What Happened in the U.S Impeachment Process?

On July 25, 2019, President Donald Trump spoke by phone with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. On this phone call, President Trump was alleged to have pressured President Zelensky to investigate his 2020 rival, former Vice-President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. President Trump stated if he were to follow through with this, he would release $400 million in military aid for Ukraine that Congress has already approved, and President Zelensky himself would receive an invitation for a meeting at the White House. Here is where the term “quid-pro-quo” -in simpler terms, an exchange of one thing for another thing- started in the impeachment situation. Little did President Trump know one of the many intelligence officials listening to the phone call was a whistleblower. This whistleblower wrote a formal complaint, and, after further investigation, the investigators decided President Trump actions were a violation the constitution and an abuse of presidential power.

The formal kick-off to President Trump’s impeachment trial was a speech made by Speaker of the House of Representative Nancy Pelosi on September 24. In this speech, Pelosi announced the reason why the House of Representatives will go forward with an impeachment inquiry: “The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betray of the integrity of our elections,” (nytimes.com). However, before Trump could be removed from office, the impeachment needed to be approved by the House of Representatives and then a trial in the U.S. Senate.

The first step began in the House of Representatives. Before the House could vote to impeach, they needed to vote whether or not to have witnesses testify first. If the first vote receives majority approval, these witnesses tell the House of Representatives why they should vote for the president to be impeached/removed. In the House of Representatives, this vote received approval, thus witnesses were brought in to testify. After the witnesses testified, which lasted until December 18, 2019, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump. Since the House of Representatives was mainly Democratic, many predicted this vote would be approved. However, the Senate was mainly Republican leaving most thinking President Trump would stay in office.

After receiving the Articles of Impeachment, the trial was held in the Senate to determine whether President Trump should be removed from office. Similar to the situation in the House of Representatives, the Senate had to first vote upon whether or not to bring in witnesses. This vote was denied, leading to February 5, where this historical impeachment trial ended with the decision by the Senate not to remove President Trump from office.

The impeachment process of President Trump, despite being disapproved, has been a historic moment of twenty-first century politics, and the truth revealed will have a great impact on the upcoming presidential election.