The House of Representatives has been dominated by accusations towards President Trump. This led to an impeachment inquiry by the House after a whistleblower came up with a story that Trump in a conversation with Ukraine president Zelensky (July 25, 2019) had asked the man to investigate Joe Biden’s behavior concerning a Ukraine company and Biden’s son during the election in 2016. Biden should have favored his son to a high function in a cyber-security technology Company and a Chinese Equity Investment Fund Management Company. Biden had pressured the Ukraine president to back away from an investigation in the technology Company where his son worked.
Trump’s request was mentioned in the same conversation Ukraine asked for military aid. That smells like “I do something for you; you do something for me.” Quid pro Quo. The Democrats interpret this as unlawful. We should also consider that Obama refused to give Ukraine military aid. When Trump wanted to help Ukraine in this respect, he might hope to get Ukraine support during the coming election. How is not clear for me.
Under the Constitution, the president can be removed from office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” One might interpret Trump’s conversation as a form of bribery or misdemeanor, of which the latter, according to the dictionary, is a non-indictable offense, regarded in the US (and formerly in the UK) as less serious than a felony. Hardly a reason for impeachment.
The Ukraine president, just like Trump, emphasized they had a pleasant exchange of views, without any conditions, let alone ‘quid pro quo.’ Here the accusations could end. But no, the Democrats did more digging, fixated on their long set goal. The whole problem is that Biden “happens” to be a serious candidate for the presidency. So, what Trump did, is trying to get information to undermine Biden’s chances as an adversary. You might doubt if that’s illegal or impeachable. The House was very clear about this: the Democrats (232) voted Yes and the Republicans (196) unanimous No. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presided the vote. Pelosi promised a transparent and open process. The procedure could start and did so on November 13. On November 8 the 400-page transcripts of the whistleblowers and involved officials were released. Trump released transcripts of his telephone calls with Zelensky.
House Democrats are discussing a time frame that would include public impeachment hearings before Thanksgiving and votes on whether to impeach Trump by Christmas, though the timing remains fluid. Already closed-doors hearings have taken place headed by the Chairman of the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Democrat Adam Schiff. His party gives him the power to decide who will testify and who is allowed to ask questions.
The Constitution itself doesn’t say much about Senate impeachment trials of a president, other than requiring a two-thirds vote for removal from office, and stipulating that the Chief Justice of the United States will preside over the trial (the Senate consists of 100 members: 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and 2 Independents). We’ll see.