- With Pelosi's statement, the impeachment vote in the House chamber could take place before Christmas.
- On Wednesday, committee members heard four constitutional law experts invited by both Democrats and Republicans.
- The speed of the process of impeaching the president has been criticized by his supporters.
United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Thursday that the House already has enough material to begin the drafting of the final report on the impeachment process of US President Donald Trump. “The president’s actions are a profound violation of the public trust,” said Pelosi. “His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution,” she added, and concluded that “today, I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.”
Trump is being investigated for abuse of power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his potential main political opponent in the US presidential election scheduled for next year. With Pelosi’s statement, the impeachment vote in the House chamber could take place before Christmas. The next phase of the process, which will be handled by the Senate, will likely be in 2020. The announcement also comes one day after the collection of legal testimonies by the House Judiciary Committee, which is responsible for drafting the report with the complaints.
On Wednesday, committee members heard four constitutional law experts invited by both Democrats and Republicans. Three of them, summoned by the opposition, said Trump had indeed committed impeachable offenses. “If what we’re talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable,” said witness Michael Gerhardt, a law professor at the University of Chicago. This is the second time that Gerhardt has testified in an impeachment case against a US president. In 1998, the professor testified in the case against then-President Bill Clinton.
However, the speed of the process of impeaching the president has been criticized. Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University who was invited by Republicans to testify, warned that the opposition was rushing the case without fully investigating it. “This would be the first impeachment in history where there would be considerable debate and, in my view, not compelling evidence of the commission of a crime,” explained the professor. “Second is the abbreviated period of this investigation, which is probability and puzzling — this is a facially incomplete and inadequate record in order to impeach a president,” he said.
The case revolves around a phone conversation in July between the US president and his Ukrainian counterpart, President Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump allegedly pressured Zelensky to reopen an investigation against the son of the leading Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden. The American President reportedly froze a $400 million military aid package to Ukraine in a bid to force Ukraine to conduct the investigation.
Trump denies the accusations and says he is being subjected to “witch hunt” by the Democrats. However, testimonies gathered from White House officials and State Department diplomats tell a different story. The testimonies to a large extent reveal that indeed there was a campaign designed by the President and his personal lawyer, former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, to make political gains if Ukraine came out publicly to announce that it was investigating the Bidens for corruption— even if an investigation was not opened.