Trump opens an impeachment inquiry by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political opponent.
It turns out that there is actually a limit to how much the American congress will allow Trump to get away with. For the past two years, horrified observers have looked on as Trump has separated asylum seekers from their children for maximum psychological pain, prevented citizens of seven Muslim majority countries from entering the United States and placed a man accused of sexual assault on the Supreme Court. It turns out however that pressuring a foreign political leader to investigate your political opponent is a step too far.
This current scandal began when an individual working within the White House submitted a whistleblower report in which they claim to have seen a transcript of a phone call Trump had with Ukrainian President Zelensky. The whistleblower goes on to say that Trump pressured Zelensky to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Trump is said to have told Zelensky that 400 million dollars of military aid, already set aside for Ukraine by congress, would be held up until the investigation happened.
Trump’s request stems from an event that took place during President Obama’s term in office. At that time, Vice President Biden urged the then President of Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was looking into a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, that his son sat on the board of. Biden wanted him fired for corruption but Trump claims that he did so to protect his son from a criminal investigation. However, Biden was far from the only one who wanted the prosecutor fired. The EU, IMF, World Bank, as well as various other organisations all, wanted the prosecutor gone as they saw him as ineffective.
The President’s critics point to the phone call as a brazen act of corruption which constitutes abuse of office, an impeachable offence under the US constitution. This has finally pushed the democrats to act and open a formalised impeachment inquiry. The house, the lower division of Congress, which was once controlled by Trump’s own party is now in the control of the opposition who are moving forward dramatically with televised hearings on those connected with the phone call.
So far, they have heard from three people connected to the call: George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs; Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine; and Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. The impeachment inquiry will continue for the next few weeks as democrats look for more evidence before holding a vote on impeachment.
The public has had their say on the matter and according to an ABC poll, 70% of Americans say Trump’s actions tied to Ukraine were wrong. Furthermore, a slim majority of Americans, 51%, believe Trump’s actions were both wrong and he should be impeached and removed from office. However, Trump’s core base looks unlikely to abandon him and with his party controlling the Senate, the upper house that can remove a president, it seems unlikely that he will be going any time soon.
By Sakariya Yasin