From the very moment after the dust settled from the 2016 elections, notions of impeachment started to break. Now three years into the Trump Presidency, impeachment proceedings have been launched. To start, Impeachment is a Constitutionally supported right. It is an element of the “Checks and Balances” system to ensure that no one branch of the government holds too much power. Instigating impeachment processes is not treason, nor is it unpatriotic – it is a testament to the democratic procedures established by the founding fathers and maintained for the last 230 years.
What does the Constitution say about impeachment?
Impeachment Procedures are written into the United States Constitution under Article 1, Sections 2,3, and 4. The main elements states that “the President, Vice President, and all Civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes of Misdemeanors.” The House of Representatives start the investigations and submit the official Articles of Impeachment to the Senate. A simple majority is needed for the adoption of the Articles of Impeachment. If the Articles are passed, the President will be “Impeached.” The Senate hold the official trial of impeachment and the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court will preside.
Currently there have been 10 impeachment hearings, 4 full impeachment investigations, and 2 Impeachment Trials (before the December 18th House Trump Impeachment vote), and no removals from the office of the President of the United States. Andrew Johnson was the first President to be impeachment. The vote in the Senate failed by 1 vote to remove Johnson from office.
Richard Nixon resigned before the impeachment articles were given to the Senate, and Bill Clinton was acquitted of all charges. It is also important to note that in almost every presidency, there have been impeachment inquiries/demands have been called for and even raised but have not gone anywhere.
Enter the 2019 Trump Impeachment Investigations. This presidency has been riddled with unprecedented rhetoric, behaviors, and events. Many witnesses have testified for months regarding the highly irregular aspects of behaviors and policies brought forth under the 45th President. The current Impeachment Investigations are stemming around the removal of Ukraine Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch in April, the withholding of Bipartisan Congressional approved military funding for Ukraine, phone calls between Trump and the Ukraine President, the involvement of Rudy Giuliani (currently Trump’s personal attorney), 2016 election tampering, proposed investigations on former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, and the continual obstructions by the White House.
On December 10th, two Articles of Impeachment were presented: Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. A simple majority passed both Articles on December 18th. The 45th President has become the 3rd President in US History to be Impeached.
Now, the Senate will take over. The Impeachment trial can go a few ways:
A. A vote can be called to dismiss the articles of impeachment. A simple majority decides. If in favor, the articles of impeachment are dismissed; life goes on and Trump continues being President.
B.The vote does not pass, more time is spent on the examination of evidence. Closing arguments/statements are made, and the Senate goes into deliberation and then to a Senate Vote. This vote needs a super majority (more then 2/3 of the entire Senate)
C. If the Senate votes against Impeachment, life goes on and Trump continues his Presidency.
D. If the Senate votes for Impeachment, President Trump will be removed from office. Important to note, impeachment and removal from office does not stop Trump from running again in the 2020 election or future elections if he does not win 2020. Senate also must vote to bar Trump from ever holding government office.
For a detailed overview check out the NY Times article.
I have been glued to the proceedings and have been fluctuating between shock, awe, disappointment, revulsion, anger, and terror. The testimonies have been enlightening and disheartening all at the same moment. There have been moments of incredible indomitable spirits like that of the testimonies of Maria Yovanovitch, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, and Dr. Fiona Hill.
I could have sworn I was watching a 1920s Chicago mobster when Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified.
There was a fourth Professor who testified for the Republican and his testimony was cringe worthy. Not only for the reasons he was against the investigations but because his current statements are in direct contradiction to his official statements during the Clinton Impeachment.
I have been consistently disgusted by the Republican representations in their actions, behaviors, and speech. The rudeness alone is a disgrace to this nation, but they have relied on disruptive behaviors to create an illusion that the proceedings have not been done correctly. The Republicans have repeatedly asked for information regarding the Whistleblower- a direct violation of the Whistleblower Protection act, cited not enough information or witnesses which is directly due to the White House stopping 11 key people from testifying including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and Rudy Giuliani.
Before the closed testimony of Laura Cooper, Republican Representatives stormed the secure room demanding their admittance. The leader of this was Florida Representative Matt Gaetz. This is important as Gaetz is not a member of the committee conducting the investigations hence he would not be included in those proceedings in any way. What is even stranger is that 13 of the 41 representatives protesting ARE part of that certain committee yet CHOSE NOT TO ATTEND.
And now, according to reports, phone records have indicated that Rep. Devin Nunes who has participating in the impeachment investigations was in contact with multiple people involved in these events and held phone calls during the time frame in question. And while I am not holding my breath on how the Impeachment Trial will go in the Senate, I am thankful that for the last three months, countless people have come forward and held the line for future generations to maintain that democracy and justice on US soil prevails.
Anjeanette LeBoeuf is currently during research for an upcoming book about Japanese Interment Camps. She is the Queer Advocate for the Western Region of the American Academy of Religion. Anjeanette also writes for the activist blog, Engaged Gaze. Her focuses are divided between South Asian religions and religion and popular culture. She has become focused on exploring the representations of women in all forms of popular culture and how religion plays into them. She is an avid supporter of both soccer and hockey. She is also a television and movie buff which probably takes way too much of her time, but she enjoys every minute of it. Anjeanette has had a love affair with books from a very young age and always finds time in her demanding academic career to crack open a new book.