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Earlier this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House will launch a formal impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. A majority of House members, in fact, support some form of an impeachment inquiry. But will an inquiry lead to actual impeachment? People have been screaming impeachment inquiries since Trump took office, so what’s different now?
In late July, Trump made a phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Two weeks after the call, an intelligence official lodged a whistleblower complaint. The Intelligence Community Inspector General, Michael Atkinson, deemed it “credible” and of “urgent concern”. Atkinson passed the complaint onto acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. But Maguire didn’t pass the complaint on to Congress within the required seven-day timeframe.
This week, the White House released a summary of the phone call that Trump made, which confirmed the reports. In the phone call, Trump pressed Zelensky to open an investigation into corruption allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Here’s where it gets interesting. According to the memo, days before the call, Trump had pulled military aid to Ukraine. Which certainly gave Trump the upper hand. Zelensky asked about military support returning to Ukraine, which is when Trump pressed him to work with US Attorney General William Barr in order to probe the Bidens.
Trump, of course, has denied that he said anything inappropriate during the phone call. The complaint has been declassified and will be released to the public sometime this week. Here are some more interesting facts:
- Trump tried to negotiate with Pelosi on the whistleblower complaint after she announced the impeachment inquiry. Pelosi told Trump where he could take those negotiations.
- Pelosi’s attitude during a phone call with Trump was combative. This was the phone call that was made prior to launching an impeachment inquiry.
- A majority of the House now supports some sort of impeachment inquiry. That means they’ve reached the magic number that could lead to actual impeachment.
- Democrats and Republicans have extremely opposite views on Trump’s phone call with Ukraine.
- In recent days, impeachment odds have skyrocketed to 62% on popular betting websites.
As I said, impeachment has been suggested for months now. What makes this time different? In fact, Robert Mueller’s report didn’t lead to an impeachment inquiry. So what did Trump do that would put him in this position? It all goes back to Trump withholding $400 million in US military aid to Ukraine. You might recall, in order to be impeached the President has to have conducted a “high crime and misdemeanor”. According to experts, this is no longer up for debate.
The President of the United States has now been accused by an intelligence whistleblower of engaging in an explicit quid-pro-quo with a foreign government. In this arrangement, Trump withheld taxpayer-funded aid appropriated by Congress in exchange for interfering in a future election on Trump’s behalf.
Prior to these latest revelations, many Democrats including Pelosi herself argued that impeachment would divide the country. She’s not wrong, but what other choice is there? While there is no guarantee that this will lead to Trump being ousted. What we do know is that this is an extremely fascinating time to be an American citizen. Where you fall on the political spectrum doesn’t matter at this point. We are in the middle of a historic battle. A battle that is likely to have a major impact on the 2020 election.
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