For the fourth time in U.S. history, the House of Representatives has begun a presidential prosecution request, and members of the UM community have a lot to say about its potential implications for the future of U.S. politics.
House panels are attempting to decide if President Donald Trump violated his pledge to the oval office by requesting that Ukraine investigate his political adversary Joe Biden and his family. Further investigation is being conducted to uncover Ukraine’s ties to Trump’s victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Fiona Aronson, a junior majoring in creative advertising who identifies as a Democrat, said she thinks it is comical how Trump has been dealing with his presidency. In regards to impeachment, Aronson said he finds the lack of transparency from the government troubling.
“I am for impeachment of the president,” said Aronson. “I don’t feel like I can trust the government. I don’t think they are transparent.”
Based on several claims by anonymous sources on the abuse of power by the Trump administration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi started the impeachment inquiry Sept. 24.
“The impeachment inquiry hasn’t really changed my trust in politics,” said Nick Gillard, a junior majoring in finance and a registered Independent. “I don’t really trust politics at face value. I don’t think that the government is being completely truthful about the impeachment process. I feel like there are certain things that if they foreclosed to the general public, it would create chaos.”
These charges have been validated by numerous witnesses, including the U.S. top agent to Ukraine. The reports accuse Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, of partaking in a quid pro quo by withholding congressionally approved aid to pressure the Ukrainian government to take activities that would help Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign.
Democrats are now having concerns about the timing of the impeachment inquiry if it goes to trial in January, right before the Iowa caucuses. All the while, candidates are still trying to tackle the impending 2020 presidential election.
“I think the impeachment inquiry is a very tough subject to tackle,” said CNN White House correspondent Abby Phillip while participating on a panel at the National College Media Convention in Washington, D.C.
Phillip went on to say, “I think it’s going to be an incredible challenge for Democratic candidates to argue that they should be running against Trump in 2020 while also impeaching him from office. It’s going to be a tough balancing act, but that’s what they’re going to have to do.”
There are 53 Republicans in the Senate; Democrats would require 20 GOP members to vote in favor of the impeachment, assuming each of the 45 Democrats and two independents vote to convict him.
“Impeachment is not an easy or clear-cut process,” said Elisabeth Bumiller, the New York Times Washington Bureau Chief, in response to a question from Hurricane reporters during a panel at the National College Media Convention. “There are many other factors to take into account, such as voting, witnesses and testimonies that must be weighed. As journalists, it’s our job to convey that message to the people and allow them to ultimately make their own judgments.”
However, some say that the impeachment inquiry process is casting a negative light on the government on all ends of the spectrum. Many believe that due to Trump’s nearing end in office, the impeachment process should not be conducted.
“I feel like we should just wait for his term to end,” said Gillard. “I feel like impeaching the president would look a certain way to other countries. He only has a year left.”
With growing coverage both nationally and internationally, the impeachment process is spurring an increase in donations to both Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns.
“Impeachment is working for everyone in terms of fundraising; it’s historic,” said Brendan Quinn, the outreach and social media manager at the Center for Responsive Politics on OpenSecrets.org. “Democrats are involved more than ever and are trying to raise money, and Donald Trump has raised a ridiculous amount of money based off of the impeachment process too.”
Trump and his campaign manager stated Oct. 31 that the team has raised $3 million stemming from the impeachment battle alone.
“A new development now is that you’re allowed to develop a new talking point or ad and capitalize on that,” said Quinn.
He continued, “It is allowed for candidates to say ‘I just spoke at the impeachment inquiry, you should give me money so I can keep fighting this good fight if Donald Trump is reelected.’ Impeachment is making election way more expensive on both ends.”
Now, what lies ahead on Capitol Hill is State Department’s David Hale’s scheduled testimony Wednesday, Nov. 13. Russ Vought, acting chief of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry are not expected to attend.
Alessia Cusumano contributed to the reporting of this story.
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