“The President must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”
On Sept. 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed the nation in this speech, calling for a formal impeachment of inquiry of President Donald Trump.
“The actions taken to date by the President have seriously violated the Constitution, especially when the President says Article II says I can do whatever I want,” Pelosi said in her address.
For many in Washington D.C., the impeachment inquiry for controversial interactions between Trump and Ukraine did not come as a surprise. Since his election, many Democrats in Washington have made efforts to impeach Trump. This impeachment inquiry, however, is different. Pelosi announced that six committees would investigate the interactions between Trump and the Ukrainian government.
“I’m not too sure if Trump should (be impeached and removed from office) because I feel that it’s more of a ‘wait and see’ thing,” an anonymous student said. “If more evidence is presented that corroborates either guilt or innocence, a decision should be made based on that.”
Many agree that Trump’s connection to the Ukrainian government warrants an impeachment inquiry and possible removal from office.
“Trump’s efforts to pressure the new Ukrainian government, including his phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky, were profoundly wrong. To direct U.S. foreign policy for personal political gain is the definition of abuse of power,” Washington Post columnist, Fareed Zakaria said.
The “phone call” Zakaria is talking about was one of many things that prompted Pelosi to call for Trump’s impeachment. The call was revealed by a memo written by the whistleblower on July 26. The whistleblower and an unnamed White House official discussed the call between Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine where the president asked Zelensky to start a corruption investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden. The whistleblower called the phone call “frightening” and “crazy.”
In the memo, the whistleblower revealed Trump that stated, “it all started in Ukraine.” This was referring to allegations of foreign interference in the 2016 presidential elections which were subsequently investigated in the Mueller Investigation.
The memo also specified that the official told the whistleblower the transcript was only to be produced in hard copy and that additional senior White House officials took written notes on the call.
However, there has been debate over the validity of the whistleblower’s claims. Former CIA officer John Kiriakou doubts the whistleblower should even be called a “whistleblower.”
“I think this is an anonymous source for the Democratic staff in the House of Representatives,” Kiriakou said. “This person is not an undercover CIA operative. You cannot hide this person’s name or identity just to save him from embarrassment or the trouble of being recognized because it’s just not appropriate. If this is a whistleblower, he needs to come forward in public, testify in open session and blow that whistle.”
This statement from Kiriakou is in reference to the fact that lawyers for the whistleblower asked Congress if a testimony could be submitted in writing, instead of appearing in person. While this seems like a good idea for the whistleblower, who could testify to both Democrats and Republicans without revealing their identity, many Conservatives are unhappy who claim the whistleblower has “partisan motives.”
Unsurprisingly, Trump has similar opinions as Kiriakou.
“The Whistleblower’s facts have been so incorrect about my ‘no pressure’ conversation with the Ukrainian President, and now the conflict of interest and involvement with a Democrat Candidate, that he or she should be exposed and questioned properly. This is no Whistleblower,” Trump said in a tweet on Oct. 9.
In addition, it’s important not to overlook the fact that this is not the first time a president has had private discussions with leaders of other countries.
“I think that it’s not an anomaly for a president to call another political leader in the boundaries of diplomacy,” the anonymous student said. “If it is however linked to the investigation of a political rival, I think that’s more of a domestic issue than an international (issue).”
However, despite claims from the president and the whistleblower’s lawyers, it is clear that the American people are divided. Recently, Fox News released a poll showing “record support” for Trump’s impeachment. According to the poll, 51 percent of registered voters in the U.S. would like to see Trump impeached in removed from office, compared to 42 percent in July 2019. 40 percent of registered voters do not want Trump to be impeached, down from 45 percent in July 2019.
In light of the impeachment inquiry, it may be useful to listen to part of Pelosi’s speech when she quotes founding father, Benjamin Franklin.
“They (Americans) asked Benjamin Franklin, ‘what do we have, a republic or a monarchy?’ Franklin replied, ‘a republic, if you can keep it.’ Our responsibility is to keep it,” Pelosi said.