Ever since assuming office in January 2017, US President Donald Trump has been marred in controversy after controversy but this time it might have been a little close for the president.
The US Democratic Party might have a chance to finally have a chance to impeach President Trump. The recent uproar regarding the recent scandal of President Trump having a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart discussing the possible investigation into Former Vice- President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Joe Biden is currently running for the candidacy of the US Democratic Party, has launched a scathing attack on the attempts of using the investigation to offset his chances to win the Presidency.
This is not the first time that Donald Trump has been accused of colluding with foreign entities, after his election an inquiry into the possible influence of Russia in the elections also was done.
Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, has given the go-ahead on an inquiry against the president and to see if there are enough grounds to formulate the articles of impeachment.
For the time, the many committees who have been investigating into many of the accusations against the US President have been asked to continue their hearings and investigations as a part of the inquiry.
The Ukrainian question
The inquiry follows after recent revelations came up regarding US President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The nature of the phone call is alleged to be using his clout to initiate an investigation in US Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
It is said that when Joe Biden was serving as the Vice President, his son Hunter was named on the board of a Ukrainian Oil Company.
Ukraine has been riddled with the problem of corruption and has been warned by several countries to address the issues, many leaders also came out to force the Prosecutor General out in the failures of not being able to address the problem. It was after pressure exerted on the country by Biden that a new Prosecutor General was placed.
The news came into light after a complaint was lodged by a whistleblower to the Intelligence Inspector General. The Inspector-General then reminded the Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to notify the Congress about the complaint, which the Director chose to ignore. Forcing the Inspector General to reveal the complaint to the Congress and that it was the administration which was withholding the complaint.
It is also alleged that the Trump administration had withheld the aids which were meant to be given to Ukraine and trying to arm-twist them into re-launching of an investigation into the Ukrainian Oil company as well as the role of both Hunter Biden as well as Joe Biden.
Move to start an impeachment inquiry
The attempts to derail the chance of his opponent Joe Biden to win the Presidency would remind the US Democratic Party about the 2016 US Presidential Elections and the smear campaign against Hillary Clinton.
Trying to learn from their lessons, they would be really careful about the next few steps as it can be the definitive moment which can either win them the presidency or lose them the presidency.
Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House had her reservations against launching a formal inquiry into the impeachment of the President in the House of Representatives. Historically, it has often backfired against the party who launches the inquiry.
In 1999, when then US President Bill Clinton had been impeached in the House, a Senate trial was unable to find him guilty. Since senate trials are not appealable, means that the senate is the final decision maker in the case of impeachment.
Till yet, only two Presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives. President Bill Clinton in 1999 and President Andrew Johnson in 1868. But both failed to pass the Senate Trial.
The Democrats would be careful over treading the troubled waters as it could impact their political bases in battleground states as well as key voting districts. The Muller investigations had failed to create a major impact on the American voters even though it does not conclusively rule out the President of the charges.
The Russia investigation was over the possible collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russian officials at a time when President Trump was a private citizen who was running for the presidency.
For the US Democratic Party, it would be crucial to find ground to draft the articles of impeachment and if it fails would result in a major shift in the country. It would not only lose seats like the Republicans did after they failed to impeach the President but fear long term damages who ripple effect will stay long enough for years to come.
While the President calls this inquiry another ‘witch-hunt’ against his administration, this scandal could deal irreparable damage to his administration. He has admitted to the existence of the call and discussing Biden during the call. Further stating that he would release the transcripts of the call. It may be another watergate moment for the US.
The House has been in touch with the Acting DNI as well as with the White House to release the unredacted copy of the complaint filed by the whistleblower. The announcement of the probe had seen a reaction by the US President via a tweet calling it ‘presidential harassment’. On the accusation of blocking the aid to pressure the Ukrainian government into reopening of the probe against Biden, the president has denied having done any of this calling it another ‘Witchhunt’.
For Former Vice-President Joe Biden, a damage control caused by the revelation of the scandal has been in effect. Defending his stance in the crisis could have been an option but he has launched an attack on the President by backing the inquiry. If the inquiry fails to find any grounds for the Articles of Impeachment would have a drastic impact on his numbers. As of now, he has been in pole position to win the Nomination of the US Democratic Party. If his role in the scandal is proven, it would have major political backlash for his political career.
Since the announcement of the inquiry, House Democrats have been rallying behind the speaker and supporting the decision while the House Republicans are defending the President.
During her address, Nancy Pelosi had called the actions of the president as a ” breach of his constitutional responsibilities.”
The current political climate and the fallout of the conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Muller’s testimony have been unsettled and the latest accusations if proven could shape the politics in the United States in a very dangerous manner. With the days further, the Acting DNI is yet to appear to testify in front of the House might be able to provide insight regarding the nature of the scandal.
With the elections due in 2020, it will be a test for the President to be able to survive the scandal and resume his duties. If the articles of impeachment are tabled it would lead to a trial in the Senate which would need a two-thirds majority to remove the president which will put the vice-president to take charge.
(Inputs from Agencies)