President Trump is in hot water as the U.S. House of Representatives launches an impeachment inquiry. The process began on Sept. 24 as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally announced the decision. Inquiry will be conducted by six House Committees, though the articles of impeachment will be written up by the House Judiciary Committee.
The impeachment inquiry comes after an unnamed whistleblower filed a complaint over President Trump’s July 25 phone call with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. The complaint listed that the phone call was covered up by the White House, as well as contained illegal dealings. Both presidents do not deny the phone call, but do deny that the content was illegal or in violation of their positions. Non-verbatim transcripts of the phone call detail the U.S. President pressuring the U.A. President to investigate his 2020 rival and the previous Vice President, Joe Biden.
A statistic from CNN News states that there are “over 215 [U.S.] House Democrats who’ve made public comments advocating at least for starting the impeachment inquiry process.” The U.S. House of Representatives consists of 435 members that represent districts across the country. The U.S. House is currently controlled by a Democratic majority which, besides making Pelosi the House Speaker, also makes the impeachment of a Republican president much more likely. The majority of the Democratic party is known to be unsupportive of Trump’s presidency, making this a promising opportunity for the House majority.
Chester County Representative Chrissy Houlahan recently made a statement: “Over the past few days, my attention has been drawn, sadly, to the new allegation that our president threatened a foreign leader by denying military assistance in order to obtain information that would discredit a political opponent. If this is true, this marks a sad, new chapter for our country. This is a matter of national security, and we must find the truth.” Read the rest of her statement on her website: houlahan.house.gov.
Impeachment is the trial process for a civil officer in the government. Impeachable offenses are defined by the U.S. Constitution as “Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The U.S. House of Representatives can pass the articles of impeachment by a simple majority vote (218 of 435 Representatives). However, this does not mean the defendant will immediately be thrown from office. The defendant, in this case President Trump, has simply earned the title of impeached. The U.S. Senate holds the trial to determine punishment for the crime.
This separation of powers makes impeachment an often misunderstood process. The U.S. Senate has a Republican majority and, to add to the bias, is presided over by Vice President Mike Pence. Though it is likely that President Trump will be impeached, it is unlikely that he will face little or any punishment for his actions. This situation was mirrored by Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
The population of the United States is divided in their opinions on the impeachment. A NPR/PBS/ Marist Poll reports that 49% are in favor and 46% do not agree. Those in favor rose from before the inquiry was announced, jumping from 37% to the aforementioned 49%.
The impeachment process can take months, meaning that a ruling is still far in the future. Testimonies, interrogations, investigations and interviews are a few of the ways the U.S. Congress will come to a decision. This process could decide whether or not President Trump sees the end of his first term.
Caroline Helms is a first-year student majoring in English. CH923621@wcupa.edu