This has been a fascinating year filled with surprises in the United States, and the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump is certainly a highlight. On Sept. 24, Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives of Congress, announced the beginning of an official impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. This is only the fourth time Congress has gone through with this type of inquiry with a United States President. AP Government teacher Chris Yoder said, “The other three presidents who seriously faced impeachment include Andrew Johnson, who came one vote short of removal in the Senate, Richard Nixon, who resigned before the impeachment process in the House was over, and Bill Clinton who was impeached but not voted out of office in the Senate.”
President Trump’s impeachment inquiry is taking place because of a phone call Trump made with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to supposedly investigate his political rival, Joe Biden. The “whistleblower” is the man/woman who brought attention to this event and has accused President Trump of a “possible attempt to intervene in the 2020 election process by using information acquired from a foreign head of state,” Yoder said. The whistleblower’s identity has not and may never be revealed, according to the Whistleblower Protection Act, which makes it “illegal for somebody to reveal the identity of the person,” Yoder said. Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, has been subpoenaed, or asked for evidence and information having to do with the case, by three house committees. Other officials in Ukraine and in the White House have been subpoenaed by house committees as well.
Washington Post said the general allegation is that officials of the White House used a “classified computer system to hide documents that could be politically damaging, including a transcript of a call with Volodymyr Zelensky.” Transcription about (not of) Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president is now included in a public whistleblower report, but there is limited information that can be viewed by the public. CNN said a second whistleblower claims to have “concerns and more direct knowledge” regarding Trump’s contacts with Ukraine. The impeachment inquiry is new and only in the beginning stages of action, and there are new updates to this case daily.
What exactly does impeachment mean? U.S. citizens of all ages may find themselves asking this question because of the recent impeachment inquiry that has taken over the media. Many misconceptions are made about impeachment since the process is more detailed that most think. Sophomore Comforter Afobunor said, “Lots of students in high school think of impeachment as the President automatically being removed from office, and that there’s no say in whether they are kicked out.” The Washington Post said his idea is wrong, and the true definition of impeachment is that “Congress thinks the president is no longer fit to serve and should be removed from office.”
When asked about high schoolers’ knowledge of impeachment, sophomore Will Fuller said, “I think a lot of people, [especially] our age just aren’t informed enough about how Washington works.” When junior Jake Lundstedt was asked about how many students knew the true definition of impeachment, he said the number is “a small minority.” Lundstedt agrees that this is because of the “ambiguity of the legal process involved with prosecuting a president.” The House of Representatives vote to impeach the president, then the Senate holds a trial deciding whether the president should be removed. The impeachment process is part of “the system of Checks and Balances,” Yoder said, and is taught in the curriculum at Wesleyan, so students may understand the process.
The impeachment inquiry of President Trump is the top news story in the U.S., with evidence being investigated that was brought forward by two anonymous whistleblowers about a phone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian President. The allegations of the whistleblowers and other evidence is currently being used to determine if the President committed illegal actions in doing so. Several other people were on the phone call between the two presidents, and it is not yet clear if any of these people will come forward with their opinion. This significant event has caused many to question President Trump’s motives and whether he is still fit for his position as President. Impeachment, which is the thought by Congress that the president may no longer be fit to serve, is a misconceived definition that is important to know about this year in the United States.