It has now been nearly a month since the House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
While the Iran conflict has arguably overshadowed the impeachment proceedings in the media over the past few weeks, the impeachment trial remains a major national story with great historical and political implications.
In order to keep the Oklahoma Christian University student body up to date, the Talon has compiled the latest information on the impeachment proceedings.
What did Trump do to warrant impeachment?
In a July 25, 2019 phone call to Ukraine, Trump asked President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. With Biden being a top Democratic candidate for president, the call could be considered interfering with the 2020 election. In addition, Trump called Zelensky shortly after blocking military aid to Ukraine, causing the majority of the House to believe Trump established a quid pro quo.
How do both sides of the political spectrum view the impeachment inquiry and trial?
Most Democrats, including House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, say President Trump violated the Constitution by contacting Ukraine and asking them to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. They also believe the president attempted to establish a quid pro quo by making this request after he withdrew aid from Ukraine.
Most Republicans, including President Trump, say the impeachment inquiry is a political stunt aimed at discrediting Trump and the Republican party ahead of the 2020 election. They believe Democrats have rushed through impeachment and the evidence will eventually acquit Trump of all charges.
Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives. What happens next?
The Senate will now hold its own trial to determine if Trump should be removed from office. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi plans to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate this week, officially setting the trial in motion. However, an exact trial date has yet to be determined.
What is the likely outcome of the trial?
Unlike the House of Representatives, the Senate is Republican-controlled. The U.S. Constitution requires a two-thirds supermajority to impeach a president. Even if all 47 Democrats and Independents in the Senate voted in favor of impeachment, 20 Republicans would have to cross party lines and vote to impeach Trump. With no Republicans in the House of Representatives supporting impeachment, this outcome appears very unlikely.
If Trump is unlikely to be convicted by the Senate, why is this trial significant? How could it impact local politics?
The political and historical implications of this trial are far-reaching. The impeachment proceedings will assuredly be used as political ammunition from Trump’s Democrat opponent in the 2020 election. In addition, impeachment votes will be a hot button issue in congressional and senate races throughout the nation, especially in districts which flipped from Republican to Democrat during the 2018 midterm elections.
Take, for example, Oklahoma’s Fifth Congressional District, a traditionally Republican stronghold where Democrat Kendra Horn upset incumbent Steve Russell in November 2018. Oklahoma Republicans began attacking Horn before she even voted in favor of impeachment. Horn’s decision to vote for impeachment could backfire in a district where more than 50% of voters sided with Trump in the 2016 election.
Even if acquitted by the senate, Trump last month joined Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton as the only U.S. presidents to be impeached by the House of Representatives. This fact, along with the evidence presented during the senate trial, could adversely impact Trump’s presidential legacy.
Have thoughts, opinions or questions on the impeachment process?
The Talon’s News and Opinions Editor Elise Miller would love to hear from you as she begins writing a weekly column. You may contact her via email at email@example.com.