The Trump Administration wages war on House impeachment inquiry

The Trump Administration states that they will not comply with the House’s impeachment inquiry (Photo courtesy of Washington Post)

By: Abigail Calandra| Head Editor

October 10, 2019

The Democrat-run House is full steam ahead after it was announced that the Trump Administration pressured the Ukraine for political reasons. The White House has announced that this is an effort to “overturn the results of the 2016 election,” setting the stage for a colossal political and legal disaster. 

Last week Trump said “I always cooperate” and that “we’ll work together” with the Democrats. This week, he changed his mind. 

On Tuesday, October 8, the White House issued a statement announcing that it will not cooperate in the House’s impeachment inquiry.  The Trump Administration issued a letter to the House Democrats that neither the executive branch nor Trump will willingly provide documents or a testimony. The White House believes that the inquiry violates Trump’s due process. 

President Trump’s lawyers and allies believe that the House is taking away Trump’s right to defend himself from impeachment.

The Constitution states that the House “shall have the sole power of impeachment” (Photo courtesy of New York Times)

“I don’t think the House’s actions are justified,” senior Lexi Polk said. “Impeachment is just undoing an election… by the time anything ends up happening, he will already be a lame duck president anyway.”

However, impeachment in Congress is completely different; impeachment proceedings are different from those in the criminal justice system.The most basic way to explain impeachment is that the House acts as the prosecutor filing charges, and the Senate holds a trial. 

“I think [the House’s actions] are justified,” senior Mikey Alonzo said. “President Trump’s dealings with countries like the Ukraine was clear evidence of Trump using his office for his own political game.”

President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has not helped the plight of the Trump Administration by comparing the inquiry to the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism. The president’s own actions aren’t helpful, either. Trump’s decision to resist the investigation could have implications for the inquiry. Democrats believe that the White House’s resistance adds another tally to the list of impeachable offenses. On the other hand, it could also deprive them of crucial witnesses and evidence to help place credible charges against the president. 

The Republicans have announced that they will not rest on the defense, but act as a counteroffensive on Trump’s behalf. Senator and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham, said he will invite Giuliani—who was deeply involved in the pressure campaign on Ukraine—to testify before his panel. Democrats such as Diane Feinstein are looking forward to questioning Giuliani under oath. 

As she was previously opposed to Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton’s impeachment trials, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has opted against a full House vote, rather declaring on her own that impeachment was underway. Furthermore, the Republican minority does not have the right or subpoena power to issue their own witnesses. Also, the president’s lawyers are not allowed to participate in the questioning of witnesses, which has been happening behind closed doors.

It’s unclear which direction the inquiry is moving at the moment, or if the Trump administration will comply, but it’s clear that Trump is continuing to ratchet up tensions between the executive and legislative branches. 

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