What Exactly Is Trump Facing Impeachment for?

An impeachment procedure has been launched against US President Donald Trump. And although the reasons for it are not the same as they were before, some decision will be made, in any case. If it turns out to be negative, Trump will receive a powerful credit of trust in the upcoming elections, and the Democrats, in turn, will fall significantly, Pavel Sharikov, head of the Centre for Applied Research at the US and Canada Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with the Valdai Discussion Club.

Impeachment, the procedure for the removal of any acting official from power, is a fairly common phenomenon. In relation to the president, it has been launched only three times in US history, and it was never completed successfully. In relation to other officials – for example, if a judge does not fulfil his duties and exceeds his authority, impeachment has been used much more often, and this is nothing new for the American system.

The confrontation between Donald Trump and the Democrats began during the election campaign, and has now entered an acute phase. Since the impeachment process has already begun, there must be a reason for it. It was initiated after news emerged of the conversation between Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky about Joe Biden. But these grounds, it can be assumed, could hardly lead to impeachment: two-thirds of the senators would vote “against”.

Now the problem has reached a new level: this is not about a phone conversation, during which some statements were made or blackmail was attempted; it concerns allegations that the US president took steps to hide information from this conversation. When he was asked to provide a recording of the conversation, he refused. As for the edited transcript, who edited it and how the half-hour conversation could fit into five printed pages remains unclear. In addition, Trump said that the White House won’t cooperate with Congress on impeachment. Precisely due to the assumption that the president wants to hide something, the Democrats are trying to put pressure on him and either find grounds for impeachment or simply make him nervous so that he makes a mistake while under stress. In any case, the activities of the Democrats are obviously connected with the 2020 presidential election campaign.

What kind of information this is remains known to very few people – in particular, it is unknown even to the “secret informant” who leaked the alleged content of the conversation. If the Democrats knew what to look for, they could present it in earnest, but so far they’ve only been able to share their suspicion that Trump is trying to cover his tracks. In general, there is a very serious analogy to the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Then, the reason for the impeachment procedure was a sexual scandal. Clinton began to deny everything, for which he was accused of “obstruction of justice”. The current president is also being accused of this. On the whole, it is impossible to predict whether an impeachment will take place or not.

It is very important to understand that since the impeachment procedure has been started, some decision will be made on it in any case. If negative, then Donald Trump will receive a powerful vote of confidence in the upcoming elections, especially among doubting voters. The Democrats, in turn, will lose ground.

Now the Democrats are also running a very active campaign for the primaries, but two of their leading candidates are experiencing serious problems. The story with Zelensky hit Joe Biden, who had been the leader in the race. The second most popular candidate, Bernie Sanders, has undergone heart surgery: he has not yet officially announced that he no longer intends to run, but it is unlikely that at 78 years and after the operation he will have enough strength to continue the race. All of the other candidates are noticeably younger.

As for the investigation into the son of Joe Biden, the domestic Ukrainian political aspect is more important here than the American one. President Zelensky has become a victim of the internal political struggle in the United States; his statements could have an impact on the course of the election campaign.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.