Hearings dominating country

Impeachment inquiry starts hearings for the House of Representatives

Shelby Hansen

In the anticipation of the upcoming 2020 presidential election, a new situation has come to light regarding Donald Trump’s presidency. During a time where the economy is booming, the rivalry between political parties couldn’t be stronger. Democrats are trying to find their big campaigner for the upcoming election, and Republicans are staying behind Trump as he braves the polls for a second time. However, Democrats in the House of Representatives don’t seem to think Trump deserves another run. As allegations of Trump’s dealings with the Ukrainian government exploded to the public, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, along with other Democratic members of the House, initiated an impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24 to investigate these actions. 

A phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 was recently released to the public in transcript form by the White House after a “whistleblower,” or an unnamed intelligence official, wrote a letter over their concern of the phone call. This call included President Trump asking Zelensky to privately investigate the Bidens for damaging information that could possibly help him in the upcoming 2020 presidential election. This could be damaging for Trump instead, as the use of foreign entities for aid in winning an election is highly illegal.

Click here for the official phone call transcript

Trump is accused of participating in a “quid pro quo,” an interaction between two people in a favor-for-a-favor situation. It is stated that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine until they agreed to investigate the Bidens. This has not been proven, and it is a topic of conversation in the inquiry. If the quid pro quo did occur, this would mean that Trump committed bribery, which is specifically mentioned as an impeachable act in the Constitution.

Click here for the Constitution (Article II, Section 4)

The inquiry was initiated by Speaker Pelosi. She has stated that impeachment is “compelling, overwhelming and bipartisan,” and the country should not go down that path unless completely necessary due to how divisive the process is. Due to the importance and urgency of the allegations, Pelosi decided to open the investigation. 

In order to fully investigate an impeachment inquiry, the House of Representatives must vote on allowing the investigation to occur. On Oct. 31, the House voted on whether to begin public hearings from people involved in the situation, and the majority ruled yes 232-196. The hearings began on Nov. 13. 

One of the most anticipated hearings occurred Nov. 13. U.S ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified in front of the House last Wednesday. During his testimony, he stated that the president had ordered him, the then U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Energy Secretary Rick Perry to work with the president’s private attorney Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine policy, even though he was uncomfortable with Giuliani’s role in the situation. Sondland also confirmed the contents of the July 25 phone call and stated that other officials, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, were fully aware of what President Trump had asked them to do.

On the other side of the case, the Republican Party is stating that there is no case and that the Democrats are trying to find things wrong with President Trump’s actions in order to sabotage his campaign for 2020. They believe that President Trump’s efforts to investigate Biden and his family were perfectly acceptable.

As of now, the hearings will continue to occur until an impeachable offense is proven. Once House officials end hearings, the House will vote on whether to impeach Trump or not. As the House is currently ruled by the Democratic party, this could easily go wary, even if there is no impeachable offense. However, nothing has been fully proven yet, and a ruling will not be made until all of the hearings have been completed. 

Follow updates as the hearings progress.