An historic announcement was made at the end of September after information came to light of suspicious activity out of the White House. A tip from an anonymous whistleblower detailed a controversial phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In response, on Tuesday, September 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that a formal impeachment inquiry would proceed.
The White House released what’s being referred to as a transcript of Trump and Zelensky’s phone call. It was transcribed by people who were taking notes in the room while the call was happening, so even though it’s not exact, it’s treated as if it is. The call itself, as Trump has said on one occasion, is mainly congratulatory; the beginning of the call is Trump congratulating Zelensky on his election win.
That being said, days before the phone call took place, Trump called for vital military aid to Ukraine to stop, then delivered his now infamous line to Zelensky:
“I would like you to do us a favor though.”
The favor that Trump was referring to was for Ukraine to look into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who Trump suspects of corruption.
This is seen by many as an obvious quid pro quo, meaning “a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something.”
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and American Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland have both admitted to a quid pro quo.
Five out of six students contacted for their opinion made no comment. For a look at the views of the general country’s conservatives, there is a recent Fox News poll that states that a majority (51 percent) support the impeachment and removal of President Trump. If the largest mainstream pro-Trump news network has these kinds of results, then it’s fair to say that CHS would be similar.
Sophomore Xavier Van Raay (contacted via email) has been following the trial from a variety of sources, including Trump’s Twitter account.
“Whistleblowers have a legal right to expose information without being attacked,” said Van Raay. “This whistleblower is currently under attack by Trump, as he is giving threats to whoever it is.”
There is a complicated system of laws dating back to the 1860s that relate to whistleblower protection. There are always ways to attack them as well. The Espionage Act of 1917 is meant to prevent aid to American enemies during wartime and was used to attack Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning in 2013. If Trump insists that these new whistleblowers are aiding American enemies (he has previously claimed that the first whistleblower could be a “spy”), he could legally continue his attacks.
When asked what he thinks will be the outcome of the trial, Van Raay speculated.
“Either nothing or impeachment without discharging the President.”
Impeachment, as Van Raay goes on to say, is a complicated process that doesn’t necessarily mean the dismissal of a President.
“The senate are the ones who decide to kick out the President,” he said, “and at this time they are controlled by President Trump.”
“I support [impeachment], but I believe it should have happened sooner,” said Van Raay when asked about whether he wanted impeachment or the “ballot box” approach.
He explains how President Trump has a “blind following” that has prevented impeachment happening earlier.
“It is important that we are able to exercise our rights…and impeach who we believe is not fit to be the President,” Van Raay says.
Pelosi, the morning of December 10, released two articles of impeachment. One states that President Trump abused the power of his office, and the other states that he obstructed Congress in its investigation into his conduct in relation to Ukraine.
On December 18, after several hours of debate, the House of Representatives successfully impeached Trump, passing two articles of impeachment. They voted 230-197 on the abuse of power charge, and 229-198 on the obstruction of Congress charge. Pelosi has chosen to hold back the articles from the Senate because of questions about the fairness of the trial.
When the trial shifts to the Senate, at a currently unspecified date, Trump will either be exonerated or convicted and removed from office. Trump has recently called for a quick end to the trial. Still, the White House predicts that Trump will be completely exonerated in the Republican-led Senate.
There are practically hourly updates on impeachment proceedings. There are complications and intricacies at every turn, but this is still an historic time for the White House and the country.