United States: Democrats Launch Impeachment Proceedings against Donald Trump

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Democrats launch impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump

Donald Trump is believed to have asked the Ukrainian president to investigate his Democratic rival, Joe Biden. But the impeachment procedure is unlikely to succeed.

Sounding thunderclap in Washington. US Democrats on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, launched the first stage of a solemn indictment of Donald Trump, suspected of asking the Ukrainian president to investigate his political rival Joe Biden, a rare and explosive procedure that has little likely to result in the removal of the US President.

Despite the many cases that rocked the early years of Donald Trump’s presidency, this political thunderbolt represents the most frontal attack on the Republican billionaire.

“A gutter’s witch hunt,” the president immediately denounced, receiving the news in New York where he had gone to the UN General Assembly.

Irony of the calendar, Donald Trump was at the announcement at home at the “Trump Tower”, the skyscraper he had chosen to announce in 2015 his candidacy for the White House.

Risky betting

“Today, I announce that the House of Representatives is launching an official investigation into the impeachment process” of Donald Trump, announced the Democratic Speaker of the lower house, Nancy Pelosi.

“The actions of the president to date have violated the Constitution,” she accused in a speech to Congress.

Some 400 days before the presidential election in November 2020, triggering this procedure, unpopular in the polls and the outcome very uncertain, represents a risky bet.

The House, with a Democratic majority, will be responsible for conducting the impeachment procedure. If it succeeds, the Senate, controlled by the Republicans who remain mostly loyal to Donald Trump, will lead the “trial” of the president, concluded by a verdict.

It seems unlikely, in the current state of affairs, that enough Republican senators are turning against Donald Trump.

Only two US Presidents have been indicted in history: Andrew Johnson Democrats in 1868 and Bill Clinton, prosecuted for “perjury” in 1998 after his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Never has a president been deposed in the United States.

Hoping to run for a second term in November 2020, the 73-year-old Republican considered the idea of ​​being ousted “ridiculous”, claiming that the procedure would be beneficial to the polls.

This event has precisely slowed down Nancy Pelosi. The clever 79-year-old strategist feared voters would sanction in 2020 a party that would spend too much time targeting the Republican, rather than talking about issues that matter to them, such as the economy and health.

Ukrainian case

Under pressure, DonaldTrump finally agreed to publish the contents of his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, at the heart of the case.

Directly concerned by this issue, 76-year-old Democratic White House candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday rallied to supporters of the opening of an impeachment procedure against Donald Trump.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden, major rivals in the November 2020 US presidential race.
Donald Trump and Joe Biden, major rivals in the November 2020 US presidential race. (© AFP / Archives / SAUL LOEB, Robyn BECK)

For Barack Obama’s former vice president and a favourite of the Democratic primary, the Ukrainian case is personal: the Democrats suspect Donald Trump of having pushed, by weighing military aid intended for Ukraine, his counterpart Ukrainian to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

The latter worked for a Ukrainian gas group from 2014, when his father was vice-president.

Donald Trump publicly admitted to mentioning Joe and Hunter Biden during the controversial conversation, but firmly denies pressuring Ukraine.

In the midst of turmoil, the president tries to return the suspicions against Joe Biden, accusing him with his son, without putting forward any evidence, to be “corrupt”.

The whole affair erupted when a mysterious whistleblower, a member of the US intelligence service, in August reported to his superiors about a telephone conversation Donald Trump with Mr Zelensky.

According to several US media, the White House may allow the transmission of its report to US officials, and studies with intelligence officials, the possibility that the whistleblower is heard by members of Congress.

The whistleblower is ready to testify before a congressional committee if the security conditions are met, said his lawyer Tuesday, who also said “applaud the decision to publish the report,” without giving more details. “We are waiting for the publication of the report in its entirety,” added the lawyer in a statement consulted by AFP.

After the vast Russian investigation and multiple parliamentary investigations, it is finally the Ukrainian case that has made the dykes yield to the most reluctant Democrats, Nancy Pelosi in the lead. More and more people have rallied to the idea of ​​launching the solemn inquiry.

Among the candidates for the Democratic primary, the most progressive, Elizabeth Warren in the lead but also Bernie Sanders or Kamala Harris, all senators, have been calling for several months to launch a procedure of dismissal.

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