Tuesday afternoon Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that the House will be moving forward with an impeachment inquiry against President Trump. This marks the commencement of official impeachment proceedings amid Trump’s Ukraine scandal.
Trump’s Ukraine scandal was brought to light in the past weeks, thus driving the House of Representatives to drop the ‘I’ word. What is the Ukraine scandal you might ask? Trump has supposedly been pressing Ukrainian government officials to launch an investigation on Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who has business dealings in said country. According to Vox, Trump may be interested in acquiring information about Hunter Biden’s business in Ukraine because of Joe Biden’s possible involvement in protecting his son in prosecutorial circumstances, though this has not been confirmed.
Courtesy: National Public Radio
So, what exactly is an impeachment inquiry? An impeachment inquiry is the very first step in the impeachment process. Once the House finds enough cause to support advances in the impeachment process, the majority of the House must choose to move forward with an inquiry. The next step would be for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to refer the proceedings to the House Judiciary Committee, who will determine whether or not there is enough evidence to move forward. If so, the House Judiciary Committee would draft ‘articles of impeachment,’ which would need to go to the House for a majority vote to officially impeach an official.
It is often forgotten that although an official is impeached, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re removed from office. After the House votes on the articles drafted by the Judiciary Committee, the process is passed on to the Senate, which is responsible for determining if the official in question is guilty or not. The House has the power to impeach, but the Senate has the power to convict an official and remove them from office.
This is a monumental step for the House. Last November new representatives were elected, which resulted in a Democratic shift in the House. The Senate remains dominantly Republican, but the House Judiciary Committee, as ABC Eyewitness News points out, currently consists of 24 Democrats and 17 Republicans; the Committee would need 21 votes in favor to drive the process forward.
The timing of this impeachment inquiry is rather significant to the cause of the process. Trump’s Ukraine scandal seems to align with the Clinton email scandal of the 2016 presidential campaign. The Mueller Report and Russian probe were flawed due to the timing of the investigation, considering it would have been difficult to present this for impeachment with past events in question. In other words, the events were of the past, not recent enough to scope out to the fullest extent. However, the Ukraine scandal comes at peak season.
With yet another presidential election around the corner, Trump’s motives and behavior are now a major concern as they now put into question and jeopardize the integrity of the 2020 election, as explained by Vox. Not only does this hinder the integrity of the election, but it also puts into question President Trump’s motives and agenda for reelection.
American history has already seen the impeachment of two presidents (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton). This impeachment inquiry could very well be the beginning of another crucial moment in time for the American government and the American people.