US President Donald Trump has been facing the flak ever since he assumed office in January 2017. The class for impeaching the current US President have been louder and sharper with each passing day. It all started when speculations of collusion with Russia surfaced. The allegations were that the Trump campaign had been in talks with Russia over recovering materials to discredit Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
It was only a matter of days when the National Security Advisor, Micheal Flynn was being investigated over his alleged meeting with the Russian ambassador at the time, Sergey Kislyak. Soon, reports of the White House is concerned with the investigation had started to come in. The dismissal of FBI chief, James Comey, had raised some brows within the political establishment.
The developments regarding the dismissal of Comey had painted a picture of the White House interfering with the FBI investigation. With many in the dark regarding the length of the alleged collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia, an investigation into the matter had begun.
The recent debacle regarding an alleged phone call between the US President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has again started the impeachment debate again. According to media reports, the US President had allegedly pressured Ukraine into investigating Democratic Presidential Candidate hopeful Joe Biden. This has started another attempt to impeaching the president over another collusion charge.
Not the first time
It is not the first time a sitting US President and his involvement in a scandal has rocked the US Politics. In 1974, them US President Richard Nixon had come close to being impeached. He had resigned just before the Impeachment proceedings would conclude.
The United States has been able to impeach only two presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Despite being impeached in the House of Representatives, they were failed to be impeached in the Senate trial as they did not have the two-thirds majority as required.
An impeachment will be able to force a president to step down from the office and face persecution.
Special Counsel Investigation in Russia Investigation
Within a few weeks of allegations of the Trump campaign surfacing, the US Congress had set up a Special Counsel Investigation under the charge of Former FBI Director Robert Muller. He had been tasked to see if there was any collusion or did the White House try to obstruct the agencies from conducting its investigations.
It took two years for the investigation to come to its conclusion. It had managed to indict several people including Trump Campaign chief Paul Manafort, Trump’s personal lawyer Micheal Cohen and many more. It also failed to conclude if the president was involved in the crimes as per under his purview and neither did it completely exonerate the President.
Despite this, when the Special Counsel was called to testify in front of Congress. He had managed to defend his findings and explain to the members about the implications of the others who had been indicted for their alleged role.
During a conversation between Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, it is said that the US President had used his sway in order to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden and his son. Hunter Biden happened to be a director at a Ukrainian natural gas company when Joe Biden was serving as the Vice-President under the Obama Administration.
It was not until a whistleblower’s complaint to the Intelligence Inspector General had become public in the case. The complaint as per protocol had to be forwarded to the US Congress by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). At the time the Director Of National Intelligence, Dan Coats retired and the acting DNI decided to not notify the congress. It was after the House Intelligence Committee Chairperson, Adam Schiff was notified by the Intelligence Inspector General about the complaint.
Speculations had started regarding the nature of the conversation when the complaint had surfaced. It also speculated the administration had held on to the aid package which was passed by the US Congress to pressure Ukraine into launching a corruption investigation against Biden and his son.
It will be testy waters for the Trump Administration as an investigation has been launched into the allegations levied against the Administration. This is the second time that Trump has been accused of planning to collude with a foreign power. While the elections are due next year, the President would be careful of distancing himself from the allegations. For Joe Biden, this has caused a major hurdle in his campaign. He has spent the whole week defending himself and shielding his campaign from the speculations.
Biden can use this opportunity to corner the Administration and protecting himself from any potential fallout. While for the democrats, it is another chance to corner the President and strengthening their case for impeachment against him. While senior Democrats are still concerned about a losing face if they are unable to impeach the president, a lesson that the 1999 impeachment attempt of Bill Clinton would teach them.
(Inputs from Agencies)