Impeachment: History in the Making

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Impeachment: History in the Making

President Donald Trump's official portrait.

President Donald Trump's official portrait.

Photo provided by: Creative Commons

President Donald Trump's official portrait.

Photo provided by: Creative Commons

Photo provided by: Creative Commons

President Donald Trump's official portrait.

Porter Huyck, Staff Reporter

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In the 231 years since the Constitution was ratified as the governing document of the United States, two American Presidents have been impeached and no President has ever been convicted by the Senate and removed from office. The current impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump only the fourth such inquiry in American history. On Sept. 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) officially announced the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, continuing the quieter investigations that Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) had been undertaking as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.   

While there are Democrats that would allege a longer list of misdeeds, Pelosi cited Trump’s alleged betrayal of American national security, his oath of office and the integrity of American elections during his call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky as the reason for the official impeachment inquiry. After private and public testimony from members of the State Department and other government officials in mid-November, Pelosi publicly considered adding bribery to the list of Trump’s alleged high crimes and misdemeanors, a crime explicitly mentioned in Article 1, Section 3, of the Constitution. 

“Nancy Pelosi just brought up the point of bribery, which is actually in the Constitution,” US History and AP Comparative Government and Politics teacher Vita Simmons said. “You know the idea of trying to curry favor with another country in trying to discredit political opposition, obviously that is a misuse and a mishandling of the office, it is inconsistent with the presidential oath of office, and so I think that is serious, I think it is serious in the sense of, we expect our president to abide by constitutional guarantees and the oath that he takes at the onset of his presidency.” 

On the orders of Trump himself, the rough transcript of the July 25 phone call in question were released. These records show that during the call, Trump requested that the Ukranian government investigate Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President due to Hunter’s position on the board of a Ukranian company in exchange for a White House meeting and military defense aid 

This demonstrates the use of the Presidency for personal gain, which violates the Emoluments Clause found in Article 1, Section 9, of the U.S. Constitution. This clause states the following: 

 “No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State. 

Many public and private hearings with top officials connected to the situation have taken place. For example, former United States envoy to Ukraine Bill Taylor, Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent, Director for European Affairs for the United States National Security Council Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, and United States Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland have already taken place before the House Intelligence Committee. On Dec. 5, Pelosi urged the House Judiciary Committee to move forward with drafting articles of impeachment against Trump, saying that she believes there is no other option given the evidence gathered by the House. 

“The impeachment process is largely symbolic,” senior Ben Evelev said. “As we all know, the Republicans control the Senate and Trump will almost 100 percent not get removed unless smoking gun evidence is revealed against him. In other words, the impeachment could only strengthen his following, as he has already been covering for it by saying the Democrats are trying to frame him. If anything, this impeachment could end up winning Trump a second term.”