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IMPEACHMENT ENQUIRY AGAINST DONALD TRUMP
RISHABH SACHDEVA 24 Dec 2019

IMPEACHMENT ENQUIRY AGAINST DONALD TRUMP

The Democratic-led House of Representatives has impeached United States President Donald Trump for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power linked to his relations with Ukraine. On 18 December 2019, historic impeachment votes come after House Democrats ' more than two-month review, accusing the president of forcing Ukraine to open an investigation into the matter.

"The votes only put Trump to the Court as the third president in the history of United States and set the stage for possible trial in the Republican Senate in January"

The Impeachment Enquiry against Donald Trump was started by Nancy Pelosy (House Speaker)  on 24 September 2019 after whistle-blower claimed that Donald Trump could have manipulated the presidential  power by withdrawing military aid as a way of forcing the newly elected president of Ukraine  Volodymyr Zelensky to achieve two favors:

a) To pursue investigations of Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and

b) To investigate a conspiracy theory  that Ukraine not Russia was behind interference in Presidential election 2016

The inquiry was focused on July 25 91minute call during which Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to open an investigation into Biden and his friend , Hunter who had served on the board of a Ukrainian Gas Company. There was no evidence of Bidden wrongdoing. The fatefull phone call is the key for the abuse of power charge on which Mr Trump has been Impeached. 

In October, three full Congressional committees (Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affair’s) deposed witnesses including Ukrainian ambassador Bill Taylor, Laura Cooper (the top U.S. policy officer in the Pentagon) and former U.S. policy officer Fiona Hill in the White House.  On 8 October in a letter to House Speaker Pelosi from White House Council Pat Cipollone, the White House formally replied that it would not cooperate with the investigation due to the concerns including the fact that entire House of Representative had not yet voted and that interviews with witness were  conducted privately. On October 17, in response to a reporter's allegation of quid pro quo, White House acting staff chief Mick Mulvaney said "We do that with every Foreign Policy all the time. Get over it". He walked back his remarks later in a day saying that there had been "absolutely no quid pro quo" and trump had withdrawn militiary aid from Ukraine over concerns about the corruption of the nation. 

The House of Representatives voted 232–196 on October 31 to create public hearing rules, which began on November 13. When hearings began, Adam Schiff , Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said President Trump could have committed corruption, which is explicitly stated in Article Two as an unjustifiable crime in the Constitution. In November 2019, twelve government witnesses delivered private and public congressional testimony indicating that Trump sought political favors in return for official action.  On 10 December, the House Judiciary Committee released its impeachment articles: 

1. One for power abuse and,

2. One for Congress obstruction 

The House Judiciary Committee published a report on 16 December outlining criminal charges of corruption and wire fraud as part of the abuse of power charges. The House voted 230-197 on December 18 to approve the first of two articles of impeachment one alleging that he misused his office's power to force Ukraine to prosecute the Bidens. The House voted 229 to 198 on a second article accusing him of obstructing Congress.

The suspense will now shift to the Senate for next month's trial to be presided by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. With a two-thirds majority needed to convict the president, Trump's acquittal in the chamber run by the Republicans is not assured. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already declared that he is not an impartial juror and is setting a course to bring the proceedings to a swift calculation. No firm date has been set for a Senate jury, but McConnell said that after returning to Washington, DC in the New Year, it will be the "first order of business" of the house.

Is Trump Out of Office?

No the trump is not out of office. The House's impeachment does not immediately remove an American President from office.  Impeachment means that “a majority of House members approved the articles presented against the President and set the stage for his Senate trial”. With the support of at least two-thirds of the Senate (that is 67 Senators in the 100-member U.S. Senate), a President may be convicted and removed from office. The Republicans have a total of 53 seats in the new Senate, while the Democrats have 47 (including two Independents). This means that for Mr. Trump to be convicted, the Democrats must ensure that none of their Senators cross the line of the party and that at least 20 Republicans do so and vote for the conviction— an impossibility given the Capitol's partisan mood. The Republicans have so far dismissed the charges against the President

In the unlikely event that Trump is convicted and removed from office by the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence would become president and complete Trump's term ending on January 20, 2021.

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