According to The New York Times, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that the House of Representatives would be launching an impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump on Sept. 25, 2019. This sudden action on impeachment by House Democrats was caused by a whistleblower complaint concerning a phone call that took place on Jul. 25, 2019, between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The whistleblower, whose identity is still unknown, alerted the government to the call between Trump and Zelensky. According to CBS News, after coming under fire for a lack of transparency, President Trump then released a rough transcript of the phone call. Some view this rough transcript as evidence of wrongdoing, but in my opinion, the transcript offers no hard evidence of crimes or abuses of power by the president.
During the call, President Trump mentioned current Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. As vice president, Joe Biden used U.S. loan guarantees to pressure Ukraine to remove an allegedly corrupt prosecutor who happened to be investigating the energy company where Hunter Biden worked, as reported in a USA Today article. Trump’s allusion to Biden made some question whether Trump was asking a foreign power to investigate his possible opponent in the 2020 election. Although these claims are relevant, I think we ought to consider that there is currently no concrete evidence that President Trump withheld foreign aid from Ukraine to pressure them into investigating Biden.
Once the news broke of this situation and the controversy erupted, I immediately thought of a letter that three Democratic Senators sent to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine in May of 2018. In this letter, according to CNN, the Senators urged Ukraine to comply with Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Trump. I can definitely see a parallel between this letter and Trump’s call to the Ukrainian President. However, this current situation surrounding the president becomes very different if anyone can prove that Trump engaged in quid pro quo.
I also think that it’s worth looking at the cause for impeachment and whether the President committed treason, bribery or other high crimes or misdemeanors.
Regardless, I think that impeachment is a losing strategy for Democrats. By pursuing impeachment, Democrats may turn off independent voters who are simply looking for action on important issues facing America, such as gun violence and homelessness. These independent voters may decide to sit out in 2020 or even vote for Donald Trump in retaliation against the Democratic Party. Furthermore, the impeachment inquiry has spurred enthusiasm among Republicans, with the Republican National Committee receiving $5 million in donations on Sept. 25 when Nancy Pelosi announced the inquiry. Republican voters are generally against impeachment and will rally around the president as he faces bold opposition from Democratic politicians, who feel that Trump must be held accountable for the alleged abuse of power.
It seems that the current controversy about the whistleblower complaint has further damaged international relations from the perspective of the United States. Since the phone call between Trump was released and dissected, other foreign leaders may be hesitant to speak to American leaders for fear of publication of their calls. In turn, this might damage any peace or economic negotiations with other countries for years to come.
Impeachment of this president will benefit almost no one, simultaneously marring international relations and stimulating further political polarization in America. Will impeachment be the breaking point for America?