The ongoing constitutional clash over the allegations exchanged by the Democrats and Republicans on the impeachment of President Trump will prove futile. Here’s why.
On the 24th of September, the US House of Representative Speaker Democrats’ Nancy Pelosi announced the beginning of a formal impeachment inquiry against the US President Donald Trump. The POTUS’ name has allegedly surfaced after a complaint came forward by an anonymous whistleblower regarding a call between Trump and the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The call as claimed was to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
A day later, the summary of the call transcript has been publically released rather than a word for word record by the Trump administration.
Democrats‘ Trump Impeachment Bid
Democrats are alleging that the infamous call on 15th July 2019 was to pressurize Ukrainian government to look into the matter against Biden, who is also the potential opponent for Trump in the upcoming 2020 US elections. Trump is alleged to have held a $400 million military aid package to Ukraine as leverage. However, this was not mentioned in the summary released.
Furthermore, Pelosi directed the leaders of the six committees to probe the investigation and report the same to the House of Judiciary Committee chaired by Jerry Nadler. However, Ukraine President Zelenskiy says nobody pushed him to investigate Biden and his son.
Ukraine Allegations and Trump
As per an article in the Washington Post in 2014, the then Vice President Joe Biden said Ukraine should increase its gas production capacity. Later his son, Hunter Biden became a board member in Burisma, a Ukrainian Gas company.
Republican allegations are based on the fact that Joe Biden was involved in influencing Ukrainian policy. However, Biden offered aid to Ukraine to increase its gas production, which could benefit the Ukrainian energy sector and requirements.
Later junior Biden clarified by releasing a statement that he joined the board to help and reform transparency, corporate governance and responsibility in Burisma.
Furthermore, he added that he was qualified to become the member as he holds experience of chairing the board of World Food Program (USA). Biden is also the vice-chairman on the board of Amtrak.
What the transcript reveals
Earlier Trump already said that the transcript would tell us that the conversation with the Ukranian President was friendly in nature. He said it was appropriate and no pressure was exerted by him. Furthermore, Trump called the step a “witch hunt” targeted against him.
The transcript released shows the Ukrainian President pledging to buy more military weapons from the US. Furthermore, the POTUS urged him to investigate into Biden’s son as many people wanted to know about the Biden case which was stopped by the then Vice President. Thus, Trump asked the Ukraine President to carry out his investigation in coordination with the Attorney General of the US.
But is POTUS vulnerable to impeachment?
Article 1, section 2, clause 5 of the US Constitution provides the sole power of impeachment to the House of Representatives. The US constitution limits as well as broadens up the grounds of impeachment to “treason, bribery, or high crimes and misdemeanors”.
Impeaching the US President is easy for the Democratic party which enjoys a mandate in the House of Representative. Cleverly Pelosi is using the grounds for “High crimes and misdemeanours”, as this clause is itself not explained in the US constitution.
Currently, there are 435 seats in the House of Representatives where Democrats are the dominant force with 235 seats against 199 seats of Republicans. This provides a crystal clear picture that Trump impeachment big maybe successful if Democrats find sufficient evidence of wrongdoing.
But Removal from the White House: Senate won’t let that happen
The real twist in the impeachment process followed in the US is commanded by the upper house of the US Congress, i.e. The Senate. If Trump is impeached by the House of Representation then a trial begins in the Senate. After the possible trials, the Senate needs to secure 2/3rd or 67% of votes to remove Trump from the President’s Office.
The Republicans enjoy a majority in the Senate. So, it is unlikely that Trump will be removed from President, unless a number of Republicans (20 to be precise) turn against him. Therefore, it is highly likely that Trump will remain in the President’s office until tables turn in 2020.
So, are there Republicans who might sway?
Senator Mitt Romney from Republicans is the only person calling for the transparency over the Ukrainian issue. But the majority still support President Trump.
However, according to a Monmouth University poll conducted this month, prior to the Ukrainian issue, around 35% of US citizens feel POTUS should be impeached. With elections the next year, public sentiment might come into play if trials happen in the Senate.
Thus, the constitution clash prevailing in the US over impeaching POTUS is very much questionable. Many facts that could have been controversial will most likely not prove to be correct vis-à-vis Ukrainian scandal. Currently, both the parties are doing nothing more than alleging each other and trying to gain the sentiment and persuade the voters.