Impeachment Continues

With the impeachment proceedings against President Trump chugging along and now entering a new round of hearings, I think it’s a good time to reflect on the accusations made against Trump, their validity and whether or not there’s a chance he’ll actually be removed from office. 

The core claim made against Trump to justify the current impeachment proceedings is that he engaged in something legal experts refer to as a “quid pro quo”, which is a Latin phrase that basically means to demand something from someone in exchange for something else. In this case, Trump is accused of demanding that Ukrainian President Zelensky open a criminal investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in connection to dealings they had in Ukraine when Joe Biden  was serving as President Obama’s liaison to the Ukrainian government. In exchange, Trump would give military aid to Ukraine in their fight against Russian-backed rebelsbut here’s the kicker: the aid was already promised to Ukraine by law. This means that by conditioning the aid on providing dirt on Trump’s political rival, Biden, Trump probably broke the law by abusing his power as President and using taxpayer dollars for his own personal political gain. 

Of course, Trump supporters claim that there was no wrongdoing as the aid was eventually delivered and no dirt on Biden was ever produced. However, simply the act of asking for that dirt prior to delivering the aid is a potential violation of campaign finance law, and in any case according to House Democrats, an act that meets the standard for impeachment. 

To me, whether or not Trump actually broke any laws is irrelevant. Frankly, I think he should’ve been impeached his first or second year in office for personally profiting from a hotel he owns in D.C., where among other things the Saudi Arabian government openly stayed and overpaid at when they came to discuss increased military aid to their country, which Trump promptly agreed to even after (I would argue, correctly) blaming the Saudis for 9/11 during his election campaign. Normal people call this a “bribe”. 

In terms of the Ukraine scandal, I also think that Trump should be impeached and removed from office whether or not one believes he actually broke any laws. If anything, the fact that it’s potentially legal to leverage taxpayer aid mandated by Congress for dirt on a political rival from a foreign government says everything one needs to know about America; the legal system itself is unable to prevent the abuse of power in the highest levels of government, and so we’re stuck relying on the same corrupt politicians who wrote the laws, Republicans and Democrats, to keep themselves in check.

Make no mistake, Trump absolutely is guilty of the quid pro quo and leveraging aid to Ukraine for personal political gain. In fact, he admitted as much to reporters on the White House lawn, saying when asked what he wanted from Ukraine: “It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens.” Which is why the Trump defense has pivoted from originally denying the quid pro quo, to now saying it wasn’t a problem because his goal was to expose Biden’s corruption. If Trump himself was uncorrupted and actually had fought to “drain the swamp” like he promised, I might be able to accept this. But anyone paying attention can clearly see that Trump has not only failed to fight corruption in Washington since taking office, he has in fact become corrupted by the big donors and interest groups, aka the swamp, that have been corrupting both establishment Democrats and Republicans for decades. 

That said, there is absolutely no way Trump is getting removed from office for the Ukraine scandal, or for any reason except losing the election in 2020. The obedience demanded by the leadership of both parties and the sheer polarization in the country means that very few, if any, Republicans will vote to impeachand 20 of them would need to in the Senate for Trump to actually be removed from office. We’ve already seen how willing they are to smear public servants who are daring to speak out about Trump’s misconduct in order to distract from the accusationseven if Trump’s own Ukraine ambassador has testified against him. The moral rot at the core of both parties enabled Trump to become president. Now, when the Republicans could redeem themselves, they’ve chosen to scream “fake news” at anyone who reports negative facts about Trump and his conduct instead of actually doing self-reflection and taking a moral stand against the wannabe demagogue that they created.

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