[one_third]Liberal – Colin Bayne
Now that impeachment inquiries have begun and it is only a matter of time before articles are voted on in the House, the reality of the impeachment question cannot be ignored any longer.
The current investigations into impeachment are centered around the incident involving Ukraine, a long and complicated affair with many large and small players, and far too much detail to summarize fully in such a small space. Suffice to say, Trump delayed U.S. aid to Ukraine. A week later he had a phone call with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, where he requested the Ukrainian government to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of Trump’s largest domestic political rival and the leading Democratic presidential hopeful, Joe Biden.
This situation is a clearly unethical pressuring of one foreign head of state by the sitting U.S. president in order to interfere on his own behalf in the upcoming presidential election. Now, whether or not an official quid pro quo exists (which the White House memorandum of the phone call supports, regardless of those who dispute it), the blatant calls by the president for foreign governments to interfere on his behalf in our elections are outrageous and deserve investigation from the House.
As to the worth of impeachment itself, this is a complicated question. With a Republican-controlled Senate, the president will probably never be removed from office, even if the articles pass the House. However, there are other reasons why impeachment would still be a worthwhile pursuit. The timing of this incident lines up with the upcoming 2020 election. As the House investigation into the incident continues, more details will be released to the public after testimony is heard, as well as the release of official documents from the White House, which were recently subpoenaed. The reported flood of more detailed information regarding the president’s attempt to compromise our election will undoubtedly affect his performance in the upcoming election, and may even call into question various Republican Senators’ seats in upcoming senate elections if they refuse to indict Trump.
Impeachment may not be successful in fulfilling the role it is intended to by the Constitution due to party politics, but it still has other uses: as a sanction against illegal activity by future presidents and other government officials, as an influence on the upcoming election and as a way to send a message to other governments around the world that they cannot interfere in our political process with impunity.
My main issue with the current impeachment inquiry is that it relies far too heavily on this single issue, when there are many more possible grounds for impeachment, from his violation of the emoluments clause—which bars presidents from profiting from the position—to the campaign finance violations conducted by members of his campaign with his knowledge. A more broad set of inquiries might take longer, but would allow for a fuller and stronger eventual impeachment case.
[one_third]Independent – Daniil Ivanov
In a 24-hour news cycle it feels like we are constantly bombarded with news and subjective hypotheses and analysis from so-called experts.
Because of this, consumers of the media have been overexposed to talks of President Trump’s impeachment. In fact, talks of impeaching Trump have been going on since before he was even inaugurated, stemming back to claims of collusion with the Russian government.
However, after a long drawn-out investigation where Democrats had been sitting at the edge of their seats, no collusion had been found and Trump has yet to be impeached.
At this point, it is hard to tell if the scandal between Trump and Ukraine is the same case of a liberal media sniffing like bloodhounds for a way to impeach Trump while the conservative media stands with arms linked in their steadfast support of the president.
It’s completely possible that as the facts are presented over the coming weeks a compelling argument will be made for the impeachment of President Trump. However, the media has been portraying the impeachment proceedings with the same certainty that they had of Clinton winning the 2016 election.
As for the claim of Trump using aid to Ukraine for political leverage against Joe Biden, this is definitely a seemingly unethical action, but the problem at hand is that the exact legality of the situation is based off of the exact details. But, once again, the exact details are not yet available since an investigation is still underway.
If it comes to light that President Trump, with the specific intent of having political dirt against Joe Biden, pressured Ukraine to commit espionage in return for foreign aid, then impeachment would be undeniable.
However, if the case against Trump is not solid, then he will most likely be able to get away unscathed. Trump is not immune to something illegal, but he is seemingly untouchable to claims of being unethical. Having ties with Russia, spending his presidency at a golf course and pissing off every minority group in America, Trump has been dripping with controversy since day one and his supporters have no issue looking past this. As long as Trump complies with the investigation and is found to be outside of prosecution, then he will still enter the 2020 election with a strong base while Joe Biden’s integrity is put into question.
[one_third]Conservative – Mark Pothen
Congressional Democrats spent the last two years supposing that the president was a Russian puppet and needs to be impeached for stealing the election. With this new Ukraine allegation, Democrats have essentially now become “the boy who cried impeachment,” masquerading as exemplars of goodwill while in reality, they have a political agenda and have been calling for his impeachment since the president took office.
This idea has definitely played out over the last two weeks when there was rising suspicion of criminal wrongdoing due to a whistleblower report that the president had engaged in a quid pro quo with Volodymyr Zelensky. It was reported that in exchange for the Ukrainian government investigating Joe Biden’s actions with regards to the ousting of the prosecutor investigating his son’s company, President Trump’s administration would greenlight $391 million in foreign aid to Ukraine. If this was the case, then impeachment definitely would be warranted but it seems as though every passing day the narrative that the president engaged in a quid pro quo is completely falling apart.
Trump succumbed to the pressure to release the transcript of the phone call in which he, speaking in the general context of eradicating corruption within the Ukrainian government, made a request for Zelensky to investigate the details around Joe Biden’s supposed scandal in order to fight corruption. There was no clear statement that the aide was contingent on an investigation and even Zelensky acknowledged that he didn’t feel pressured to investigate. Presumably, if the president was engaging in a quid pro quo in the call, the Ukrainians would have to be aware that Trump was withholding aid.
However, it turns out that definitely was not the case. For months after the phone call, Ukrainian officials were not aware that the aid was being withheld. The administration then made the whistleblower complaint public, and it turned out to have been a secondary source who was not even aware of the actual transcript of the call and had less information than we have now.
However, in lieu of all this information, Democrats are still trudging on with impeachment. Their case now, because they don’t have an actual crime that would be accepted as warranting impeachment, is that the president engaged in non-criminal bad behavior and therefore should be impeached. This is ironic considering prominent politicians have routinely engaged in such behavior, including former President Obama and Hillary Clinton who used Ukraine to investigate then-president Trump’s campaign chair Paul Manafort. Democrats overstated the extent of the president’s wrongdoing and because this wrongdoing didn’t come into fruition, they seem to be trying to use impeachment as a political blunderbuss to end Trump’s presidency. As it stands, if this is the political hill that the Democrats want to die on, it definitely will come to haunt them in the 2020 election.
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