The House of Representatives voted to approve an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s conduct in relation to Ukraine. Democrats in Congress had already begun a preliminary probe into the president to uncover evidence that would allow them to impeach him. This vote made the investigation official and lays out the boundaries of the probe.
House Votes for Impeachment Inquiry
The vote for the impeachment inquiry fell mostly along party lines, with no Republicans supporting the measure and only two Democrats voting against. Democratic leadership stated that they have not yet decided whether to move forward with actual impeachment proceedings, but they do consider this a serious matter.
After House Democrats finish their investigation — which could happen soon — they will conduct public hearings regarding the president’s conduct and whether they should attempt to remove him from office. Over the past couple of weeks, the House spoke to two witnesses with knowledge of the president’s actions regarding the Ukrainian government, Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman and Timothy Morrison.
Both men were there during the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but they disagree on the president’s behavior during the conversation. Vindman believed there were issues with the call. He urged the president to restore military aid to Ukraine. He also informed John Eisenberg, the top legal advisor for the National Security Council about the call.
Morrison had a different perspective. He told investigators he didn’t think the president broke any laws. But he did oppose the strategy of pressuring Ukraine’s government because the strategy could benefit Russia. He also said he worried that details of the call could damage the president politically. Now that the inquiry has begun, many are wondering where it will lead.
Public hearings will likely begin after the investigation is concluded. Depending on how the hearings go, the House will decide whether to move forward with impeachment. During these hearings, members of the house will question witnesses in a public setting. Up until now, Republicans and Democrats have been at odds because the Democrats were conducting their interviews with witnesses in secret. Now, the American public will be able to know the details of each testimony.
Democratic Party leadership has not said for sure whether they will impeach the president and attempt to remove him from office. The reality is that many in the party have been working to bring about impeachment since Trump took office, so it seems unlikely that they will abandon their quest now. Even so, if they go forward with impeachment proceedings, the process will go to the Senate, which is still controlled by Republicans.
The senate is where the impeachment effort will likely end, as the Republicans will probably not vote to remove President Trump from office unless the investigation manages to turn up evidence of wrongdoing that rises to the level of removal. So far, it does not seem that the Democrats have managed to find any indication that Trump committed a crime or engaged in behavior unethical enough to warrant his removal from office. But even if impeachment does not succeed, they might find something that will damage the president during the 2020 election.