Partisan Impeachment Ends Exactly as One Would Expect
The following Op-Ed was written for Quill and Scroll by FA Senior, Elijah Young
On December 18th, history was made. President Trump became the 3rd US President to be impeached. Half of the country waited eagerly for this day since his inauguration. The other half were left shell-shocked.
Trump has been controversial from the start of his candidacy. He used his bluntness to bully the other candidates out of the race. He ultimately won the election because of the entertainment he provided and the perceived transparency he had. Talks of impeachment began even before Trump secured his victory. For Democrats, Trump quickly became an unpredictable menace as his behavior is wild and he is not a mainstream politician.
Before diving into Trump’s impeachment trials, we will first explore the history and process of impeachment. The constitution, specifically in Article II, states “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The founding fathers purposely left the crimes which are impeachable vague as it would be impossible to list an agreeable list of all the serious crimes. Additionally, the vagueness prevents the President from abusing his power as he can and will be impeached.
The impeachment process begins with an impeachment inquiry where a committee from the House of Representatives search for and investigate illegal activities of the President. Then, another committee determines whether there are grounds for impeachment. If 50% or more agree, the committee drafts Articles of Impeachment. These are the crimes the defendant is suspected of committing. From then a trial begins and the house engages in a debate over the charges. Next, the House of Representatives votes whether the charges are valid or not. If the majority agrees to at least one of the charges, the trial continues and moves on to the Senate. To remove the president from office, a supermajority vote (67%) is required. The Founding Fathers designed the impeachment process this way so that no single party can abuse their power and control the entirety of the government.
President Trump has been impeached on the grounds of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump threatened to delay military aid to Ukraine unless they led an investigation into Hunter Biden’s role in the Ukrainian gas company. Additionally, Trump is accused of ordering government officials who have been subpoenaed for the impeachment inquiry to ignore the subpoena.
During the senate trial, many witnesses testified but to no avail for the prosecution. Many Republicans openly plan to acquit the president. The final vote to remove Trump from the Oval Office will take place Wednesday, February 5th at 4:00 P.M. This may be the end of the impeachment, but it is certainly not the last time either side will use it as a political tool.
One main problem with the Articles of Impeachment is that they assume that both are consistent with Trump’s past behavior. In Article I, the writers assume Russia interfered with the 2016 election and now Trump seeks to use Ukraine to gain an advantage in the 2020 presidential election. The Russian Collusion investigation persisted for over 2 years and never discovered any incriminating evidence.
Additionally, Article II claims that “In the history of the Republic, no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors’”. This is factually false as Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury and encouraging witnesses to lie. On top of that, Richard Nixon was accused of condoning witnesses to lie on his behalf prior to his resignation.
History once again proves the partisanship of our nation as we reach the end of another impeachment trial. Despite another name added to the hall of impeached presidents, nothing has changed. We are still stuck in the same red versus blue world.