From the day President Trump was elected, democrats have been pushing for his impeachment. In 2018, when the democratic party won back the House of Representatives, they finally began to see impeachment as a legitimate possibility, as they now only needed to sell the Senate on the idea.
So, House democrats have spent the majority of 2019 to this point setting the stage and waiting for an opportunity to impeach the president. The original plan of attack was to wait for the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election, but when that report was finally released to the public in April it concluded with a resounding, “Our suspicions still run rampant but we still have no actual solid evidence.” This was a major setback for the increasingly impatient House democrats.
Finally, in September 2019, the democrats saw their chance: a whistleblower report. The whistleblower (an anonymous individual, protected by law, who files an ethics complaint against an organization) revealed that Trump was putting pressure on the president of Ukraine to investigate 2020 opponent Joe Biden and his family. The claims appear valid, too, as the records of Trump’s calls with Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky have been placed in a highly restricted server which is usually only used for matters of national security.
Soliciting foreign interference in domestic elections is highly illegal, as was made clear by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on September 24 when she officially announced that the House was launching an impeachment inquiry into the president over the Ukraine calls. The White House has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing and has announced that they will not cooperate with the inquiry.
But none of this means anything if you are like sophomore Gabe Goff. He said, “I don’t really know what’s going on, I get that impeachment is bad but I don’t know what it does.” Goff is not alone – many American citizens do not understand the process or implications of presidential impeachment.
Impeachment is a responsibility given to the House of Representatives alone. The Constitution defines “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors (https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleii)” as grounds for impeachment, and if a president or another official is impeached it means that the House has found that official guilty of one or more of these offences.
Impeachment does not, however, automatically constitute removal from office. Once the House has impeached the president, the senate holds a trial to determine whether he will be removed from office or not. In both previous cases in which presidents were impeached (Andrew Jackson and Bill Clinton), they were acquitted by the Senate and remained in office until the end of their terms.
Given the partisan demographics of the two wings of Congress, the outcome of the ordeal seems obvious: Trump will almost definitely be impeached by the democrat-controlled House of Representatives, but the republican-controlled Senate will vote for his innocence and he will remain in office and run for reelection.
“I don’t even see what they are trying to accomplish by impeaching him. All that’s going to happen is that Senate is going to say he’s innocent, and they had to know that going in,” said junior Grant Braner.
Junior Caden Rule was even more doubtful of the significance of the whole event.
“Even if they impeach him, we are just going to wind up with Mike Pence which is still the same administration,” Rule said.
US History teacher Mr. DeBard had a somewhat different approach than these two.
“I think that they are taking the right steps,” Debard said. “I think keeping the president accountable is necessary, and even if he is not guilty, he has shown reason for people to be concerned about keeping him accountable. I think what republicans need to realize is that if the political parties were switched and this was Barack Obama, they would be doing exactly the same thing,”
Mr. DeBard agreed with the others on the point that President Trump is likely to remain in office after being acquitted by the Senate.
“We do need to get to the bottom of it, we need to figure out of Trump was making appeals to foreign governments to find dirt on his opponents. I think that really matters,” DeBard said.