On July 25th of this year President Trump had a phone call conversation with Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky. Within the phone call, it was recorded that Trump continuously urged and persuaded Zelensky to carry out an investigation on Joe Biden, the former vice-president under Barack Obama.
Joe Biden is expected to be Trump’s largest competitor in the next Presidential election of 2020. Trump was hoping Zelensky would look further into an already solved corruption allegations against Biden and into his son’s business interests within Ukraine. Alongside this, Trump expected Zelensky to carry out another “favour” of finding out whether Ukrainians were behind the 2016 cyber hacking campaign against Hillary Clinton.
Evidence towards this was not only provided through the phone call transcript that was released on the 25th September. The Trump administration at first refused to release the transcript. Not only that, a week before the phone call, Trump froze a $400 million package of military assistance for Ukraine. Trump’s term has been consistently filled with scandal through skirting the rules and disregard of regulations. The scandal is putting American politics under stress as the Constitution struggles against the politics of the current President.
Of course, this scandal has been aligned with the suspected intervention in the 2016 Presidential campaign which was highlighted in The Mueller Report. The Ukraine scandal is another strike against Trump, especially after years of wrongdoing by the President. The Mueller Report was published in April of 2019 as the official report about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. During the emergence of the report there was a call for Trump’s impeachment, which has been spurred by the recent emergence of the Ukraine scandal.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House, introduced the impeachment inquiry. The investigation will be carried out by Adam Schiff, becoming the new Mueller. Adam Schiff is the Chair of the Intelligence Committee. There is a wide range of support within the Capitol as 58% support the inquiry. This investigation has been spurred forward due to Trump’s complete abuse of power.
The US constitution states that a President can be removed from power due to “treason, bribery, or other high crime misdemeanours.” The process of impeachment is a lengthy and complicated one, surrounded by strict regulations.
If sufficient evidence is found against Trump, The House will vote about articles of impeachment. If a majority is met, over 51%, Trump would be impeached, and a trial would begin. Then The Senate would vote on whether to convict the President; they would have to reach a two-thirds majority, and Trump would then be removed from office.
However, the question of Donald Trump’s impeachment causes a constitutional crisis as the two branches of government come to a head. The site of American politics has become a squabbling ground. Rather than working together democratically, branches of government are fighting against one another causing a breakdown of politics within the Capitol.
Throughout his term, Trump has continuously tried to work around the Constitution. Key examples include: efforts to restrict the entrance of Muslims into the country, diverting funding from elsewhere to the progress of the wall, and shutting down parts of the government.
There is confusion surrounding this necessary process: it is not a political power play but a necessary legal procedure. The President is fighting against it, seeing it as a rally against him. He has been spurred on with the belief that he did nothing wrong, taking to twitter, calling Adam Schiff a “disgrace to the Country”.
American politics has become a hotbed of arguments and disruption as it turns against itself. If Trump continues to refuse to communicate and stonewall the impeachment inquiry, he threatens to force the constitution into a more restrictive pressure. This is particularly prominent as Pat Cipollone, White House Counsel, sent a letter to the House Democratic Leaders stating the resistance to the Inquiry by Trump. Due to this Trump has been laden with subpoenas.
It now lies within the Judicial branch to quell the disruption between the Executive and Legislative branches. A sort of authoritarianism is leaking into American politics as the executive branch is fighting against the authority of the legislative branch.
The legislative branch is carrying out its democratic and constitutionally just role in ensuring that the President does not abuse his power. However, due to the executive branch’s actions, the constitution is being put under a new form of pressure.
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