Trump impeachment inquiry another waste of time and tax dollars

Category:  Opinions
Friday, October 4th, 2019 at 11:17 AM

Former vice president is guilty of what Trump is being accused of

Just as the Mueller report and related Russian collusion rumors were laid to rest, Democrats have found yet another shred of alleged misconduct to usurp the ever-adversarial President Donald Trump. Now, they venture into the beginnings of an impeachment inquiry, instead of actually producing or refining effective legislation to benefit the American people.

The circumstances

An anonymous whistleblower recently passed information to House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff regarding a phone call where Trump may have used his influence to sponsor an investigation into his potential rival in the 2020 election: former Vice President Joe Biden.

The not-verbatim transcript of the call in question, made on July 25, was released on Sept. 24. The transcript includes congratulatory remarks to the newly-elected President Volodymyr Zelensky, talk on U.S. and Ukraine relations, and controversially, a revisit of the questionable circumstances of Biden’s interventions with one of Ukraine’s top prosecutors, Viktor Shokin, in 2016.

Viktor Shokin was the prosecutor general in Ukraine from Feb. 2015 until his firing in March 2016, and he faced criticism for ignoring prosecution against corrupt Ukrainian elites, and for inaction against police snipers during protests in 2014. Although Ukraine faced notable government corruption, it is disputed whether Shokin is on the side of justice or not.

Shokin was investigating the Burisma Holdings natural gas company, where Biden’s son Hunter was serving on the board, for allegations of money laundering and corruption.

This whistleblower complaint made its way to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in August, and according to a statement released by DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec, “relying on established procedures set forth in the justice manual, the department’s criminal division reviewed the official record of the call and determined based on the facts and applicable law that there was no campaign finance violence and that no further action was warranted.”

In addition, Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence, “is refusing to submit it to the House panel.” According to CBS News, the complaint “wasn’t of urgent concern.”

However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for an official impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24, citing a constitutional violation of seeking foreign aid to damage a political opponent.

The impeachment argument

The claim of “quid pro quo” is being tossed around quite a bit, considering the U.S. does send millions in aid to Ukraine (approximately $400 million, in fact), and were reviewing their funding a week before the July phone call.

Trump has denied that the timing is connected, and he initially claimed the hold-up in aid was due to a review of where it was going and whether it was justified. Trump then told reporters on Sept. 24: “I’d withhold [aid] again, and I’ll continue to withhold until such time as Europe and other nations contribute to Ukraine. Because they’re not doing it. Just the United States.”

The aid was finally sent in early September.

But in May 2019, before the phone call or this review occurred, Ukraine reopened the investigation into Burisma Holdings.
Joe and Hunter Biden’s history with Ukraine

What I find to be ironic is that Joe Biden did exactly what Trump is being accused of: withholding aid to Ukraine in order to see something done to personally benefit someone close to the situation, a/k/a firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company his son happened to be serving on the board of.

Joe Biden blatantly bragged about the situation at an event in 2018 for the Foreign Affairs publication, stating: “I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a b****. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

Hunter Biden joined the board of the Burisma Holdings energy company in 2014. He spent several years working with political lobbyists prior to his work with Burisma, where he received payments upward of $50,000 from the company every month. He worked under Mykola Zlochevsky, the president of the company, who had previously served in the government under former Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovych.

According to Joe Biden, he had no idea that the company his son was working for was the one under investigation, despite being the vice president at the time and having access to infinite intelligence. His son also claims he never spoke to his father about his business dealings.

According to findings by The Hill reporter John Solomon: “Burisma’s American legal representatives met with Ukrainian officials just days after Biden forced the firing of the country’s chief prosecutor and offered ‘an apology for dissemination of false information by U.S. representatives and public figures’ about the Ukrainian prosecutors, according to the Ukrainian government’s official memo of the meeting.” All memos and documents referenced in Solomon’s article can be found on his profile.

As Solomon points out in his article, it does raise a very interesting question as to whether the false allegation in question was Biden’s justification of government corruption to get Shokin fired.

Joe and Hunter Biden were cleared of any wrongdoing, although it would be an understatement to say the circumstances which surrounded this threat were suspicious. Hunter Biden left Burisma Holdings as of April 2019, just a month before the Ukrainian government reopened their investigation of the company.

Just as it is being posed that Trump is abusing his power to see his presidential opponent investigated, I believe it could be argued that Joe Biden used his influence to obstruct the investigation of his son’s business affairs with Burisma. The New York Times reported in May 2019: “the decision to reopen the investigation into Burisma was made in March by the current Ukrainian Prosecutor General, who had cleared Hunter Biden’s employer more than two years ago.” This clearly indicates that something may be amiss in the original case.

In addition, according to Solomon, Ukrainian prosecutors claim to have tried to get the information to the DOJ in the summer of 2018, but were “fearing it might be evidence of possible violations of U.S. ethics laws.” The claim was ignored until the Ukrainian prosecutors reached out to Trump lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. This issue then gained mainstream traction once again.

This newfound information is an answer to the query The New York Times posed in an article on May 1: “Mr. Giuliani’s involvement raises questions about whether Mr. Trump is endorsing an effort to push a foreign government to proceed with a case that could hurt a political opponent at home.” That answer seems to be no — that interest in reopening the case was piqued by the Ukrainians themselves long before it was on Trump or Giuliani’s radar.

If this is the case, could these revelations invalidate the argument that Trump used his authority to influence an investigation into his potential opponent, especially considering that the Ukrainian government was not aware of the “pro quo” of the situation?

If it doesn’t, what will happen to Trump and America in the next few years?

The impeachment process

The impeachment process for removing a sitting president from office has three main steps: Congress opens the impeachment inquiry with the House Judiciary Committee, and if the evidence checks out, it moves on to the House of Representatives, where all articles are examined and a vote occurs. If the articles are found impeachment worthy, then the Senate will vote on whether to convict the president. Lastly, if the president is convicted of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors, then they shall be removed from office according to Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution.

According to CBS News, “High crimes and misdemeanors are not defined in the Constitution, which means it’s up to Congress to decide what constitutes an impeachable offense.”

However, convicting the president is where it gets tricky. The two impeached former presidents, Andrew Johnson (1868) and Bill Clinton (1998), never left office due to not being convicted. If these are impeachable offenses, then it is not guaranteed that Trump will be removed from office unless he gets convicted.

In addition, being removed from office through impeachment does not disqualify him from running again in 2020, thanks to a provision in the Constitution. According to a report by Politico, “The Senate has long taken the position (not without some controversy) that the vote to disqualify an official from again seeking office requires only a simple majority vote, not the higher two-thirds threshold.”

What the future holds

I believe that if the inquiry proceeds, and Trump is impeached but not removed from office, it will further widen the chasm of partisanship in the U.S. in a time where both sides desperately need to build a bridge and meet halfway.

The labels of Republican and Democrat oversimplify, or turn to black and white, the many issues of their platforms, when the many concerns that need to be addressed and how that’s done is colored in shades of grey.

Trump supporters and other “deplorables” may feel further alienated from any positive solutions proposed by democratic politicians in the future. When one side is continually shut down and disrespected, it only elevates hostility and closed-mindedness toward others not in the same camp.

If the inquiry fails, which I feel is not out of the cards considering the evidence surfacing and how well Mueller’s special counsel circus performed even with a dossier of allegedly damning evidence, it will further display the clownery of democratic leaders. They continue to ignore their duty to solving critical issues such as health care reform, solving the border crisis, immigration reform, legislation to quell our environmental impact as a country and gun law reform.

You know, the issues that they build their platform on and issues that continue to affect millions of Americans every day. Instead, democratic leadership has put their sole focus on removing a president duly elected by the people of the U.S. and their representatives.

It’s already been three years of attempting to de-legitimize the Trump presidency: the Russian investigation dominated the media for two, and now we may have another two-year ordeal to further distract the American people and politicians from the issues that people continue to suffer from every day at the hands of their inaction. If anything, these attempts show where House Democrats’ loyalties lie: not with the American people, but in maintaining their power and crying crocodile tears over the Bad Orange Man, instead of doing anything constructive to make life in our country better.

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