Current Events

The Chaos Continues: Trump’s Impeachment Hearing Traverses into the New Year

Since the impeachment testimonies began in mid-November, the partisan divide has grown as both Democrats and Republicans remain adamant about their views on the removal of the President. By the time this piece is published, the articles of impeachment, the documents outlining the impeachment charges, will likely have been released, ushering in a new phase of the impeachment process. However, it’s important to review some major points in the impeachment inquiry from mid-November to early December.

 

Intimidation of a Witness:

Ambassador Marie Yavonavitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, stated she felt intimidated by President Trump’s negative tweets about her. During her testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives, Majority Leader Adam Schiff paused his line of questioning to tell Ambassador Yovanovitch that President Trump had made an “attack” against her and read her the Tweet. Trump began his tweet with the statements: “[e]everywhere Marie Yavonovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” When asked about her thoughts of Tweet, Yavonavitch replied that she does not “think I have such powers [to make a country ‘go bad’]” and that the Tweet was “intimidating.” 

 

Earlier in her testimony, Yavonavitch spoke of how she felt “threatened” by Trump after, in a phone call with President Zelensky of Ukraine, he stated she would “go through some things.” This refers to her reaction to the investigation of presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. Many legal experts and critics have called Trump’s Tweet “intimidation of a witness,” which is illegal in the United States. Such a crime could also be used to impeach a president.

 

There was Quid-pro-quo:

The main focus of the impeachment inquiry has been to answer this short question: was there quid-pro-quo? Meaning “this for that” in Latin, quid-pro-quo refers to an illegal exchange in politics, often using political power for personal gain. President Trump is accused of withholding military aid to Ukraine to get an investigation into his political rival backed by President Zelensky. In this case, Trump would be using his power as President of the United States to gain help from a foreign government in a domestic election: this fits the definition of quid-pro-quo. Ambassador Gordon Sondland to the Ukraine answered this question, clearly stating the investigation “was no secret” and “was there quid pro quo?…the answer to that question…is yes.”

 

By Amira Pierotti

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