Is impeachment really the end for President Donald Trump?
Updated: Jan 7
The U.S. has had its fair share of impeachment cases, and now yet another president is on trial: President Donald Trump.
“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,” reads the U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 4.
Since the first impeachment hearing back in 1868 for former President Andrew Johnson, only former President Bill Clinton has been impeached by Congress. Meanwhile, no U.S. president has ever been removed from office through the impeachment process.
The process begins in the House of Representatives, where the Constitution gives the House the power to issue impeachment charges by its oversight and investigatory responsibilities.
However, the Senate is the sole court for the impeachment trial, and it has the final vote in the matter. To impeach a president, Senate members, including the chief justice of the United States, must reach a two-thirds vote.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry on President Trump on Sept. 24 for abuse of power. As of Dec. 10, House Democrats added another impeachment article for obstruction of Congress.
These accusations come after President Trump was accused of pressuring Ukrainian officials to dig-up damaging information on his Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden before the 2020 presidential election. The president is also accused of threatening to withhold $400 million of military aid that had already been allocated by Congress.
The allegations come from a formal complaint by an unnamed intelligence official, also known as a whistleblower, who wrote a letter expressing concern over President Trump’s phone call on July 25 between himself and the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. A rough transcript of the phone call is said to show President Trump urging Zelensky to investigate discredited allegations against Joe and Hunter Biden.
Democrats believe the president has used his power in office to achieve personal political gain and is a detriment to national security.
President Trump, however, insists there was no “quid pro quo” between him and President Zelensky.
“For anybody who's sort of paying attention to this, I think the most important thing is for Congress to not neglect its duty,” Cynthia Busch, current chair of Broward County’s Democratic Party, said.
Busch has served as chair since 2015, and she strongly believes in the impeachment cause.
“I think once the call transcripts came out, it became very clear that there was this very serious allegation that the whistleblower had merit and that the Constitution demands that Congress investigate,” Busch said. “Our Democratic caucus has an obligation to examine what happened and gather the facts and decide whether or not it’s impeachable. That is all we can really do at this point.”
Alex Morash, the statewide press secretary for the Florida Democratic Party, feels the evidence given in the public hearings is enough to impeach President Trump.
“There’s already been testimonies from 12 Trump administration officials, many who were already appointed to their positions by this president, and their testimony of pertinent knowledge of Trump's phone call has shown what’s been going on,” Morash said.
Bill Taylor, the former United States acting ambassador to Ukraine, gave a testimony telling investigators that President Trump made the release of military aid contingent upon Ukraine announcing those investigations.
“The White House is definitely engaging in acts that are impeachable, and I can’t speak for the House Democratic caucus, but the evidence is overwhelming,” Morash said.
Despite being a Republican, former Florida Congressman, Tom Rooney, hasn’t always agreed with the president’s actions in office. But Rooney feels that the evidence the Democrats show isn’t enough for impeachment.
“I certainly think that the president engaged in conduct that was unbecoming of the office,” Rooney said. “[But] removing the president from office who was elected, in my opinion, that carries a very, very heavy burden and one which should be absolutely clear to the public as to why we’re overturning your vote.”
Rooney is also a member of the intelligence committee for the impeachment hearings, and he’s witnessed the array of questions proposed from each side.
“The bottom line is that to remove a president and overturn an election, I think a violation of the law has to shock the consensus so clearly that Republicans, at least a few of them, in the Senate or in the House would come forward and say ‘Look, this is a violation of the law.’ I don’t think you’re going to have one Republican vote for impeachment,” Rooney said. “We might assume that two plus two equals four here, but when removing a president, you better be damn sure.”
Professor of Politics James Todd is a registered Republican. His opinions on the current impeachment trials are based on his exspansive historical knowledge.
“We have had members of Congress talking about impeachment long before we knew about any of this Ukraine scandal,” Todd said. “So I think once the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives after the 2018 midterm election; I think an impeachment hearing was a foregone conclusion.”
As of Friday, Dec. 13, the House Judiciary Committee has voted to impeach President Trump on the two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstructing Congress. However, whether or not he’ll actually be removed from office is the Senate’s final call.
Impeaching a President right before an election year is bound to cause a commotion, but will it be enough to change President Trump's standing?
“I think that if the economy is good, the president could be the first president to be impeached that’s going to win the election,” Rooney said. “Like my grandfather always said,
‘People vote with their pocketbooks.’”
By Morgan Therrien