U.S. president Donald Trump - AFP
CAIRO – 29 December 2017: In November, six Democrats of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced five new articles of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump.
They listed many controversial actions and behavior by Trump to support these articles. This impeachment has faced many questions on whether Trump could be ousted from office in 2018 or not.
Democrats Luis Gutiérrez, Al Green, Marcia Fudge, John Yarmuth, Adriano Espaillat and Steve Cohen are exerting efforts to oust Trump from office, despite opposition from the House’s Democratic leadership.
“Given the magnitude of the constitutional crisis, there’s no reason for delay,” said Rep. Cohen.
During a press conference held in November, they referred to five controversial actions done by Trump that they say make him unsuitable for presidency and deserving of impeachment.
First, they asserted that Trump obstructed justice when he dismissed the country’s top law enforcer, former FBI Director James Comey, who was heading an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and whether Trump’s campaign advisers colluded with the Russian government to win the 2016 election.
Referring to Trump’s host of foreign diplomats at his new hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue and his receipt of foreign payments through his business, Democrats – who supported Hillary Clinton – said that Trump violated the Domestic and Foreign Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution. Under these clauses, public officials are banned from taking gifts from foreign governments without the consent of Congress and the president is prohibited from using his office to profit.
Additionally, they claim that Trump has undermined two of thecountry’s most important institutions – the courts and the press – as he imposed mounting pressures on the media in the U.S., including sharp attacks on reporters and weakening press freedom. One of his most recent attacks came in retweeting a picture of a blood-splattered message to CNN on the bottom of his shoe.
Besides, after U.S. court halted Trump’s travel ban for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries in October, Trump tweeted that that this decision was ridiculous and shall be overturned. Democrats see that this comment undermines U.S. courts, which are supposed to be independent.
The impeachment proceedings are supported by Trump’s violent response to the rally held during summer in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacist demonstrators descended to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The rally turned violent when the white supremacists were met by counter protests.
Trump’s response received criticism, as he said that these hate groups did not deserve 100 percent of the blame for the violence.
Trump was then accused of associating himself with white supremacy and inciting hostility and hatred on the basis of race, origin, religion, gender and sexual orientation. They gave examples of his travel bans for Muslim-majority countries and his recirculation of Islamophobic videos.
Beside the press conference, Democrat lawmaker Al Green also read these actions aloud before the House of Representatives on December 6.
Green said the president had "sown discord among the people of the United States and brought contempt, ridicule, disgrace and disrepute on his office," adding “[t]herefore, Donald John Trump, by causing such harm to the society of the United States, is unfit to be president, warrants impeachment, trial and removal from office."
How the impeachment process works
Impeachment is the power laid out in the U.S. constitution to allow congress to put certain officials on trial and potentially remove them from office. To impeach any president, the full House of Representatives votes on whether to impeach him or not. If at least one article of the impeachment receives support from the majority of the House’s members, the president is technically impeached.
Then, the issue moves to the Senate, which holds a trial presided over by the Supreme Court. If two-thirds of senators find the president guilty, he is removed and the vice president steps in.
Will these impeachment articles succeed?
Democrats will unlikely remove Trump from office anytime soon, as Republicans control both the Senate and the House, and because impeachment proceedings are also supported by only a small number of Democrats.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi does not support the impeachment, saying that the impeachment must be based on facts, not personal opinions about the president.
Consequently, on December 6, the House of Representatives shot down the attempt to impeach Trump, as the majority of Democrats joined Republicans to kill the impeachment.
In addition, there has not been any American president that has been removed from office through impeachment and conviction.
Former President Richard Nixon resigned after facing impeachment by the House, while former President Bill Clinton was convicted in 1998, but the Senate acquitted him in 1999.
On the other hand, the Republican National Committee said that an angry Republican senator remarked that if Republicans lose control over the House of Representatives, Trump could be impeached, according to CNN.