With the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump already underway, we are beginning to gain a clearer of why the American president must be impeached. This can be traced back to the Democrats’ leading argument in the impeachment hearings, which was that Trump urged the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate a leading political rival of his, Joe Biden (according to a written summary of the conversation released by the White House), and therefore committed “bribery”, an impeachable offense. Trump even offered to have the Justice Department assist that investigation.
While Trump has undoubtedly made other errors that many argue justify impeachment in the past (such as failing to disclose or divest himself from his extensive financial interests and instead using the platform of the presidency to promote them or requiring public officials pledge their loyalty to him above their loyalty to the public), the recent events that tie into the Ukraine situation best represent the danger that would come with Trump remaining in office.
The attempted quid pro quo with Ukraine for a Whitehouse invite and for military aid is a key point in understanding why Donald Trump must be impeached. Trump has withheld a White House invitation from Zelensky. The evidence of this is clearly shown in a text conversation between Kurt Volker, Trump’s handpicked envoy for Ukraine, and top Zelensky aide Andrey Yermak. The Trump administration also froze $391 million in military and security assistance to Ukraine.
"That's the most compelling argument why aid to Ukraine was in our national security interests," observed Joe Lockhart, who was President Bill Clinton's press secretary during his impeachment. "Russia is at war with Ukraine, our ally. But President Trump put his own political interests ahead of our national security interests. That's why it rises to an impeachable offense."
Considering this, Donald Trump has violated the oath of office, which is the president's promise to subordinate his private desires to the public interest.
Trump deployed his attorney Rudy Giuliani to lead the effort to secure investigations from Ukraine. Multiple witnesses described to lawmakers that as Giuliani worked to make that happen, he avoided State Department channels and undermined US policy toward Ukraine. Democrats could draft articles of impeachment accusing Trump of abusing his powers and manipulating the State Department for political gain and having Giuliani do his dirty work.
Some argue that since Trump did not succeed in his attempted bribery to Ukraine, he should not be impeached. However, this argument is invalid as you do not have to be successful at committing a crime to be guilty. Attempt in itself is a crime. Of course, impeachment doesn’t require a crime, but since, during the Mueller investigation, many conservatives argued that the President should be impeached only if he committed one, it’s worth pointing out that Trump’s conduct was likely criminal.
There are countless other reasons Trump must be impeached that date back to the start of his presidency, but what we need to focus on right now is the current situation regarding his violation of the constitution through his phone call with Ukraine and the subsequent events that followed. This situation alone provides more than enough reason for the impeachment of Donald Trump.
Michael Gerhardt, a CNN legal analyst summarizes, "The Ukraine situation encapsulates almost exactly what impeachment was created to address when the Framers talked about impeachable offenses, they mentioned the President engaging in a corrupt relationship with a foreign power." Therefore, there is no question that Trump needs to be impeached.
The real question is whether Democrats can convince the country that any of this matters. Democrats know they need to tell a clear story in the impeachment hearings to stand up against Trump as this may be their last chance to hold this President accountable for his actions.