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If there’s one item that’s been dominating national news lately, it’s the official pursuit of an impeachment inquiry against President Donald J. Trump. Even though this inquiry was formally announced just recently on September 24th, there have been seemingly countless developments since then. To get up to speed, dig into these five key facts about Trump’s potential impeachment.
1. One call started it all
During a July phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, President Trump asked Zelenskiy to use his country’s resources to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, who is currently the leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidacy. Since Russia interfered in the 2016 election, Ukranian investigation of a presidential candidate proved a strong enough trigger point for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, to open an impeachment inquiry.
2. It’s not just Ukraine
News of Trump’s phone call with Ukranian prime minister Zelenskiy first broke on September 18th. On September 30th, news of a similar phone call with a different foreign prime minister emerged. Trump allegedly requested that Australian prime minister Scott Morrison assist with Attorney General William Barr’s investigation into the origins of the infamous Mueller investigation. The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed that this phone call occurred, but a spokesperson for the agency described it as a standard call between one head of state seeking ordinary help from another country’s law enforcement agencies.
3. Another global power is involved
In blatant defiance of the impeachment inquiry against him, Trump yesterday urged China to investigate Biden. During a press conference, Trump implied that, given the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, he and his administration could politically pressure China into doing so. Trump stated bluntly that, although his administration has yet to formally request that China investigate Biden, he and his White House are considering this option. He also reaffirmed that Ukraine should investigate Biden – exactly the notion that first compelled the House to open an impeachment inquiry.
4. The White House may be subpoenaed
President Trump and his White House have ignored countless congressional subpoenas. Congressional Democrats have nevertheless requested White House cooperation in their impeachment inquiry, and the administration has, as expected, resisted. As a result, House Democrats have promised to subpoena the White House at some point today if the Trump administration does not comply first.
5. Republicans are siding with Trump – or are they?
As has been the case throughout Trump’s term as president, congressional Republicans are siding with Trump and describing the impeachment inquiry as illegitimate. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, has called on Speaker Pelosi to suspend the inquiry. McCarthy suggested that a Democratic impeachment inquiry would inevitably be conducted without regard to fairness and constitutional due process rights. However, McCarthy’s opposition to a potential Trump impeachment might not be as party-wide as expected, as rumors have swirled that more than half of all Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump if the vote were secret.
Where do you stand on impeachment? Get the debate going in the comments!