Capitol Hill combat: impeachment edition

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Capitol Hill combat: impeachment edition

Giuliani courtesy of Marc Nozell, White House courtesy of Agnosticpreacherskid, Trump and Pelosi courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Capitol Hill courtesy of Larzs Di Scenza

Giuliani courtesy of Marc Nozell, White House courtesy of Agnosticpreacherskid, Trump and Pelosi courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Capitol Hill courtesy of Larzs Di Scenza

Giuliani courtesy of Marc Nozell, White House courtesy of Agnosticpreacherskid, Trump and Pelosi courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Capitol Hill courtesy of Larzs Di Scenza

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Right now, the United States government is going through a process last carried out twenty years ago: the impeachment of a president. With the official hearings underway, tensions are high on Capitol Hill.

Democrats are saying the impeachment is necessary in order to hold the president accountable for his actions and ensure that no public official can be above the law. Republicans are fighting back with accusations that the House has behaved unconstitutionally and used this as an opportunity to act on their personal vendetta against the president.

Donald Trump himself has uncharacteristically remained somewhat outside of the affair, taking to Twitter to question the whistle blower’s credibility, proclaim that the whole ordeal is a “witch hunt” and not much else.
New information is being revealed, questioned and examined everyday. With so much happening so fast, it’s important to keep in mind what began the calls for impeachment and how the situation has grown into what it is today.

I feel like Donald Trump really should be impeached. Not only did he try to get Ukraine to interfere with the U.S. election, but he’s also canceling military aid to them until they give him information on the Bidens”

— Chara Sarr, ‘25

In May 2014, Hunter Biden, the son of former vice president and current 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden, joined the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma Holdings. Five years later, post Biden’s exit from the company, an investigation into Biden requested by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani occurred.

Yuri Lutsenko, Prosecutor General of Ukraine, found no evidence of Biden violating any Ukrainian laws. The matter seemed to be settled until July 25, 2019, when Trump called Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy with a request for another investigation into corruption for both Joe and Hunter Biden, implying that he would send military aid in return.

Throughout September, the news of Trump’s request slowly became public. First, an anonymous whistle blower came forward with suspicions of the call’s legality. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, announced the beginning of an official impeachment inquiry, the White House released a modified transcript of the call, the official whistle blower complaint was made public and Mike Pompeo and Rudy Giuliani were subsequently subpoenaed.

Moving through October, the situation is complicated by a second Ukraine-related whistle blower. In an official letter, the White House announced that it will not comply with the House’s investigation, believing it to be unconstitutional. More and more Trump officials were brought in to testify, and on Oct. 31, the House voted to officially move forward with impeachment hearings and other procedures.

I think this is a ridiculous and time-wasting inquiry, and it’s not worthy of the time of investigators and officers of the court – President Trump has [done] nothing wrong.”

— Daniel Chaitkin, ‘25

When asked their opinions on what’s going in Washington, WHHS students’ opinions were scattered. Some see clear evidence of a quid pro quo (exchanging a favor for a favor) and think the investigation is deserved.
“I feel like Donald Trump really should be impeached. Not only did he try to get Ukraine to interfere with the U.S. election, but he’s also canceling military aid to them until they give him information on the Bidens,” Chara Sarr, ‘25, said.

Others were more focused on the reality of Congress and the complex politics of impeaching a president. “I feel like Trump will not be removed from office even if he is impeached. The Senate is full of Republicans, and I don’t think they’re going to let that happen,” one student said. This shines a light on a popular prediction many have for how the impeachment will shake out. The Democrat controlled House will impeach him, but the Republican majority in the Senate will vote to not remove him from office.

“I don’t think they really have all that much to go on besides the whistle blower complaint,” Andrew Culbertson, ‘22, said. Some students are skeptical of the validity of the whistle blower and think the impeachment is pointless considering the next presidential election is only a year away.

Another group of students are in the innocence camp. “I think this is a ridiculous and time-wasting inquiry, and it’s not worthy of the time of investigators and officers of the court – President Trump has [done] nothing wrong,” Daniel Chaitkin, ‘25, said.

The variety of opinions held by WHHS students is representative of the country’s polarized and uncertain outlook on the impeachment. Trump’s continued refusal to cooperate and the House’s equally strong push back has almost created a stalemate, despite new congressional testimonies. Americans are left stuck in the middle, unsure of the president’s future. With the 2020 elections on the horizon, the long term effects of the impeachment are unknown.