The first open inquiry into the impeachment of President Donald Trump was heard on November 13. The Democrat-led House of Representatives took testimony from William B. Taylor Jr., the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced a formal inquiry in September in the wake of a whistleblower complaint about a phone call between Trump and the Ukranian president. The transcript of the phone call allegedly contains evidence of Trump urging Ukraine to launch an investigation into a conspiracy theory surrounding 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden & implications that if the aforementioned is not completed, the United States would withhold military aid to Ukraine. This quid-pro-quo, which, if true, would be illegal.
After the rest of the key figures in the Ukraine phone calls testified in late November, the federal court will hold a hearing over the subpoena on December 10th. After all hearings, the Judiciary Committee will vote upon each proposed article of impeachment . If approved, it will then be sent to the House to get an official approval. If the House does approve articles of impeachment for the president, it triggers a trial in the Senate. In the constitution, it is unclear if the Senate is required to hold an impeachment trial; that, combined with Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s reputation to remain stagnant and not hold many trials in the Senate, suggests that, even if the House approves articles for impeachment, the trial may simply not be held. However, recent comments made by McConnell to reporters suggest that he may view impeachment hearings as obligatory.
Even if all these processes end up going through, the Constitution requires two-thirds approval from the Senate to immediately remove the president from office. This means that it would take only 34 of 54 Republican Senate members to acquit Trump of all charges (as the Senate currently holds a Republican majority); in essence, it would take 20 Republican Senate members defying their party to indict Trump, which does not seem likely.
It is hard to judge how the impeachment process will end, but either way, the proceedings will make an impact on both Trump’s reelection campaign and, on a broader scale, the decade.
Story by Madeline Tredway, Staff Writer