Daarstad: Impeachment: Protecting Democracy

Haley Daarstad, Columnist

The U.S. House of Representatives is doing the right thing by starting an impeachment inquiry.

This is the correct pathway to impeachment due to the accusations against President Donald Trump. Abuse of power is grounds for impeachment as seen in past cases where public officials have been impeached due to abuses of power. 

The encouragement of foreign powers to influence the 2020 election is an attack on American democracy. 

On Sept. 24, Rep. Peter Defazio D-OR, United States congressional representative for the 4th district of Oregon, which includes Corvallis, Ore., released a statement on Rep. Nancy Pelosi D-CA’s address on a formal impeachment inquiry. 

“I am in full support of Speaker Pelosi’s announcement today that the House will move forward with a formal impeachment inquiry… His presidency is a danger to our national security and a threat to our democracy,” states the memo.

The announcement of the formal impeachment inquiry came after a memo was released by a whistleblower claiming Trump solicited assistance from the Ukrainian government in interfering with US elections. The whistleblower memo released appeared to show Trump using his power of the presidential office for personal use. 

The primary issue with the recent information is the welcoming of foreign powers meddling in our elections. Trump has supposedly discussed with several foreign countries to have them help him gain leverage in the 2020 election. 

Not only has the president been involved, but the people he has surrounded himself with, such as Attorney General William Barr and his attorney Rudy Guiliani have also met with foreign governments, allegedly to seek information to benefit Trump in the upcoming presidential election. 

The issues relating to presidential and diplomatic abuse of power to coerce and encourage foreign interference in domestic politics and U.S. elections are the dominant reasons why the House has officially decided to make an impeachment inquiry, according to Christopher Nichols, history professor and director of Humanities at Oregon State University. 

“It’s the foreign powers meddling in the U.S. elections that is beyond the pale and clearly breaks long-standing norms in U.S. politics and history,” Nichols said.

The influence of foreign administration in our government is preventing American politics from being American. 

According to the whistleblower, Trump encouraged the Ukrainian president on a phone call to help him win his 2020 reelection bid and supposedly promised things in return, such as military aid.

Christopher Stout, an assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at OSU, sees that there is a large change in the conversation around impeachment due to the change in high crime Trump is accused of.

“After the Ukraine stuff came out, some speculated that Pelosi felt she had no choice but to impeach,” Stout said. 

Trump is accused of using a foreign power to gain leverage in an election which is a serious offense that has not been taken lightly in other situations. The way Trump abused his power in office is an attack on American democracy. 

The process of impeachment, however, is complicated. 

The first step is the inquiry, which consists of House committees investigating President Trump. The most substantial cases are then sent to the judiciary committee, where they decide if the findings are sufficient enough for the House to hold a vote on the floor. 

Once the inquiry is complete, the U.S. House of Representatives decide whether to vote to impeach or not. If the House votes to impeach, then a trial will be held in the Senate.

Although, if the House impeached Trump, it would be unlikely that he would be removed from office due to the republican party holding the majority within the Senate.

With the recent information released, it has shown that Trump might have used the office of the president of the United States for personal gain in the 2020 election is an assault on United States democracy and national security. 

The released documents regarding the possible abuse of power and encouraging foreign influence in American elections by the president of the United States warrants the impeachment inquiry the House has announced.

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