Trump's Impeachment: all you need to know
Updated: Dec 19, 2019
Why is trump being impeached?
After a phone call between President Trump and the President of Ukraine (Volodymyr Zelensky), Trump has been accused of abusing his presidential power to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
How did this start and who is Joe Biden?
The former vice president's son, Hunter Biden, was the director of a controversial energy company in Ukraine. The company was facing multiple allegations and was being prosecuted by a man named Viktor Shokin.
At an event in 2018, Joe Biden (Hunter Biden's father and the former vice president) was filmed ‘bragging’ about how he dealt with Shokin by telling the Ukrainian President that the United States would withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees if Shokin was not fired.
President Trump then called Ukraine’s president, urging him to look into whether Mr Biden encouraged the firing of Shokin because he had been investigating the company which employed Biden's son.
Before the phone call, Trump had already suspended nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid from the desperate Ukraine.
A senior official later testified that the president made clear the release of the aid was conditional on Mr Biden being investigated, but the White House denies this.
Why does President Trump care so much about Joe Biden?
Being a candidate for the Democratic nomination, if chosen, Biden would be the man facing Trump for the presidency in November 2020.
Following the phone call, claims were made that Trump was pressuring Ukraine into targeting Biden- for Trump's own personal and political gain- in exchange for America’s military help.
This is what initiated Trump’s impeachment.
But is that even illegal? Is it an impeachable offense?
In short, no. Trump's acts have not been deemed illegal.
The Justice Department declined to pursue the case because it didn’t have evidence that campaign finance laws were violated.
However, impeachments don't need to be triggered by an illegal act. They provide a way for lawmakers to remove presidents whose actions are considered an abuse of power, regardless of whether or not they're illegal.
So, what's Trump's defense?
Trump denies using US military aid as a bargaining chip with Mr Zelensky and has repeatedly insisted his call with Ukraine's leader was "perfect". He says no pressure was ever placed on Ukraine and that the investigation into Biden was completely professional.
His defense comes in three parts:
- Ukraine's president said he felt no pressure to investigate Biden during the phone call
- The Ukrainians were unaware the military aid was held back during that phone call
- US military aid was eventually released
Evidence supporting Trump’s impeachment:
Joe Biden's influence in the firing of Shokin has been debunked several times, leading many to believe that Trump's interest in Biden was powered solely by political gain.
Ukrainian prosecutors have found no evidence indicating that Biden sought to help his son by getting Shokin dismissed.
Surprisingly, Shokin was the biggest obstacle standing in the way of the investigation.
Activists claim that the case had been sabotaged by Shokin himself. For example, they say that Shokin ignored British authorities when they requested information for the allegations.
This meant that, if anything, Shokin was helping Hunter Biden's company in avoiding prosecution. So why would Biden urge Ukraine to get rid of him?
"Ironically, Joe Biden asked Shokin to leave because the prosecutor failed [to pursue] the investigation, not because Shokin was tough and active with this case," Kaleniuk said.
Moreover, according to several testimonies, Biden’s statement was in line with U.S. policy and backed by other international powers that agreed Shokin was ignoring corruption and needed to go.
The evidence above has led many to believe that Trump abused his political power for personal reasons.
Impeachment articles have already been put forward and, if approved by the House, Trump would become the third president in US history to be impeached. This could happen before a scheduled congressional holiday break beginning on 20 December.
What do you think about the whole situation? Who was abusing their political power, Biden or Trump? Were Trump's intentions innocent, or was there a deeper motive beneath?