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Culture > News

Impeachment: What You Need to Know

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

Politics can get confusing, especially if you’re not one for keeping up with them. So, hearing the word “impeachment” getting thrown around might catch you off guard and leave you confused about what’s really going on. That’s why I’m going to break it down in a comprehensive way so no one gets left behind by confusing narratives or vocabulary that’s entirely too political. Only facts. No printer.

What happened?

On Sept. 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry on President Trump. The inquiry is investigating Trump’s possible violation of the Constitution in seeking aid from Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky to allegedly damage Joe Biden’s reputation. Former vice president Biden is holding a lead over Trump in national polls after announcing he will be running for the presidential election in 2020. After Pelosi announced the inquiry, the White House released a transcript of the phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky. The transcript includes Trump urging Zelensky to open an investigation on Joe Biden. You can read the full annotated phone call transcript here

Why does this call for impeachment?

While Trump’s actions seem insignificant at first, especially in comparison to other scandals we’ve seen him involved in, this action is unconstitutional. In a brief video, Pelosi explains that his contact with the Ukranian president would benefit Trump politically, and his acknowledgment of this revealed “the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal to his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.” 

So, is President Trump being impeached?

No. Pelosi called for a formal impeachment inquiry, which means the House of Representatives is still collecting substantial evidence and further investigating the situation. If the investigators conclude that there is reason enough for impeachment, the House Judiciary Committee will draw up articles of impeachment, which will then lead to the Judiciary Committee as well as the full house voting on it.

What is a whistleblower?

The term whistleblower refers to an individual who essentially points the finger and reveals secretive information or illegal activities. When Pelosi announced the inquiry, Congress was yet to see the whistleblower complaint, as the whistleblower is an unidentified U.S. intelligence officer. The officer’s complaint included that he had received information that the President is “…using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S.election.” Although Pelosi announced the inquiry prior to Congress seeing the complaint, the inspector general of the intelligence community deemed it “credible” and “urgent.” You can read the full annotated whistleblower complaint here.


What happens now?

For now, nothing. Presidential impeachment proceedings have only occurred four times in history—two resulting in the impeachment of 17th President Andrew Johnson and 42nd President Bill Clinton. The House will continue to investigate Trump over the coming weeks.

Why does this matter? 

It’s important that, as a democracy, our country upholds the checks and balances system. Our leaders need to be held accountable and should not be allowed to act outside of constitutional law. If the impeachment inquiry fails to become anything more than an inquiry, it is still significant. It is not time wasted when there is evidence that suggests the president was urging foreign interference in the impending 2020 election. Launching an investigation allows for reassurance that there isn’t any sort of corruption happening behind the scenes. 

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Krysten is a senior at UCF studying Advertising & Public Relations as well as Political Science. She's a lover of women empowerment, gardening, fashion, content creation, & the oxford comma. In addition to being a staff writer at Her Campus at UCF, she is also the chapter's Graphic Designer as well as an intern at Her Campus Nationals. When she isn't keeping up with the latest social media trends or improving her graphic design skills you can find her tending to her houseplant collection. Connect with Krysten on Instagram, Twitter, & LinkedIn.
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