Impeachment — Where Are We Now? | Justin Wang

Impeachment — Where Are We Now?

By Justin Wang

Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States, has undoubtedly become one of (if not the most) polarizing presidents in recent memory. Not only has his Twitter feed prompted extreme disapproval and support on both sides, but the method by which he conducts the executive branch have led to some scrutiny — in particular, his supposed foreign relationships that have prompted the impeachment hearings currently dominating the political atmosphere. 

After an anonymous whistleblower reported that Trump may have withheld military aid from the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to have Zelensky perform two favors for the Trump campaign — namely, investigating Hunter Biden and an oil company where he once served as a member of their board. Hearings for witnesses started on November 13th, about a month after the witnesses put forth their depositions. 

The first hearing began with William Taylor and George Kent — the former of which is the acting United States ambassador to Ukraine, and the latter of which serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Taylor seemed to corroborate the whistleblower’s claims, where he once overheard phone call conversations concerning “the investigation,” and how Trump was only concerned with “the big stuff… that benefits the president like the Biden investigation.” Continually, the Republican members of the Intelligence Committee questioned the integrity and trustworthiness of the witnesses, citing that this entire hearing procedure was a little more than a sham, with the majority of Democrat-called witnesses being manipulated into being as convincing as possible, rather than as accurate as possible. 

Similar claims were corroborated throughout the remainder of the hearings, with other witnesses such as Lieutenant Colonel Vidman reporting on relaying a “improper” phone call to his senior intelligence officer, and Ambassador to the European Union Sondland claiming that he believed the majority of the White House staff were in on the same conspiracy.

But where does that all take us? Republicans and Democrats, butting heads on the Intelligence Committee over hearings that are interpreted almost completely differently depending on political orientation and context. 

The House Intelligence Committee, led by its chairman Adam Schiff (which has become one of the main targets of Trump’s tweeting sprees) has since drafted a report on the hearings, and plans to officially impeach the President under Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. In response to the Democrat report, the Republicans released a minority report on December 2nd, a “prebuttal” to the official report released on December 3rd. 

The future from here is impossible to predict. It’s likely that Trump will be impeached in the House, yet not removed from the Senate due to voting majorities, but any new evidence could easily tip the balance one way or another. However, one thing is clear — Trump remains one of the most polarizing Presidents in history, and whatever the results of the impeachment inquiry show, it doesn’t seem like that fact will change.