The Brink of Impeachment

Tad Koenigsbauer ’20

 On Tuesday September 24th, 2019 the United States received shocking revelations that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will proceed with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, for withholding money from the Ukraine in exchange for political dirt on 2020 Presidential candidate Joe Biden. 

 If there is evidence to determine that President Trump is guilty of these accusations, he could be removed from office. Pelosi stated in a formal address to the nation, “the actions taken today by the president have seriously violated the Constitution… the president must be held accountable, no one is above the law.” 

 These actions taken by the Speaker were instigated by a whistleblower complaint, regarding the President and a foreign world leader. The complaint revolved around a phone call between Trump President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. 

 The phone call consisted of many things regarding relations between America and Ukraine, but it was confirmed by the President himself no less, that Trump asked Zelensky to look into corruption allegations against Presidential candidate, Joe Biden. 

 Additionally, Trump hinted at withholding funds to aid Ukraine, and indicated he would turn the funds to them in exchange for an investigation. 

 It has recently been revealed by NBC that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was listening in on the call. These reports came after Pompeo claimed he had no knowledge of the incident as it took place, a statement we now know to be false. The entire conversation has been released to the public, and the whistleblower has agreed to testify before Congress, which they have just now agreed to. 

 On September 24th, the Speaker of the House came forward and stated that after months of waiting, she and her congressional colleagues would begin the process of drawing up articles of impeachment against the President. The President has not stayed quiet on this front, going as far as to call the inquiry an attempted coup.

 Before coming to any conclusions, it is important to know what impeachment actually is. Defined in the Constitution’s Article II Section 4, “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 and Misdemeanors.”  

 Impeachment passes through the Legislative branch of the government, first through Congress, who will vote for impeachment based on a majority, and then through the Senate, in which there will be a formal trial, and the Senators will vote to remove then President from office based on a two thirds majority. While the Democrats hold a majority in the House of Representatives, they lack one in the Senate and require a supermajority of sixty seven senators to vote in favor of impeachment. Of the current one hundred people serving in the United States Senate, only forty five of them are Democrats. 

 I encourage all of the students of Berkshire to pay close attention to this, as the following weeks and months could have drastic effects on the upcoming 2020 Presidential election, and the legacy of the early twenty first century. I would also encourage you all to bring this up in conversations in your classes, or in dorms, or at meals. 

 If you are already having these conversations, it is important to remember that just because you have a certain opinion of politics, that does not mean it is the only one that is legitimate. Every argument needs to be heard, even if you disagree with it.

 I would actually encourage you to listen to sources that you don’t normally agree with, as they can help you understand a different perspective regarding this debate. These next few weeks will be controversial, but if handled with civility and cool heads, they could become incredibly informative.