Trump impeachment inquiry

Dagmawi Tilahun, P.R. manager

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi approved an impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump Sep. 24, 2019. Since then, Congress has been investigating an alleged plot by President Trump. The accusation being conspiracy to use the power of his office to create interference from Ukraine in the 2020 election through the investigation of a political opponent  Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Democrats have claimed that these alleged actions are grounds for impeachment, while the GOP have dubbed President Trump’s actions as concerning, but ultimately not a basis for impeachment. 

President Trump has been accused by the Democrats on trying to operate on a “quid pro quo” (I help you, you help me) basis with the Ukraine by holding tax payer funds from the Ukraine in order to garner an investigation on a political opponent Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. This is seen in the eyes of the Democratic party as a gross misuse of presidential power. These accusations are based on eyewitness accounts from whistleblowers.

President Trump confirmed he withheld the funding but suggested it was because other European countries should pay for Ukraine’s military aid. Trump later said he will release a transcript of his phone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

House Republicans stormed a closed-door hearing on Oct. 23, 2019 to protest Democrats’ impeachment inquiry process, breaking up the deposition of a top Defense Department official who was testifying about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Trump suggested aid to Ukraine may have been withheld over “corruption” issues without citing the Bidens. 

“If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt? So it’s very important that, on occasion, you speak to somebody about corruption,” said Trump to reporters at the U.N.

“They crashed the party,” said Rep. Harley Rouda, a member of the Oversight and Reform Committee, one of three House panels leading the impeachment probe.

Dozens of Republicans, including members of leadership like House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, barged into the secure hearing room in the Capitol basement where Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, was set to provide private testimony. The deposition got underway after a five-hour delay.

Several lawmakers said that, in response to the Republican protest on Oct.23 morning, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff  left the room with Cooper and postponed her interview.

“The fact that Adam Schiff won’t even let the press in, you can’t even go in and see what’s going on in that room. Voting members of Congress are being denied access from being able to see what’s happening behind these closed doors, where they’re trying to impeach the president of the United States with a one-sided set of rules, they call the witnesses,” House Rep. Stephan Scalise told reporters outside the hearing room.

The impeachment inquiry that started out as private sessions amongst members of the House intelligence committee quickly moved to a public and televised setting. Since the House of representatives are the deciding factor in whether President Trump is impeached is a matter of whether the Democrats who hold the majority are convinced after the hearings that there was a misuse of presidential power. If they are convinced, the inquiry will transform into full-blown impeachment where the President stands trial before the Senate.