WASHINGTON, Sep 25 - RIA News. Democrats who control the lower house of Congress have announced the impeachment procedure of incumbent Republican President Donald Trump.
13 months before the election day, scheduled for November 3, 2020, the presidential campaign is included in the new and most fierce stage for today.
The reason for such an extreme, but long-awaited step was allegedly Trump’s attempt to use the Ukrainian authorities to compromise his main rival in the election, Joe Biden, as well as an attempt to hide these actions.
The President considers these accusations another “witch-hunt”, categorically denies that he asked for something illegal, President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky, and promises on Wednesday to release a record of his conversation with him. According to Trump, the whole story is fabricated to shield Biden, whose son, he claims, is implicated in corruption in Ukraine.
Conversation with Consequences
Trump's telephone conversation with Zelensky took place in July. The president claims to have called to congratulate his colleague on assuming office and "the conversation was wonderful."
Two months later, disturbing publications appeared in several American media. With reference to sources, it was alleged that Trump had revealed some secrets in a conversation with a certain foreign leader, then it became known that it was Zelensky, and, finally, later publications reported that the US president was trying to put pressure on the Ukrainian leader to begin an investigation against Biden’s son. Otherwise, Trump allegedly threatened to freeze Ukraine’s annual financial assistance for security.
It is noteworthy that on Tuesday the US president confirmed that the allocation of funds to Ukraine will be delayed, but for a different reason: until Europe and other countries make their contribution. “There was no exchange of one for the other,” Trump added.
Soon after the leaders had a conversation, an American intelligence officer reported to his superiors who became aware of the contents of the conversation. However, the complaint was not given a move and its content was not submitted to Congress.
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Democrat Nancy Pelosi said that according to the law, after a complaint is received from the informant to the office of the Inspector General of National Intelligence, he has 14 days to investigate. After that, the director of national intelligence has 7 days to transmit information to intelligence committees in the US Congress. According to her, the procedure was not followed as directed by the US administration.
Now this voluntary informant is ready to testify to Congress, and the White House, according to Politico, is ready to publish his complaint.
Pelosi: Trump is a traitor!
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Pelosi officially announced the beginning of the impeachment procedure as the head of the authority responsible for this procedure.
"I announce today that the House of Representatives is starting an official investigation (within) of impeachment," Pelosi said in a special appeal.
According to her, the president’s actions show that he "betrayed the presidency, national security and the integrity of our elections."
The reason for the impeachment Pelosi believes Trump’s conversation with Zelensky, during which he allegedly demanded to start an investigation against Hunter Biden, the son of US presidential candidate Joe Biden. It is in this that the democrats see "violation of the integrity of elections" and "abuse of power."
Pelosi also said that she ordered the six committees of the house to initiate an investigation.
At the same time, the other day, the head of the intelligence committee of the US House of Representatives, Democrat Adam Schiff, known for his harsh criticism of Trump, said that he was not a supporter of impeachment, considering it an "extraordinary and only measure."
In turn, Biden, who currently does not hold public office, said on Tuesday that "if the president continues to obstruct justice, Congress will have no choice but to initiate impeachment." The politician also expressed confidence that Trump "violated the US constitution and his oath."
It is characteristic that a few months ago Pelosi refused to support the initiative of her party members on the impeachment of Trump. Then the president was accused of "conspiracy with Russia" and an obstacle to the investigation, which studied the "interference of Russia" in the elections in 2016. This spring, the investigation was officially completed - no evidence of guilt of the head of state was found. The speaker of the House of Representatives was forced to admit that the grounds for impeachment were not enough and considered such an initiative untimely. But now, when Biden is already accused of involvement in the crimes (or their concealment), his party members decided to resort to at least in the fight against Trump. After all, the reputation of their main (according to opinion polls) candidate at the 2020 elections is at stake.
Trump: this is the persecution of the president!
The reaction of Trump, who is in New York at the UN General Assembly this week, was expected, although not as harsh as it sometimes is.
"Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so many successes, and the Democrats deliberately destroyed and discredited it with the slag of new urgent messages from the witch hunt. So bad for our country! They didn’t even read the transcript of the call," he wrote.
“Persecution of the president!”, The head of state added.
A few hours before, the president announced that the full version of the conversation with Zelensky would be published on Wednesday with Kiev’s consent. This promise came after news that the Democrats were preparing impeachment. In the early days of the scandal, Trump did not promise to reveal anything, and members of the administration called the publication of a private conversation between the heads of state a "bad precedent."
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has already stated that Trump in a conversation with Zelensky did not force him to anything. In addition, Kiev made it clear that they were not going to get involved in the political struggle in the United States.
Biden and Ukraine
In 2014, Biden’s son Hunter joined as a member of the board of directors Burisma, one of the largest private gas companies in Ukraine. This caused another wave of questions, since at the same time Joe Biden played one of the key roles in the administration on US policy towards Ukraine. Then, however, Hunter told the Burisma leadership and other board members that he would not be involved in activities related to the US authorities or his father. Hunter worked at the company until April 2019.
In 2016, when Biden Sr. served as U.S. vice president, he demanded a tough anti-corruption policy from Kiev and, as part of this campaign, called for the resignation of the then attorney general Viktor Shokin, who also investigated the activities of Burisma. Biden later, not without pride, told how in a conversation with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko he demanded to dismiss Shokin, threatening otherwise to block financial assistance to Ukraine in the amount of one billion dollars. As a result, the prosecutor general was removed from office.
However, later the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko said that he did not have evidence of offenses that Biden Sr. or his son could have committed on the territory of the country.
For the time being, Biden’s confessions did not attract much public attention until Trump remembered them, saying that the son of the former US vice president received "millions of dollars from Ukraine and billions from China."
As part of the impeachment procedure, Democrats in the chamber will have the right to call witnesses and require various documents that they consider necessary. The list of those with whom lawmakers would like to talk, and what they would like to study, is very impressive, given that several congressional investigations are already underway against Trump.
Earlier, the Trump administration repeatedly ignored such requests and transferred disputes with the Democrats to the courts, where the process was further delayed. In addition, the administration has the opportunity to appeal to the Supreme Court, where most judges were appointed on the proposal of the Republican presidents.
Under the provisions of the US Constitution, the impeachment procedure involves an investigation by the House of Representatives. The results in the form of specific charges should be approved by a simple majority of the members of the house and transferred to the Senate, which serves as the court. In the Senate, charges must be approved by two-thirds of the vote. Only after that the president will be removed from office.
Since January 2019, the majority in the House of Representatives are among the Democrats, and in the Senate - by the Republicans. The next congressional elections will be held simultaneously with the presidential in November 2020 (the entire composition of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate will be re-elected).