President Trump and the Impeachment Process

Bye-Bye Mr. President: Is Trump's presidency over soon?

US President Donald Trump is in – what is arguably – the biggest crisis of his presidency. Russia’s influence of the past election and possible tax evasion are taking a back seat in light of what Trump is now being blamed for. Critics say it could be the premature end of his presidency. Democrats seem to agree. They have launched impeachment proceedings against President Trump, himself a Republican. What happened? Does impeachment have any chance of success? And what if Trump is removed from office?

What happened? Why should Trump be impeached?

Donald Trump has been in office for almost three years now – so next year’s presidential election will be held. The election campaign has already begun. Republicans are standing by Donald Trump for re-election. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders is emerging as the candidate whom Hilary Clinton won as the Democratic front-runner in the last election. On the other hand, Joe Biden is also running for election. Biden served as vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017 under Barack Obama.

Donald Trump, in particular, seems to see Biden as a potential threat. In an interview with Ukrainian President Selensky, Donald Trump is said to have asked for Ukraine to open corruption investigations against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. He did not provide any evidence to the evidence for those allegations.

Against the backdrop of the campaign and the fact that Joe Biden was running against Donald Trump as a candidate, Democrats see this as a violation of the Constitution. Democrats are therefore calling for a so-called impeachment.

Against the backdrop of the campaign and the fact that Joe Biden was running against Donald Trump as a candidate, Democrats see this as a violation of the Constitution. Democrats are therefore calling for a so-called impeachment.

This has been made possible above all by a whistleblower – that is, a person from the Circles of the White House who brings important information to the public from a protected context to the public. This whistleblower had published the relevant contents of the phone call between Trump and Selenski, setting the door on the impeachment process by the Democrats.

The Ukraine affair led to the impeachment of House Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi. At the last election, suspicions were raised that Russia was influencing the election. But Trump is not a presidential candidate now, but the incumbent president of the United States. A clear case of abuse of office.

As part of this process, the White House was initially asked to publish, for example, the transcripts of the phone call. However, the White House has already announced that it will refuse to cooperate in the investigation into the president’s impeachment.

Does the impeachment process have any chance of success?

The impeachment process goes through two instances. A simple majority in the House of Representatives is required to initiate the procedure. The Democrats have a majority here, so there should be no problem with that.

The real guilty verdict of Donald Trump becomes problematic. Because in the Senate, where a two-thirds majority would have to vote to remove the president, Trump’s Republicans have a majority.

However, the progress of the investigation, and thus the impeachment process, depends to some extent on the cooperation of the White House. Witnesses summoned so far, under pressure from the White House, had cancelled their hearings and had only finally appeared under the threat of punishment.

 

The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine also testified before Congress. She was abruptly released in May 2019 without cause. Her dismissal was probably related to the Ukraine affair, after all, as ambassador she had always stood up against the corruption allegations against the Bidens.

Actual impeachment may therefore remain unlikely. While there have been cases in the history of the United States in which impeachment proceedings have been initiated against the President-in-Office, they have always failed.

Presidents who should be removed once

  • President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 for violating congressional rights. However, the necessary two-thirds majority in the Senate was missed by one vote.

    Andrew Johnson

    1868
  • Hilary Clinton’s husband was also impeached during his tenure as president. Bill Clinton was indicted in 1999 on perjury and obstruction of justice in the Lewinsky affair. He is said to have had an affair with an intern. Both allegations were denied.

    Bill Clinton

    1999
  • The Watergate affair led to the impeachment of President Nixon in 1974. After the majority in the House of Representatives was already secure and the necessary two-thirds majority was also emerging in the Senate, Richard Nixon voluntarily resigned.

    Richard Nixon

    1974

Donald Trump has also been impeached in 2017. The reason for this is his role in the Russia affair and the firing of FBI Director James Comey, who was seen as obstructing justice. But what was only conjecture at the time is based this time on solid evidence. So what if impeachment actually succeeds?

What if the procedure is successful?

If Donald Trump is removed from office for a misdemeanor, the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: If the sitting president is unable to hold office, the Vice-President assumes the office of President. In this particular case, that would be Vice President Mike Pence. His policies, however, say it is likely to be far more conservative and right-wing populist than Trump’s. “A Christian, a conservative, a Republican – in that order,” Pence describes himself. He is seen as a good orator who always keeps a cool head – and thus has something ahead of Trump.

Mike Pence would then hold the presidency until the 2020 election. This would certainly fulfil his lifelong dream, which would be rather a nightmare in these circumstances. But it would also be possible – rumours in this direction already exist – that Pence will be drawn into the Ukraine affair. In this case, his office would also be excavated by a corresponding procedure. In this case, according to the Constitution, the president of the House of Representatives would follow suit, according to the Constitution: Nancy Pelosi.

But one thing is certain: Trump is coming under increasing pressure, because his tone – on Twitter, for example – is also becoming more aggressive. Still, Senate Republicans are not unlikely to hold on to their president. Whether Trump can continue to hold the presidency will be decided by voters in November 2020.

Sources: welt.de, sueddeutsche.de, fr.de, zeit.de, morgenpost.de, spiegel.de

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