Tis' The Season For Impeachment

12/27/2019

Twas' the night before Christmas, and all through the White House, a creature was stirring with each click of his mouse. 

On Christmas Eve, President Trump issued a series of tweets harboring on his impeachment and criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), suggesting that the House of Representatives is withholding sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate due to lack of sufficient evidence needed to fully remove him from office. 

Trump also tweeted a clip from Fox & Friends in which reporter Griff Jenkins stated, "When the president-and Republicans-make the case that the Trump Administration, Trump policies, have put our economy on a trajectory it has never been on, he's right."

The president continued to give the gift of tweets on Christmas Day, proving that even presidents forget to take a holiday.  

Nothing seems to be peachy keen since the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump last Wednesday for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, making him the third president in U.S. history to be impeached after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. 

However, both men stayed in office after being acquited in the Senate, a prediction that many in the nation believe will come true for President Trump.

Standing before the sea of business suit-clad men and women of the House, Pelosi read off the historic votes that would shock the nation.

"The yays are 230. The nays are 197. Article I is adopted," Pelosi said with a bang of her gavel. The second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, was also adopted with a vote of 229 to 198. 

At the start of the 11-hour impeachment debate, Pelosi described the event as "sad", but stated that President Trump "gave us no choice". 

"If we do not act now," Pelosi addressed the House, "we would be derelict in our duty. It is tragic that the president's reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice."

When discussing the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, Pelosi accused the president of being a threat to national security and to democracy when he allegedly tried to solicit the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, into investigating political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter in order to gain leverage in the 2020 presidential election.

"It is a matter of fact that the president is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections, the basis of our democracy," the Speaker said. "...The president used the power of his public office to obtain an improper, personal, political benefit at the expense of America's national security."

The Speaker then went on to explain the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, citing that Trump's refusal to comply with Congress during the investigation into his phone call with Zelensky was "never before seen" in U.S. history.

"When the president's wrongdoing was revealed, he launched an unprecedented, indiscriminate, and categorical campaign of defiance and obstruction," Pelosi emphasized. "Never before in the history of our nation have we seen a president declare and act as if he is above the law. The president goes even so far as to say and act on this absurdity when he says, 'Article II says I can do whatever I want.' No, it doesn't. "

At the end of the debate, the House voted almost entirely across party lines, as the Democrats are currently in control. However, in order for Trump to be considered completely impeached, these articles of impeachment must be sent to the Senate for their review, after which a trial will commence. The Senate must then have two-thirds of a vote in favor of impeachment for Trump to be officially removed from office.

Despite this vital step in the impeachment process, Pelosi has held off on sending the articles to the Senate in order to ensure that Republican leader Mitch McConnell will give a fair trial and will have witnesses on standby. However, Senator McConnell attributed Pelosi's hesitation to being fearful of going to trial.

"Looks like the prosecutors are getting cold feet in front of the entire country," McConnell said during a speech on the Senate floor, "and second-guessing whether they even want to go to trial."

Pelosi, on the other hand, is sticking by her decision to withhold the articles of impeachment, stating that she does not care what the Republican party has to say. This decision has now resulted in an impasse between both the House and the Senate.

While the two powerhouses bickered, the president himself held a rally in Battle Creek, Michigan where he told the crowd "it doesn't really feel we're being impeached."

Trump went on to tell the rallygoers that there was no wrongdoing done on his part as president, saying that the country is doing better ever since he took a seat at the White House.

"The country is doing better than ever before," Trump said amid the cheers of the crowd. "We did nothing wrong and we have tremendous support in the Republican party like we've never had before."

"This sacred season our country is thriving," the president continued, "and it's thriving truly like it has never happened before to this extent."

The president then addressed his previous contributions to Michigan, specifically citing fixing the state's roads, seemingly taking a jab at Pelosi in the process by stating, "I understand she's not fixing those potholes," which elicited boos from the crowd. 

Trump also went on to reminisce about former president Barack Obama. He attributed the former president's popularity in various countries to not fulfilling his duties as president at the time.

"If I ever become more popular," he explained, "that means that I'm not doing my job [and] you should say 'He's out.'"

 At the end of the rally, President Trump left Michigan with his final promises for America.

"We will make America wealthy again," he asserted. "We will make America strong again, we will make America safe again and we will make America great again."

Articles of Impeachment

The basis for Trump's impeachment all revolves around the infamous July 25 phone call between the president and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

According to the official document outlining the charges, President Trump abused his power in that he "solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential Election." 

The document argues that Trump sought to harm former Vice President Biden's chances of being elected by pressuring Zelensky into investigating Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden because the latter served on the board of Ukranian gas company, Burisma Holdings. 

The president is also accused of "compromising the national security of the United States," in which Trump allegedly tried to freeze $391 million in aid to Ukraine that was already established by Congress to release to the country.

Lastly, Trump is said to have asked President Zelensky to investigate a "discredited theory promoted by Russia" that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 United States Presidential election rather than Russia itself.

In an email obtained originally from CNN, Trump ordered the freezing of military aid to Ukraine after the phone call with Zelensky. Mike Duffey, Associate Director for National Security Programs and a White House official in the Office of Management and Budget [OMB], emailed select OMB and Pentagon officials to "hold off any on any additional DOD [Department of Defense] funds" to Ukraine.

Duffey then ends the email asking officials to keep the request between "those who need to know to execute the direction."

Email retained from CNN.
Email retained from CNN.

However, Rachel Semmel, a spokeswoman for the OMB dismissed the notion that the email was tied to the infamous phone call, calling the accusation "reckless."

In lieu of this information and the conclusion of the overall nature of the phone call, the House believes that there was quid pro quo, or exchanging a favor for a favor, on Trump's part.

The articles of impeachment document then outline the second charge, obstruction of Congress, stating that during the initial impeachment inquiry into the phone call-where the House issued subpoenas, or orders, to obtain documents and testimony to aid in the case-Trump "directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas."

In an October email from Pat Cipollone, White House Counsel, to Speaker Pelosi and the rest of the House Committee, Cipollone accused the party of implementing an unfair impeachment inquiry, stating that their demands were "contrary to the Constitution of the United States." 

Cipollone also concluded that the DNC simply sought to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election in an attempt to "deprive the American people of the president they have freely chosen."

To read the rest of the articles of impeachment, click here

What Americans Think

In a recent poll conducted by CNN political analyst Harry Enten, support for Democratic candidates has decreased from October since the news of Trump's impeachment, while support for the president himself has steadily increased.

According to Enten, support for Trump may have increased due to Americans' views on today's economic conditions, where 76 percent of people believe the economy is in good condition as opposed to only 22 percent who think the economy is poor. 

At the start of Donald Trump's presidency, the nation has suffered a great divide. Now with an impeachment underway, Americans are even more at an impasse themselves. Yet, because the Senate is controlled by the Republican party, many believe the president will escape impeachment, much like Johnson and Clinton.

Garfield Holland is no stranger to the world of politics. Currently, in the running for New York State Assembly for District 87, Holland told Finnie Says that he is unsure of how the country will be affected if Trump is officially removed from office. 

"It's pretty unique. Normally, the stock market takes a hit when a president is impeached," Holland said. "Our stock market hasn't plummeted yet." 

Holland said that the Republican party did not defend Trump's actions during the initial impeachment hearings, instead focusing on how the DNC went about the impeachment procedures. The political candidate also did not believe Trump's impeachment will have a negative effect on his supporters.

"I don't think the impeachment will sway any of Trump's hardcore supporters," Holland began. "The MAGA crew is like a cult. It doesn't matter what Trump says or does, they're going to ride out for him."

Despite Holland's thoughts towards how the Republican party went about Trump's impeachment, the potential assemblyman said the Democrats "played it safe" by charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

"I believe they phrased it so generally so that they could bring up the Mueller report if they needed to," Holland said.  "Personally, I felt that Trump has been abusing his power for a long time."

"The abuse of power charge is because he tried to pressure the leader of Ukraine into investigating Biden's son," he continued. "We all know he did it. Trump told on himself. The second charge, obstruction of Congress, is because the president refused to cooperate with Congress when they were investigating him. The man kept trying to convince staffers and others to ignore subpoena requests. This is a no-brainer."

Holland went on to say that he would have also voted to impeach Trump, citing the need to hold everyone accountable, including the President of the United States. Holland is also not worried about Vice President Mike Pence potentially succeeding Trump due to the national belief that the president will not be removed from office.

"Even if he did," Holland began, "I think Pence is limited by the strength of the House of Representatives. I also think Pence cannot win a general election on his own. He's not polarizing or a spectacle the way Trump is."

Overall, Holland concluded that Trump should have been impeached a long time ago, especially due to the president granting former sheriff Joe Arpaio pardon back in 2017.

"I thought they needed to investigate whether Trump was allowed to pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio," the political candidate said. "He was in trouble for violating a federal court order. I think it's shady if the Executive Branch can overturn a conviction of someone for blatantly violating the Judicial Branch's decision."

"Arpaio was told by a federal judge to stop being racist," Holland continued, "because he was treating Hispanics horribly. He was allegedly referring to border detention camps as his own concentration camp. Trump should not have wiped his slate clean."

While Holland agreed with the two articles of impeachment the House issued against Trump, Keenan Barrot, a recent graduate from Pace University, believed that the DNC "chose a pretty bad issue to impeach Trump on."

"My overall view of the current impeachment is that it is ultimately more of a performative act than a legitimate stance," the Syracuse-native said. "The left has been warning against trying to impeach Trump for over a year, but our concerns have largely been brushed off by the democratic establishment like Nancy Pelosi and [Senator] Chuck Schumer."

Like Holland, Barrot came to the conclusion that the Senate would not vote to impeach Trump. He also stated that although he believed the president committed both articles of impeachment, there were more significant actions that Trump could have been reprimanded for rather than abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

"Yes, I think he did it but it's such a convoluted issue that he can easily turn around on Biden because his son was obviously involved in corruption," the college graduate began. "Trump has a laundry list of impeachable offenses that would have been much more effective at damaging his character. The biggest two are the emoluments case that the southern district of New York has been putting against Trump and his continued support of a legitimate genocide in Yemen."

"President Jimmy Carter had to sell his peanut farm because the Constitution expresses that the president should relinquish business ties so that foreign powers won't be able to influence your decisions as commander-in-chief," Barrot continued. "Trump has been funneling money through his resorts, hotels, golf courses, et cetera, and it has a clear and undeniable effect on his policies. Like how the Saudi Arabian officials spent $500,000 in one of Trump's hotels and then magically, Trump gave them a $100 billion weapons deal. This is compounded on by the fact that they are using our weapons to commit genocide in Yemen that we are currently backing."

"...Things like these are much more serious topics that the American people should be legitimately invested in."

Barrot went on to say that Pelosi withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate would have no significant impact on the overall result of the trial, stating that the articles were not as effective for Trump to be removed from office as opposed to bribery or aiding in genocide.

The Syracuse-native also said that he "wouldn't have supported the idea of impeachment as a political strategy," but that he would vote to remove Trump if it were already in motion. 

"I feel like if Trump were to be impeached for such abstract concepts, it would one hundred percent rile up his base," he said. "When Democrats have been talking about impeachment since Trump was elected and they finally do it months before the next election instead of allowing the people to vote, it's sure to leave a bad taste in some people's mouths."

In the end, Barrot believed that the fate of Trump's presidency should lie in the hands of Americans.

"It plays to the victim complex that the right currently pushes about them being silenced when we really don't need to since elections are in November," Barrot concluded. "We can let the people decide instead of a Congress disconnected from us that don't care about the issues and will just vote yes or no along party lines."

Freelance writer Kevin Czerwinski, who has written for USA Today and was a Media Relations Director for New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, has followed politics since the days of the Watergate Scandal. Czerwinski told Finnie Says that the main problem with Trump's impeachment was that the DNC "doesn't have a real crime" and that everything was based on hearsay.

"It's all very partisan," Czerwinski started. "If you're a Democrat, he is Satan and he did it. If you're a Republican, he didn't. The problem is most of the Democrats in the House wanted to impeach him about 20 minutes after he was elected. Doesn't help their credibility."

In regards to Pelosi's decision to withhold the articles from the Senate, Czerwinski pointed out that the House Speaker did not have to force the Senate to act on her terms.

"Plus, the Democrats didn't let the Republicans call witnesses in the House and that was an issue," he said. "And if [Pelosi] doesn't send [the articles of impeachment] over to the Senate, then the whole thing was a financial waste and a farce."

In the end, Czerwinski foreshadowed future events if one false step by the DNC is taken over the next course of impeachment.

"If they aren't careful," Czerwinski warned, "they can lose the House and the White House for the next eight years."

Trump is set to go trial in January. As some Americans countdown to ring in the new year, many more will be counting down the road to impeachment.