By Johnathan Miller
California Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, announced on Sept. 24 that the House would launch an official inquiry on whether or not to impeach President Donald J. Trump.
This decision came after Speaker Pelosi held off pressure from the left-wing members of the Democratic Party who have been calling for the president’s impeachment for months before the latest storm.
The recent controversy that Trump has gotten into broke the impeachment dam on Capitol Hill, but not on the FDU campus, where the Ukraine news made little impact as of late September. A by-no-means-expansive poll of FDU students seems to voice disapproval of the move toward impeaching the president.
Quran Harris, a sophomore from Washington D.C., understands why impeachment exists, but does not understand the need to go down that route.
“I don’t see why people are trying to impeach him,” Harris said. “He is a showboat; he lives for people’s reaction to him. People should judge him based on policy.”
She had yet to hear about the ongoing Ukraine controversy when she was asked her views.
“[Trump] sucks but he didn’t do anything for them to kick him out yet,” said Gabe Nicholls, a graduate student from East Orange.
Jenna Henderson, a junior from Washington, N.J., did not hear much of the story regarding the whistleblower complaint and Ukraine, but felt conflicted when sharing whether it was right to start the impeachment process.
“I feel like it was definitely a good move to appease people but it might not go through. There’s high risks associated,” Henderson said.
Senior William Atchison from Sacramento, Calif., did not hear much on the news story regarding Ukraine, but felt as if the impeachment may come no matter what.
“[Impeachment] may become inevitable,” Atchison said. “The president’s skeletons in his closet will eventually come out and will negatively impact his career.”
In a story that has unspooled all week, a whistleblower made a complaint that accused the president of the United States of wrongdoing, a complaint that has since been made public. Within the complaint, the whistleblower noted the phone call conversation President Trump had with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, on July 25. It was reported by the media that Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, took part in the phone conversation on Sept. 30. Ten days later, he admitted he was on the Ukraine phone call.
In the phone conversation with Trump and Zelensky, with a “rough transcript” being released by the White House on Sept. 25, President Trump asked President Zelensky to investigate one of his political rivals, former Vice President and a 2020 Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden.
When Biden was vice president during Barack Obama’s administration, from 2009 until 2017, his son, Hunter, joined the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma. During that time, Ukraine was trying to rid itself of corruption and hired prosecutor Viktor Shokin to investigate corrupt cases. There are claims that Shokin was attempting to investigate Hunter Biden, but according to CNN, Yuriy Lutsenko, the Ukraine prosecutor who succeeded Shotkin, Biden’s son did not break any laws. There was an investigation into Burisma, but that investigation was already dormant by the time Hunter Biden came onto the board.
Joe Biden actively tried to get the prosecutor fired, and succeeded often using forceful economical means. Rumors grew of a prosecutor from Ukraine that was investigating Hunter Biden. However, according to a Washington Post fact-checker article, Biden’s actions were part of a policy through the State Department coordinated with the European Union and the International Monetary Funds. Shokin was seen by the international community as being weak on crime.
The subsequent whistleblower complaint mentions that the transcript of the sensitive call had been moved to a top secret server meant for confidential national security issues. The White House later confirmed that part of the whistleblower complaint.
Part of those transcripts that were unusually stored in the top secret server was the call from Trump to the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin. According to the Washington Post article, Trump admitted to not being concerned about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
Democrats have been reluctant to push the ball forward worrying the political backlash would hinder the party in the 2020 election.
However, after a shaky week that resulted in being backed into a corner, Pelosi apparently had no other choice but to open up an inquiry. During an interview at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, someone asked whether she was worried that impeaching the president would mean that Democrats would lose the House in 2020. Speaker Pelosi firmly said, “It doesn’t matter. Our first responsibility is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The House of Representatives will now proceed with investigations on whether to impeach President Trump. Once the process is completed, the Judiciary committee will draft and vote on the Articles of Impeachment that will then be sent to the full House where it needs a majority of 218 votes to pass. If the Articles pass through the House, it goes to the United States Senate for trial where it needs two-thirds, or 67 senators, to convict and remove President Trump.
This is an ongoing story and will be developed in the months ahead.