How likely is the impeachment of President Donald Trump?

Everything that you need to know regarding the impeachment inquiry

Impeachment (“the process of bringing charges of wrongdoing,” stated by NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams) of any high ranking official has always remained to be difficult dating back to when the Constitution was first created and ratified. 

Now, as of Oct. 31, the full House via partisan lines has officially voted to go on with the Impeachment Inquiry (231 Democrats to 194 Republicans and two Democrats) that was announced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi almost a month earlier, on Sept. 24. The current accusation against our president, which resulted in the announcement, is that he was accused of doing deals that involved the Ukraine phone call scandal. 

The Democrats believe that President Trump used Vice President Mike Pence to tell Ukrainian officials about the withholding of military aid ($400 million), and later in a call asked them to do several favors, in which were favors of continuing the investigation into the Bidens (really the company Hunter Biden had a connection to) and to start an investigation into Crowdstrike (a possible connection with the 2016 Clinton Scandal) for his own personal gain. 

The Democrats also are accusing Trump of abuse of power to solicit interference from pressuring a foreign country to help him with his reelection to investigate a political rival. 

After the investigation began, the House Democrats first uncovered information from the five-page “transcript” (notes taken by White House notetakers) of the phone call in question that was released to the public on Sept. 25. The thirty-minute call started as a normal congratulatory call before going into what we know as his personal agenda. This portion started in the middle of the second page while they were comparing the United States and the European Union on how much Ukraine was receiving aid for their defense. 

After it resulted in the country asking for help, the president responded with “I would like to do us a favor though,” Democrats noticed a potential quid pro quo, which is a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something based on the dictionary definition. Later on in the call, he did mention potential witnesses such as the Attorney General, the former ambassador to Ukraine and of course the Bidens. 

A day later, on Sept. 26, the White House released the Whistleblower complaint after the Democrats demanded it. Coming on the same day the first witness was set to testify, it was revealed that it was received as second/third-hand information. 

Additionally, it was discovered what Trump was being investigated for, as well as why the Whistleblower became concerned and that White House lawyers directed the officials to “lock down” any record of the call and place it into a separate system used for holding on sensitive classified information. As a result of the complaint, the House Democrats found more potential witnesses for the investigation. 

In the days after the complaint leading up to the House vote, the ongoing investigation progressed and certain factors became big. The first was the subpoenas to key officials such as the Secretary of State, the president’s lawyer and many White House officials. 

The second was when the second Whistleblower came out with first-hand information and the admittance of a quid pro quo by the White House. Finally, third factor was the storm of Republicans trying to stop a key witness of testifying and a judge deeming the investigation as legal. 

The reason why the vote that was made on Oct. 31 was important is that it now allows the public to see the potential key hearings on national television, and it allows the White House as well as the Republicans to play along with questioning witnesses. 

The next steps of the impeachment process are understandable when looking in the first Article of the Constitution and in its historical context. In the past, there have been three times that the House voted to move into inquiry. 

Those presidents were Andrew Johnson in 1868, Richard Nixon in 1974 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Now that step has been completed, the full House will continue to investigate the matter by calling more witnesses to testify and by issuing more subpoenas if needed. 

When the investigation has concluded it then goes to the Judiciary Committee to see what would go in the Articles of Impeachment. It then goes to the full House to be voted on again before moving to the Senate for trial. They only need a simple majority in order to approve, which is 218 out of 435 members saying yay. 

When it gets to the trial, it is held in the Senate in which is presided by the Chief Justice and the senators act as the jury while the House makes their case. The Senate only needs two-thirds, about 67 votes which would be at least 20 Republicans and all of the Democrats, to convict and remove the sitting president. (This will most likely not happened in this present moment). 

If this happens before the 2020 election, it will definitely have some sort of impact on the election itself, similar to the 2000 election year. 

As the process of impeachment goes further, remember that “Impeachment is just a political process, not a legal process,” as Pete Williams stated, and that “an impeachable offense, high crime and/or misdemeanor is whatever the House says it is,” based on what President Gerald Ford famously said.

~Josh Grimes, Staff Writer~

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