By Brahmjot Kaur
The following article was printed in the February 2020 edition of The Campus.
With President’s Day approaching on February 17th, President Donald J. Trump is still in the hotseat. On December 18, 2019, the House of Representatives voted in favor of impeaching President Trump and moved to the Senate impeachment trials, where a vote will take place on his removal of office.
Donald Trump was accused of pressuring the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to find incriminating information on Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son. It is important to note, Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian company and Joe Biden is one of the top Democratic candidates for the 2020 Presidential elections.
An anonymous intelligence official wrote a formal complaint as a whistleblower — an employee who alleges wrongdoing by his or her employer of the sort that violates public law or tends to injure a considerable number of people — describing concerns about a phone call between Trump and Zelensky that they overheard. A transcript of the phone call was released and did, in fact, reflect the claims of the whistleblower.
The House of Representatives charged President Trump with two crimes: obstruction of Congress and abuse of powers. The vote was 230 to 197, in favor of impeachment. Though Trump has been impeached, he will not be removed from office unless the Senate chooses to convict the president. It would take two-thirds of the Senate’s vote to convict him and remove him from office. If President Trump is not convicted, he could still run in the 2020 election, but even if he is convicted, the Senate could still allow him to run if they choose to.
While Trump is the third President of the United States to be impeached, both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were acquitted by the Senate, and Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.
The Senate impeachment trials began on Thursday, January 16, when the impeachment managers — Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Val Demings, Rep. Jason Crow, and Rep. Sylvia Garcia — presented the articles of impeachment by reading them to the Senate. After a five-day recess, the Senate reconvened on January 21, when opening arguments began. A few weeks into the trial, senators will vote on whether to dismiss the trial then, or call witnesses and introduce new evidence. Finally, there will be closing arguments and the Senate will vote to either deliberate privately with a simple majority, or vote publicly. The trial is set to conclude sometime in February.
While our House and Senate debate on our current president’s immediate shady shenanigans, it is time to look back at some of the shadiest presidents of the United States.
- Richard M Nixon: Nixon helped cover a break in into the DNC, where the intruders wiretapped phone lines and stole secret papers, an event which was famously nicknamed the “Watergate Scandal.” Nixon resigned so that he could not be impeached as he was definitely guilty of the crime.
- Andrew Jackson: In 1830, Jackson ordered troops to kill large numbers of Native Americans and signed the Indian Removal Act, forcing over 46,000 Native Americans onto reservations, which is known as “The Trail of Tears.”
- Andrew Johnson: A white supremacist who stated that “this is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.” Johnson was impeached because he attempted to remove the Secretary of War without the Senate’s approval (A big no-no).
- Calvin Coolidge: Signed the Immigration Act of 1924 to limit immigrants allowed entry into the US, allowing some parts of Europe to have more immigrants than others. It was very restrictive to Italians, Slavic people, Greeks, Chinese, Japanese, and Spaniards.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt: Established Japanese-American internment camps in the United States through an executive order. According to the AAPF, over 120,000 people of Japanese descent were placed in internment camps following Pearl Harbor. Two-thirds of the people interned were United States citizens.
- Harry S. Truman: Responsible for dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, completely destroying the cities, as well as affecting the lives of those who dealt with the radiation from the aftermath of Truman’s reprehensible decision.
- Ronald Reagan: The Reagan Administration did not address the AIDs epidemic because they did not take it seriously in light of their homophobic values.
- George W Bush: Invaded Iraq after 9/11 under false pretenses, with over 250,000 people having died in the war.
- Donald J Trump: In 2018, Trump shut down the government because he demanded $5.7 billion for his border wall even though the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $1.6 billion for him and there was immense bipartisan support. He ended up with less ($1.38 billion) than if he had agreed to the bipartisan deal. Trump also used his emergency authority to appropriate funds for a “policy priority” even though Congress specifically refused to. Trump also supported Turkey in invading Syria and attacking our Kurdish allies.
And on that note, happy President’s Day!