by Nicole Silverio ’22
This week, opening arguments began in the Senate regarding the House of Representatives’ impeachment of President Donald Trump. Both Democrats and Republicans have spent the last week making their case of whether r not to remove President Trump. After both sides has the opportunity to ask questions, they will vote on whether or not to subpeona witnesses not yet heard in the investigation.
On December 16, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee released a report explaining the charges against the President. The charges against him are abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Democratic Party, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has accused President Trump of obstructing justice for contacting the Ukrainian president to investigate his political rival’s son. In October, the Intelligence, the Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees deposed witnesses involved with Ukrainian foreign policy testifying that Trump wanted the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to publicly announce investigations into Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden and Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company that Biden had served on the board of until 2019.
On December 18, 2019, the House of Representatives held a trial in which the representatives held hearings, the Democrats supporting impeachment and the Republicans against it. The final vote was largely along party lines, with all Republicans and three Democrats voting against the impeachment, while the majority of Democrats voted for impeachment, officially impeaching the president.
Speaker Pelosi sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate, where senators have been arguing for or against the president. Pelosi has named seven Democratic members of Congress as the managers who will argue for impeachment. “What is at stake here is the Constitution of the United States” said Pelosi during a press conference. According to Tucker Carlson, host of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, Senator Chuck Schumer explained that “even with no chance of removing President Trump at the end of the process, impeachment is still absolutely necessary for this country, and every other problem we face must go on hold to pursue it.”
Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, is setting rules for the chamber to vote on. Democrats have requested witnesses in the trial, but McConnell has refused this request. Republican senators delayed the vote to subpeona witnesses until after arguments have been made.
President Trump reported that he looks forward to having his due process in the Senate, the majority of which is Republican. Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri told CNN, “Our side has not changed our view on this. I think where House Democrats failed, and maybe Senate Democrats failed, were trying to use the time in a way that would wear us out and deny the president’s team any response this week.” Contrary to the senator’s opinion, CNN editor at large, Chris Cillizza, claims that 1 in 3 Republicans (32 percent) believe Trump has committed illegal acts either before or during his presidency. Despite their beliefs, the majority of them are willing to back Trump, believing he should not be removed from office.
Chairman Jerry Nadler accused Republicans of covering up President Trump’s crimes, claims to which the president’s lawyers, Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow, retaliated against. He has been accused by several Republican senators as being “especially partisan.” Adam Schiff, one of the impeachment managers, told CNN that “The President late last night bragged that he had the material. Indeed, they do have the material hidden from the American people. That is nothing to brag about. If the senators are serious about wanting to learn all the facts, if the President’s team wants to contest any of the facts, these documents and witnesses will need to be produced.” Democrats, to the dismay of Republicans, are desperately trying to withhold four Republican votes to obtain evidence and witnesses.
Due to the House Democrats’ vote last month, President Trump must endure the 2020 election through his impeachment, and may run against the political rival who he has had investigated. The question open for debate is whether President Trump’s impeachment will harm him or benefit him this upcoming November 3. The American people will either desire to vote an impeached president out of office, or turn their anger towards the Democrats for bringing the impeachment trials to life to begin with, perhaps believing that the impeachment has turned heads away from the real issues facing our nation. Only time will tell.