President Trump is now the center of a House impeachment inquiry after a transcript of his phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine was released on Sept. 25. In the transcript, Trump is recorded asking the foreign president to investigate his political opponent, Joe Biden, using approved military aid to Ukrainian forces as leverage.
President John Pistole commented on the importance of the inquiry.
“The significance of the impeachment inquiry is historic,” he said. “This is only the third time in U.S. history when the U.S. House of Representatives has conducted such an inquiry. It holds exceptional significance, not only for this president, but for our democracy.”
Congress is using a whistleblower report from an intelligence community official as the basis for their inquiry.
“The president of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,” the report states. “This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the president’s main domestic political rivals.”
Trump took to Twitter calling the whistleblower a “fraud.” Pistole believes the whistleblower was simply doing his job.
“Every U.S. government employee takes an oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” he said. “Whoever the whistleblower is, I would assess is taking this oath seriously and is simply carrying out their responsibilities, all based on information they’ve seen or heard.”
Dr. Michael Frank, professor of political science, believes that Trump’s behavior constitutes impeachment and removal from office because he has “undermined the honor and integrity of the presidency.”
Frank said that, according to James Madison’s remarks on impeachment during the 1787 Constitutional Convention proceedings, “the incapacity, negligence or perfidy” of the President warrants his removal from office.
“Perfidy is deceitfulness and untrustworthiness,” Frank explained. “It is up to Congress to determine whether Trump has been deceitful or not.”
According to Frank, there are two major steps in impeachment.
First, the House, having “the sole power of impeachment” under the Constitution, would hold a floor vote. If the House votes by a simple majority that the president has undermined the integrity of the office, then the president is impeached, and the process thereby proceeds to the second step.
Then, the Senate, with “the sole power to try all impeachments” under the Constitution, would hold a public trial, in which the president can make his defense. If the Senate votes by super majority to convict the president, then the president is effectively removed from office.
Frank believes “there is virtual certainty” that Trump will be impeached by the House. He also said that Republican attempts to defend Trump are unmerited because their oath of office is to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
“Loyalty is to the rule of law and the Constitution, not to a person or political party,” said Frank.
Carter Fulk, president of College Republicans, thinks the impeachment inquiry is a waste of congressional resources. He believes the inquiry is an attempt by Democrats to disrupt the possibility of a Trump victory in 2020.
“I believe it is a ruse by the Democratic party to stifle President Trump’s aspirations for a second term,” Fulk said. “This comes from a party that never fully accepted his election and believes that he is ‘not my president.’ They have tried to slow the Trump train down many times and none of it has worked.”
Fulk agrees with Trump, calling the inquiry a “witch hunt.”
“At this point in time, impeachment is just a ridiculous act of desperation from Democrats after seeing how utterly disappointing their possible 2020 candidates are,” he said. “I believe their pool of candidates will not stand a chance in the upcoming election. They’re going to try anything to keep him out of a second term, even if that means a completely preposterous impeachment inquiry that will never be good for anything.”
Madison Moreland, president of College Democrats, says she believes what Trump did was wrong, but would like to see Congress working together.
“On one hand, President Trump should be held accountable for his actions,”
she said. “America needs to set a precedent for this kind of thing. Asking a foreign power to investigate an American citizen is wrong.
“On the other hand, I know that this Congress has the lowest percentage of enacting bills and will likely beat the previous lowest record that was set in the 2011-12 Congress. I also recognize how serious polarization is in Congress and in America, and I think the impeachment inquiry can worsen that.”
Mooreland said she would rather see Congress working together to accomplish things than blaming each other.