Democrats get the investigation they want, but it won’t be easy

Olivia Spaccasi, Contributing Writer

On Sept. 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump. After resisting significant pressure to begin impeachment proceedings against the President for months, Pelosi finally caved when a whistleblower report came out alleging the President withheld foreign aid to Ukraine in order to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden. If true, this is an egregious abuse of power and a misdirection of foreign aid for domestic political purposes.

The release of the report felt like exactly what Democrats had been waiting for. The Mueller report, as thorough and well-executed as it may have been, failed to provide the smoking gun that Democrats had been searching for since the outcome of the 2016 election. Subsequent hearings and the cringe-worthy Mueller testimony were presented by Republicans like Jim Jordan as further examples of Democrats grasping at straws in their attempts to discredit the president. It is no secret that many Democratic lawmakers have wanted Trump out since he first stepped into office. While I believe the pursuit of impeachment was done in good faith by these lawmakers, Democrats started their search prematurely, tainting the effort as a whole and allowing the opposition to brand this, a serious example of presidential misconduct, as a waste of time and energy.

The Trump administration has been able to withstand countless calls for impeachment with remarkable flexibility. Trump has often said that impeachment would help him, and I do not doubt this. Trump ran on his ability to paint himself as an outsider, someone working outside of the Washington elite for the white worker and their values. Billionaire status aside, his supporters loved this about him and this gave Trump the wiggle room to deem any attacks against him, as warranted as they may be, as attacks against his supporters and what they stand for. The “witch hunt,” as Trump would call it, now actually has serious ammo against this administration. However, I fear Trump’s ability to spin checks and balances into evidence of persecution has already primed his base to be resistant to the seriousness of these allegations. 

Moving forward, impeachment is in the hands of the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. We should keep in mind that impeachment is the leveling of charges against a sitting president, not the actual removal. This being said, impeachment is not entirely unthinkable. Actual removal, on the other hand, is another story. U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell said he would have to hold a trial should the House pass articles of impeachment, but Trump has many loyal friends in the Republican-controlled Senate. If the allegations were proven to be true, the actions of the President would be indefensible. The heinous abuse of the office of the President could not be justified by even the most submissive of Trump’s cronies. The President is working hard on Twitter to make sure his supporters know that the report is “BULLSHIT.” However, Republican lawmakers must look past Trump’s explosive rhetoric and carry out their constitutional duty to impose checks and balances on the office of the President. As former Senator Jeff Flake recently said, “it is time to risk your careers in favor of your principles.” If they fail to do so, I strongly believe they will be on the wrong side of history. 

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