The ultimate check on the chief executive is the congressional power to eject a president from office via impeachment. History showed that President Richard Nixon opted to resigned instead of facing the probability of being removed from office. Asides him however, no other president in the history of United States have been removed via this process.
The constitution of the United States equips congress with such powers. While some individuals refers to impeachment as removing someone from office, it actually mean a different thing legally. What it does actually means is the filing of charges against the individual in question. The Senate will conduct a trial in order to come to a conclusion on whether the officer in question needs to be removed. This is after the House Of Representative have proceeded to impeach the officer, in this case, the president.
Majority of the 19 individuals impeached by the House according to history included federal judges. Also, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were among public officers who were previously impeached. However, the Senate made a decision not to convict them.
The impeachment inquiry of Donald J. Trump is led by the House of Representatives. The speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made an announcement that an impeachment inquiry was necessary after the president was alleged to have broken some laws. The announcement was made in September this year. The inquiry was formalized by the House on the 28th Of October. That same date also witnessed the outlining of the path the inquiry proceedings will take.
What Is The Reason For The Impeachment Inquiry?
This is the question on everyone’s lips. The answer is simple. The president, Donald Trump is being investigated for a phone call he made to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on the 25th of July. The major issue was not just the phone call.
The issue is that Trump requested the newly elected Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. However there have been no evidence of any culpability on neither Joe Biden nor his son, Hunter Biden.
Before Trump made that call, he had already frozen US military assistance to Ukraine in the tune of $400 million. This action sparked series of accusations by the leading opposition, the Democratic Party. The Democrats alleged that the President had misappropriated for his own personal gain money that was designated for their susceptible ally.
Donald Trump however denied any wrongdoing. He famously used the Latin phrase “Quid Pro Quo” which translates into “Favor For Favor”. He also went ahead to say he was being witch-hunted.
Below are some facts about Donald Trump’s impeachment campaign you aren’t aware of:
1. Trump’s Investigation Is Different From Clinton’s:
The impeachment inquiry into the current president Donald Trump is quite different from that of the former president Bill Clinton. In Clinton’s investigation, only the House Judiciary was involved. In Trump’s however, three House committees including Oversight, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs are involved.
The House Judiciary in former president Clinton’s case relied strongly on the report put together by the independent counsel who led the impeachment inquiry. In that report, 11 possible grounds for impeachment were listed and categorized into four categories. Those categories included perjury, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, as well as abuse of power.
2. Trump probably Broke The Law:
According to the laws of the United States, it is illegal for the president to seek the aid of a foreign government in order to undercut a political rival. Donald Trump flouted that provision of the law. James Maddison made an utterance in the 1787 Constitutional Convention. He said in situations where an American president betray his trust to foreign powers, impeachment is therefore necessary.
As far as the 2016 Presidential Election was concerned, 13 foreign nationals and 3 Russian businesses have been alleged to have interfered in it. Therefore the request of president Trump to his Ukrainian colleague Zelensky is considered illegal and improper.
3. What President Trump Really Wanted:
According to witnesses who have testified so far in the impeachment inquiry specifically Lt. Col. Vindman, Trump ran counter to the purpose of the call. Trump wanted to use that opportunity to benefit his own schemes.
Reports suggested that Trump had the believe that Hunter Biden in collusion with his father, Joe defrauded other countries in huge sums of amount. It should be noted however that in 2014, Hunter Biden was named into the board of Burisma Holdings. This company is one of Ukraine’s largest gas companies.
It is believed that Biden Jnr. earned an estimated $50,000 per month during his stay as a member of the board. Former vice president Joe Biden was the arrow head when it comes to issues in Ukraine. It is believed that in 2016, he successfully launched a campaign to ouster the country’s prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin.
4. Trump Offered Something In Exchange:
The House Investigating the impeachment have made references to the fact that president Trump offered something in exchange for the favor from Ukraine. In terms of the war against rebels on the border with Russia, Ukraine is dependent on the United States for the provision of military support. Specifically in the form of cash. It is believed that Trump leveraged on that to get Zelensky to do his bidding.
Trump has earlier directed that the military aid that has been approved to be disbursed to Ukraine be withheld. This directive was given a week prior to the call. Also, the new president of Ukraine wanted an audience with Trump in the White House. He really wanted it to improve his political image.
Trump hinged the approval for that visit on his acceptance to publicly announce the commencement of the investigations into the Bidens.
5. The Senate Will Hold A Trial:
A lot of spectators and even the major actors in the impeachment proceedings get this mixed up. The sole power given to the Senate to try all impeachment is enshrined in the constitution . The Senate rules also states that it is not an option but an obligation. That means they are bound to carry it out.
Also, the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that the House intends to carry out their constitutional duties. He also stated that they’ll take the issue up under the impeachment rules of the senate. Senator McConnell is of the Republican Party.
6. The Chief Justice Can Play A Role:
Although the role of the Chief Justice is restricted. They can however play a role in the impeachment proceedings. The rules of evidence has not been adopted by the Senate. The rules however gives the Chief Justice the legal power to make decisions on questions bothering on evidences.
The Chief Justice has the liberty to also put forward the question to the full Senate. They will then vote whether it is admissible or not.
7. The Proceedings Will Likely Proceed To The Senate:
There’s the likelihood that the impeachment inquiry will scale the House of Representatives into the Senate. This is because the Democrats wants him impeached and they’re the majority in the House. The Democrats have 234 members in the house. The remaining are held by the Republicans. That means when they’d vote, they are likely to win. Therefore sending the impeachment inquiry to the senate.
8. Trump Has No Power To Pardon Himself:
The president has the constitutional powers in any situation to grant pardon to offenses committed against the United states. However, those powers do not extend to pardon given when found guilty of impeachable offenses. If he’s therefore guilty, he cannot grant pardon to himself.
9. Trump Will Be Removed If The Senate Convicts Him:
In a situation where the Senate house finds the president guilty of any impeachable offense, he will immediately be removed from office. This action carries out the provision of the 25th Amendment. The Vice President will immediately become the president.
10. Some Other Individual Asides Trump Is Being Investigated:
It has been reported that a lot of the dealings with Ukraine hasn’t been carried out via the correct channel. Instead of the U.S. State Department, the dealings have been conducted via the back door with Trump personal attorney, Rudy Guliani. Therefore Mr. Guliani is another individual who is being investigated. Several other key witnesses have accused the lawyer of interference.
Donald Trump is on the verge of joining the list of the few presidents that have been impeached. All indications so far from the impeachment inquiry points to the fact the he is guilty of what he’s being accused of. However if the words of the witnesses can be taken for what they are is another point to consider. The question is: Is there any verity in what they are saying?
The president has time and time again denied that there was a Quid pro quo in his phone call with Zelensky. His Ukrainian counterpart has also vehemently denied all the allegations reported by the press. Whether Trump is guilty or not is left for the inquiry to determine. He’ll either come out of this vindicated and unscathed, or he’ll join the list of those that have been impeached.