On Dec. 18, 2019, the House of Representatives voted to approve articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
Trump was impeached on the grounds of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The abuse of power article stems from a whistleblower complaint that accused Trump of asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son in exchange for previously authorized military aid Trump had cut. The whistleblower’s memo and a summarized transcript of the phone call between Trump and Zelensky have since been released.
The obstruction of Congress article was brought due to Trump’s refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas, according to NBC.
Trump is the third president in U.S. history to be impeached, joining Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.
Impeachment was a controversial decision, with the vote decided almost entirely along party lines, with just two Democrats, Collin Peterson and Jeff Van Drew, voting against both articles of impeachment and another, Jared Golden, voting against obstruction of Congress, according to The New York Times. No Republicans voted in favor of impeachment.
Up next is a vote in the Senate to decide whether or not to remove Trump from office. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has said there will be a trial before the vote.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is withholding the articles until Democrats can reach an agreement with McConnell on how a Senate trial should proceed. Democrats want four Trump officials to testify, while McConnell has said he’ll only allow the evidence from the House trial to be used, according to CNN.
The Senate will vote on trial parameters. If the Democrat and Independent vote is united, they’ll need four Republicans to join them, according to the Senate’s website.
For Trump to be removed, two-thirds of the senate will have to vote in favor of removal. The Senate has a Republican majority. Given the close party lines the House vote followed, removal is unlikely unless new evidence comes out.
Ahead of the Senate vote, The State News gathered student opinions on Trump’s impeachment.
Psychology and neuroscience sophomore Kate Frieden said she believes Trump’s impeachment is a defining moment in his presidency.
“It’s such a monumental moment in history,” Frieden said. “When I’m an adult and I have my own kids, my kids are going to be like, ‘What was it like living in Trump’s America?’ ... I have very, very little hope that anything will be done, but I hope that a fair trial is given.”
Pre-veterinary sophomore Jacobo Bacariza said Trump’s willingness to exercise his power as president is something Congress isn’t used to.
“He’s definitely using it unlike our previous presidents,” Bacariza said. “America spoke a few years back, and we wanted Trump as our president. ... (Trump’s) someone that you can’t really beat right now, and you just have to wait until he serves his two terms.”
Bacariza said Democrats impeached Trump because they can’t win in the 2020 election.
Lindsay Guare, a junior triple majoring in computer science, biochemistry and genetics, said she’s glad he’s being held accountable.
“(Impeachment is necessary) in order to show that we uphold people to a certain standard.” Guare said.