Trumpdate 2: The Trial (Or Lack Thereof)

Raina Carfaro, Scarlet Staff

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First things first, President Donald Trump was impeached by the United States House of Representatives on December 18th of 2019. The House filed two articles for impeachment against Trump; the first article is for an abuse of power and the second is obstruction of justice. The first article charges him with abuse of power for pressuring the Ukrainian president and officials into aiding Trump’s re-election by damaging the campaign of opponent Joe Biden. Article two charges him with the obstruction of Congress for refusing to provide subpoenaed documents and for blocking and discrediting multiple testimonials against him. 

But Trump is still our president. Woo hoo. He is still our president and will remain our president for the foreseeable future because there will be no real trial that would remove him from office.  Once a president is impeached by the House, the matter moves to the Senate which holds a trial and determines whether or not the President should be removed from office. The constitution grants the House of Representatives “the sole Power of Impeachment” and says that the President should undergo impeachment and be removed from office by the Senate if he is convicted of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. The constitution determines impeachment to be a moral and righteous non-partisan decision determined by facts and reasoning. The issue is that this impeachment process is incredibly partisan and somewhat mirrors the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Clinton was impeached in the 90s by a Republican controlled House but was saved by a Democrat controlled Senate who held a trial and did not believe that the charges against him were enough to warrant removal from office. Their decision to protect Clinton was fair but undeniably had a partisan swing. The trial of Donald Trump, however, is an embarrassment to our democratic system and undermines any integrity that it might have had left.

Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, has blocked every effort the Democrats have made in efforts to have a fair trial. McConnell and other Republicans in Congress refuse to acknowledge any validity in the claims against Trump and have deemed the Impeachment process a witchhunt. At every turn, the Trump administration and their allies have been verbally attacking and discrediting anyone who testified to the House Judiciary Committee` and done the same to other politicians who question President Trump. The establishment Democrats are in many ways just as corrupt and partisan as the Republicans, but the obstinance and deliberate ignorance of the Republicans in the face of blatant corruption is unconscionable. Democrats are arguing that the Senate’s refusal to hear from new witnesses and receive documents renders the trial fraudulent and a clear cover-up for presidential misconduct. On Friday the 31st of January there was a vote in the Senate that all but secured for Trump his seat in office, as only two Republicans voted to hear from new witnesses. This is not even the final vote to remove Trump, this is merely a vote that would allow for the consideration of his removal. The Republicans are so desperate to maintain control over this government that they would allow for such a repulsive and dishonorable man to hold the highest office in our country – after he has been proven guilty.

This vote  all but acquitted Trump from all charges and on Wednesday the fifth,  Senate jurors will likely have officially cleared Trump. This decision speaks to the extreme partisan divide that pervades American politics and the vice-like grip that Trump has on the Republican base. Our system has failed all Americans. Donald Trump, unless voted out in the upcoming election will drive this country into the ground and all but secure our fate as just another fallen empire that could not recognize and appropriately react to the cracks in our foundation. The ball is in our court now. Please, please vote. In the 2020 election, we are not simply voting for another beauracrat that will run our country, we are voting for our survival. Silence in the face of oppression is siding with the oppressor, and now is the time to be as loud and large as we can. Vote.