Graphic by MEREK ALAM
On Sept. 24, 2019, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, announced the start to the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
This comes in response to a whistleblower account of a phone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine, Vlodymyr Zelensky, back in July. In this conversation, there was a discussion about a deal in which the United States would receive information in exchange for aid. There was no direct transcript, only a memorandum that summarized the conversation.
There have only been three previous impeachment inquires in the history of the United States. The first being Andrew Johnson in 1868, then again in 1974 with Richard Nixon and most recently Bill Clinton in 1998.
“It’s very historic,” said Kristin Olbertson, a professor of history. “This is just not something the nation undergoes on any kind of regular basis.” There have been numerous calls for impeachment since the beginning of the presidency; however, none were ever acted upon and called before the house.
“I just think the whole thing is overhyped. They’ve been trying to push impeachment proceedings for months now with little to no success. It’s become the boy who cried wolf,” said Emily Thomas (’22).
Recently, there has been a second whistleblower to come forward and collaborate about the phone call. These people will retain certain rights for coming forward to discuss what they know.
“Federal whistleblower protections are there to protect individuals who have knowledge of law breaking or abusive behavior and wish to make that behavior known but are concerned about retaliation they might experience,” said Olbertson.
Additionally, there have been more complications in the process. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not provide subpoenaed paperwork by the house committee. In doing so, the process is being delayed.
This impeachment is coming near the end of Trump’s term and the start of the next election cycle which holds the potential to be affected.
“I think [the impeachment inquiry] does prompt questions into what comes next, and who really cares,” said Sam Nelson (‘21).
There are two possible outcomes to this process. If Trump is to be impeached and then removed by the Senate, he will not be eligible to run for re-election. If he is not impeached or not removed, he will still be able to run for presidency again.
The outcome is uncertain, and students have differing opinions. “If anything, it will strengthen GOP support of Trump and (assuming the impeachment fails like it has in the past) will only weaken the Dem’s connection with their moderates,” said Thomas.
“The short-term affect seems to be positive for the Democrats as a whole, but as we learned in 2016, we can’t be optimistic and ignore the electoral college,” said Nelson.
Both Nelson and Thomas said that it is important for students to follow the news regarding this and to stay informed. “Following what the president does and how their representatives react is critical as a citizen right now,” says Nelson.
“It’s highly important, and I do encourage everybody to pay attention to the process,” said Olbertson. “I do encourage people not to consume cable news and to go to the original sources for their information whenever they can.”