Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

drew46_Chen MengtongChina News ServiceVCG via Getty Images_trumppointingatpaper Chen Mengton/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images
English

The Logic of Impeachment Does Not Favor Trump

The view that Donald Trump would welcome an impeachment fight is a product of White House propaganda and bravado. No US president wants to be impeached, because once the process gets underway, there is no knowing how far it might go.

WASHINGTON, DC – US President Donald Trump’s presidency is in peril. He’s likely to be impeached (the equivalent of an indictment) by the House of Representatives, and it cannot be ruled out entirely that the Senate will vote to convict him and thus remove him from office. Impeachment alone would leave an asterisk by Trump’s name in history. And even if he isn’t convicted, which requires a two-thirds vote, any Senate Republican votes against him will undermine his argument that the whole affair is a “hoax.”

The issues raised by Trump’s recent actions – in particular, his pressuring of a foreign government for his own political benefit (which could be a crime) – are at least as serious as the charges that forced President Richard Nixon to resign in the wake of the Watergate scandal. But until last week, House Democrats, most of whom already believed that Trump should face an impeachment inquiry, had been bumbling along, frustrated by the president’s across-the-board efforts to stonewall investigations of his multitude of alleged misdeeds, and by Trump-supporting witnesses who got the better of the committees investigating them. Then, out of the blue, came the news that a whistleblower’s report regarding Trump was being withheld from Congress, which, by law, was supposed to receive it.

Over a dizzying three days, it emerged that Trump, having held up military assistance to beleaguered Ukraine, which is locked in a war with Russia, had gotten on the phone with that country’s young president, Volodymyr Zelensky. Following Zelensky’s suggestion that he would like to receive the military funds, Trump replied, in words that have now become infamous: “I would like you to do us a favor, though.” Trump went on to press Zelensky to find dirt on former Vice President Joseph Biden, who is now Trump’s leading rival for the presidency in 2020. Trump instructed Zelensky to work with his personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr. But recently the Washington Post cited evidence that the so-called transcript had been edited. And Trump has since openly called on China to investigate the Bidens, too.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/HgUCQ2l;
  1. pisaniferry106_Mark WilsonGetty Images_phase one agreement trump china  Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    Explaining the Triumph of Trump’s Economic Recklessness

    Jean Pisani-Ferry

    The Trump administration’s economic policy is a strange cocktail: one part populist trade protectionism and industrial interventionism; one part classic Republican tax cuts skewed to the rich and industry-friendly deregulation; and one part Keynesian fiscal and monetary stimulus. But it's the Keynesian part that delivers the kick.

    0
  2. yu49_ShengJiapengChinaNewsServiceVCGviaGettyImages_G20trumpjinpingshakehands Sheng Jiapeng/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

    PS Say More: Keyu Jin

    Keyu Jin assesses the “phase one” US-China trade deal, questions whether the US can ever accept China’s development model, and highlights a key difference in how the Hong Kong protests are viewed inside and outside China.
    0