Olivia Langlois ’21
From the moment Donald Trump became President, there have been numerous controversies that surround his political correctness, his policy, and his actions while being President. These controversies range from Russian involvement in the US election to the border wall when dealing with immigration. None have come as close to impeachment as the most recent flaw in Trump’s Presidency: Ukraine. Now, as this topic is extremely polarizing, I will be giving the facts as well as an opinionated Democratic (big D as in the party) side.
April 7, 2019: Giuliani has an interview on Fox News. In which, he says “I feel sorry about [Biden’s] involvement in the Ukraine thing” as well as stating that Joe Biden put his son, Hunter Biden, on the board of an Ukrainian oil company, and then got a judge, who was investigating the oil company, fired.
April 25, 2019: Trump highlights his concern of Ukrainian “collusion”
May 9, 2019: Giuliani tells the New York Times that he will be traveling to Ukraine “to urge him to pursue inquiries that allies of the White House contend could yield new information about two matters of intense interest to Mr. Trump.”
May 19, 2019: Trump focused on Biden during an interview with Steve Hilton on Fox News.
June 18, 2019: Department of Defense announces $250 million dollars to Ukraine in “security cooperation funds for additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to build the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces.”
July 18, 2019: Trump blocks $400 million in aid from Ukraine, a command that, according to whistleblower, came directly from the President.
July 25, 2019: During Volodymyr Zelensky (Ukraine’s President) and Trump’s call, Zelensky suggests to him that he wants to purchase anti-tank missiles, to which Trump says, “I would like you to do us a favor though,” and then discusses the Bidens.
August 12, 2019: Michael Atkinson, U.S. Inspector General, receives an anonymous whistleblower complaint.
September 1, 2019: Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor texts U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland saying “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?”
September 9, 2019: Ambassador Taylor says to Sondland in a text, “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” to which Sondland responded after a call with President Trump.
September 24, 2019: Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Speaker of the House, announces impeachment inquiry.
This recent conduct of the President prompts varied responses based on perceptions of his actions. Since fairly certainly Trump asked for an investigation, it matters his intent behind the actions. This is extremely problematic to the solid investigation itself because knowing intent is hard to prove for certain. If Trump meant to honestly investigate corruption, his intent is unproblematic in terms of Presidential conduct. But if Trump meant to find dirt on his political opponent, it is not appropriate conduct for a President because it is an abuse of his power.
Another problem is the political divide that impeachment will cause. This inquiry increases the divide between the already divided Republican and Democratic parties, causing them to vote on these cases purely on the basis of their parties rather than the basis of fact during the impending House and Senate trials. It also could divide the Democratic party into those who want impeachment and those who do not, which could make it harder for the Democrats to garner the independents and defeat Trump in the upcoming presidential election.
When looking at the polls, another problem occurs. Polling is a significant issue when it comes to Trump because not all of his supporters answer the poll phone calls, so it becomes difficult to see what American opinion actually is. The polls could say that the majority of Americans support impeachment, but that could further motivate Trump’s base to show up to the polls in 2020. At this moment, the most recent polls have said that the majority support impeachment and removal, but it is unknown the truth of the full American public.
The moral dilemma of this inquiry is, if Trump did complete these actions with political power in mind, how to bring him to justice without it creating a political divide. Is it possible for a President to remain above the law because of political affiliation? What does this impeachment inquiry mean for the 2020 election? Only the upcoming proceedings will tell.
Congress (2019, October) Chairmen Letter on State Department. Retrieved from https://apps.npr.org/documents/document.html?id=6466661-621801458E982E9903839ABC7404A917-Chairmen-Letter#document/p8/a529917
Fox News (2019, April). Giuliani slams Mueller Leak. Retrieved from https://www.foxnews.com/transcript/giuliani-slams-mueller-leak.
Keith T. (2019, October). Trump, Ukraine And The Path To The Impeachment Inquiry: A Timeline. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2019/10/12/768935251/trump-ukraine-and-the-path-to-the-impeachment-inquiry-a-timeline.
US Department of Defense (2019, June). DOD Announces $250M to Ukraine. Retrieved from https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/1879340/dod-announces-250m-to-ukraine/.
Vogel, K.P. (2019, May). Rudy Giuliani Plans Ukraine Trip to Push for Inquires That Could Help Trump. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/09/us/politics/giuliani-ukraine-trump.html.
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