Politico show that 51% of Americans support Trump’s impeachment, a number that has never been higher.
This scandal has Republicans sweating. Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader of the House, went on 60 Minutes to defend Trump and his administration. McCarthy’s interview with Scott Pelley was almost too brutal to watch. Republicans usually excel in conducting unified messaging strategies, but it is clear that they are not sure what to do in this given circumstance. They are terrified to speak out against Trump, for fear of not being reelected. Former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake said that he talked to his former colleagues and that if the impeachment vote in the Senate were anonymous, at least 30 Republicans would vote to convict Trump. This is the Republican Party’s last chance to choose between Trump and the Constitution of the United States.
So, how can Democrats win this political fight? They already are winning. They chose to open an impeachment inquiry to protect and defend our Constitution, and ensure that our elections are free and fair. Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader of the Senate, has vowed to stop impeachment from going to the Senate in his latest fundraising push, which is similar to how he has not taken up any of the legislation that the House passed in this new session of Congress.
In the 2020 election cycle, Democrats aim to flip several seats in the Senate. The last thing the Senate Republicans want to do is vote on impeachment. Senators like Susan Collins, Martha McSally, and Cory Garder are among the most vulnerable Republicans, and a vote against impeachment could cost them their re-election, given that their states have been trending blue in recent years.
Impeachment votes are not anonymous, and the Republican Party is now the Party of Trump, so it is unlikely that Congressional Republicans will risk their reelection on an impeachment vote. When an impeachment is brought to the floors of both chambers of Congress, many Republicans — and possibly some moderate Democrats — will vote against it. That “nay” vote will be a stain on their records. The history books will show that these are the individuals who chose power over protecting our constitution.
When announcing the impeachment inquiry, Speaker Pelosi quoted the Founders, saying, “the times have found us.” And, when these times are over, those members of Congress that voted against impeachment to protect their political futures will be remembered as cowards and traitors to the United States of America.