Opposing Viewpoints: President Trump deserves to be impeached

By CHRIS PARK | October 10, 2019

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GAGE SKIDMORE/CC BY-SA 2.0

Gbessagee thinks that the allegations against Trump are false, while Park feels that impeachment was long deserved.

Impeachment is a blunt tool of national accountability on the President. It’s a sad day when we have no other recourse but to use this measure against a duly elected President.

We all know that what constitutes an impeachable offense is determined through a political process. Not only can we impeach a President who committed a crime — which has more-or-less has a concrete definition — but also a President who, to quote Alexander Hamilton, is in “abuse or violation of some public trust…as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

I believe that, in 2016, the Electoral College has elected a President so immensely inept and corrupt that we have to remove him from office. We need to maintain a high standard for those who occupy the Oval Office. The House not only should begin an impeachment inquiry but should impeach him. The Senate should vote to remove Trump from the office he should never have occupied in the first place.

First, the Mueller Report. The Special Council’s report says that Russian government interfered in the election to benefit Donald Trump and the then-candidate “welcomed” that help. When the Department of Justice tried to investigate Russian meddling, President Trump obstructed their efforts. Welcoming foreign help (even if unsolicited) in an election is inappropriate of a candidate for any public office. Obstructing a federal investigation — especially by the President — is illegal. 

But if the Mueller Report alone wasn’t impeachable, there’s the Ukraine scandal. 

The transcript that the White House released on September 25 showed that President Trump used American aid as a bargaining chip to compel President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate allegations surrounding Trump’s political rival. The President then mobilized the federal bureaucracy and American foreign service mission to further pressure Ukraine to do his biddings. That is a blatant abuse of power.

CNN also reported that he brought up Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren in a call with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The White House has yet to release the transcript. While I believe there are no reasons for a President to bring up the name of his chief political rival in a phone call to another foreign leader, perhaps it’s a point that can be debated.

But asking foreign leaders to investigate a political rival is a violation of campaign finance law. It is unbecoming of the President of the United States. And it is an impeachable offense.

Based on the new information learned so far and his conduct throughout the first two years in office, I believe that President Trump has committed impeachable offenses. But we are not a nation of 327 million Chris’s.

I sympathize with many Democrats’ concern that the trial in the Senate would go nowhere. The standard of impeachment is fluid. Right now, an overwhelming majority of Republican members of Congress and Republican voters support the President. Support for Nixon’s impeachment at this point was far lower than it is for Trump today, but there was no Fox News or conservative media back then. We were a less polarized country.

But even if our country is divided, I have faith that we can agree on what grave imprudence looks like. Saying that Republican views are unchangeable risks underestimating the American people. A thorough impeachment inquiry will reveal to all Americans the full extent of Donald Trump’s corruption. House Minority Leader McCarthy and his cohort of spineless Republicans will bend to public opinion as easily as they did when their party nominated Donald Trump. The people giveth and the people taketh away.

Additionally, if Republicans are not going to do the right thing, Democrats should. We need to think beyond next week’s polling and consider the health of our democracy. Especially with a President who has little to no regard for the Constitution and the rule of law, an impeachment inquiry shows that there still are people who believe in what makes our country work.

I also understand the doubts of my conservative friends. The whistleblower account was vague, and we just don’t have the full picture of what the President did. Further, an argument can be made that House Democrats are pursuing an unfair hyper-partisan process that excluded House Republicans.

But even if you don’t agree that Trump should be impeached and removed given the information we have right now, there are definite whiffs of abuse of power, corruption, and a slew of other illegal behaviors. My bar for impeachment is far lower than many others. That’s precisely why we need a thorough impeachment inquiry.

The Trump administration has been stonewalling Congressional subpoenas since Congress resumed its proper oversight duties this January. A Speaker-backed impeachment inquiry would restate and restore Congress’s Constitutional authority to properly hold the executive branch accountable.

Release everything — transcripts of calls, text messages, etc. — to the public. Let the American people read it for themselves. There’s only so much Fox News can do, and I believe that American people can decide for themselves.

Chris Park is a freshman majoring in International Studies and History from Glenview, Illinois. He is a Hopkins Votes ambassador and has worked for a Democratic Congressman. 

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