Trump’s impeachment

David Balemala

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Donald Trump has done many controversial things before and even during his presidency, and recently the word “impeachment” has been brought up due to Trump’s relationship with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

In July, Trump asked Zelenskiy to investigate potential rival, Joe Biden, as well as his son Hunter Biden. Trump also requested an investigation on a Fox News space conspiracy. Trump framed his requests as a “favor” after saying that the United States has a good relationship with Ukraine. However, he failed to mention the fact that he suspended hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid for Ukraine to defend itself against Russia.

Democrats have gained access to texts between US envoys in Ukraine saying that diplomats are only allowing Zelenskiy into the White House for a meeting with Trump if he publicly vows to investigate Hunter Biden. Trump is not denying his conduct but is instead trying to undermine his accusers.

A lawyer representing the original intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint launched the impeachment inquiry said Sunday that a second whistleblower has come forward and spoken to the intelligence community’s internal watchdog, further complicating the president’s case.

Attorney Mark Zaid said the second person has information that corroborates the original whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and has “firsthand knowledge” of key events. That threatens to undermine arguments made by Trump and his allies that the original complaint was politically-motivated and unreliable because it was based on secondhand or third-hand information.

When asked about the prospect Wednesday, Trump offered an inaccurate, though conciliatory response, telling reporters, “I always cooperate.” A day later, however, Trump had a different answer for the same question, saying he would instead leave the matter to his lawyers.

By Friday, he had changed his tune again, confirming reports the White House was preparing a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, arguing that Congress cannot undertake an impeachment investigation without having a formal vote to authorize it. Pelosi has resisted taking that step, insisting the House is well within its rights to conduct oversight of the executive branch under the Constitution.

If the House does vote to approve charges against Trump, it would then be up to the Republican-led Senate to decide whether to dismiss the charges or hold a trial. Some Senate Republicans have expressed concerns about Trump’s interactions with Ukraine, but there are few signs there would be enough discontent to convict.

If Trump were impeached, it would take a two-thirds vote in the Senate to convict him and remove him from office. That has never happened. Only two presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998; both won acquittal in the Senate.