Thompson: The state of the Presidency

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Gina Nguyen

President Trump speaks out into the crowd during the rally.

Russell Thompson, Guess Writer

The impeachment/removal process is something that is unique to the American Constitution in that Congress has the power to remove the leader of the country without a military response to protect him. The Constitution in Article I, Section II, states, “The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.” It later goes on to say in Section III, “The Senate shall have the sole power to try all Impeachments.” To establish why Donald Trump and his trial are important, we must first establish what warrants an impeachment. In Federalist 65, Alexander Hamilton says that the impeachment process can potentially remove, “the President, Vice-President, and all civil Officers of the United States,” if Congress finds them guilty of, “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” 

On Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives. Impeach is a fancy word for the formal inquisitioning of a public official in our country. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, presented the Articles to the Senate on Jan. 15, 2020. It took the House a long time to present the articles to the Senate. The reason for this? Nancy Pelosi wanted to sit on them in order to strike a better deal in the negotiations for the trial for removal. Another reason: the House knew that the articles would not receive a two-thirds super majority vote for removal in the Republican-controlled Senate. 

Now let’s get to the Articles. To spare you the long, jargony writing of the House, I will summarize the charges included in the Articles of Impeachment. The first is a charge accusing President Trump of abuse of power, quid-pro-quo, in Ukrainian relations. The second article is an article accusing the president of corruption by directing White House officials to ignore a subpoena. 

I believe the Democrats did not bring enough to the table to convict Trump on article I. The accusations for Trump’s actions in Ukraine are definitely true to an extent. This is evident by the fact that Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican, voted yes to convict Trump on it. I believe that the evidence presented by the Dems did not warrant witnesses, which, in turn, did not allow the full story to come out the way that they would have liked. I also think, however, if we want punishment for President Trump’s abuse of power, we should also look into Joe Biden’s alleged involvement in Ukraine.

The second Article of Impeachment comes down to whether or not the Senate believes that what he did constitutes as a “High Crime or Misdemeanor.” This is left up to the Senate at the time of any Impeachment because they deem what is or is not appropriate behavior by an elected official. The Dems also did not help their case with the second article by repealing the subpoena that demanded testimony. This ended up shooting them in the foot in this article. 

Congress knew that the Republicans had a majority in the senate, 53-47. Trump was acquitted on the first article by a 52-48 vote, and he was acquitted on the second article by a 53-47 vote.  

Personally, I am glad that the president was not removed from office. I will say that as Americans, no matter how badly we dislike the current president, we should not want to see the President of the United States of America fail. If the president fails, the republic fails. I believe that wanting to see the president fail is a sign that the fractionation of America has gone too far. The bipartisan system in America has finally gotten to a point of utter intolerance with opposite sides. At what point do we decide that we want to be the UNITED State of America? When do we set aside our differences in order to better the country. The agendas of the left and the right have gotten so extreme that we even tolerate the hate outright within our politicians. Why is it acceptable in our country for the president not to shake the Speaker of the House’s hand at a State of the Union Address? Why is it acceptable for that same Speaker to rip up the president’s speech? 

The President and the Speaker set the examples for their respective political parties. Washington would portray the parties as being miles apart, when we know from living in Mississippi that that statement simply is not true. 

I would like to conclude by asking you some questions: The founders believed that the electorate would punish the executives by vote. When do we decide to stop public officials from prostituting speeches and moments to attain votes? When do we stop politicians from telling us what we want to hear to get votes? When do we force them to hold up their end of the bargain after they are elected?