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The ‘impeachment’, the risky Democratic bet against Trump

The current composition of the Congress makes it difficult for the president to cease, which could be reinforced by the 2020 elections.

The opening of an investigation in the House of Representatives for the possible start of a political trial against the president of the United States, Donald Trump, has unleashed the box of thunder in American politics, without it being clear for now who can benefit of this risky movement.

The Democratic Party had been divided in recent months, with a more combative sector shouting the ‘impeachment’ and a more moderate wing, led by the president of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who had been more cautious before what would be the fourth start of a political trial in the history of the United States.

The drop that has filled the glass fell on July 25, when Trump spoke on the phone with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodimir Zelenski. Some of the content of this call sent off the alarms of a member of the Intelligence who warned of a possible unacceptable pressure by the US president, according to the leaks of the last days.

Waiting for the exact content of the call, Trump has acknowledged that he spoke with Zelenski of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, although he has not referred to the scope of the conversation and if, as several media points, he asked that alleged irregularities be examined under the veiled threat of a reduction in aid to Ukraine.

Pelosi extracted from Trump’s statements that he “has admitted that he asked the president of Ukraine to carry out actions that would benefit him politically,” which could lead to a “serious” violation of the Constitution. “The actions of the Trump Presidency have revealed the dishonest fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, a betrayal of national security and the integrity of the elections,” he said.

The head of the House of Representatives, the third authority in the country below the president and vice president, reminded Trump that “no one is above the law,” which confirmed the opening of an official investigation to determine the feasibility of a future ‘impeachment’.

The Constitution establishes that a president can be dismissed for “treason, bribery, crimes or other misdemeanors”, an ambiguous definition that during previous processes has covered from situations of alleged corruption to abuses of power. It does not necessarily have to be a criminal offense nor is it necessary to prove anything beyond doubt.

The Judicial Commission of the Chamber has historically led the investigations for a political trial, but the leaders of the Democratic Party may also choose to put in charge a selected ‘ad hoc’ committee. Democrats are a majority in the lower house, so they could accuse Trump without any Republican vote.

If a simple majority of the House of Representatives – made up of a total of 435 members – supports the filing of charges, known under the formal denomination of “articles of political judgment”, the ball passes to the roof of the Senate, the scenario where the actual trial would be carried out to determine Trump’s guilt or innocence.

In this second phase, the members of the House of Representatives would act as prosecutors, the senators would act as jurors and the president of the Supreme Court would serve as the maximum supervisor. The condemnation and dismissal of the tenant of the White House requires in this case the vote in favor of two thirds of the one hundred senators.

Republicans lost control of the Lower House in the last legislative elections, but maintained that of the Upper House, so they could even dismiss the charges against Trump without even considering the evidence the Democrats can present.

The Senate is renewed for thirds every two years and, pending what may happen in November 2020, currently has 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two independents, although the latter vote on most occasions of the side of the Democratic Party. For Trump to be dismissed – 67 votes would be necessary – at least 20 Republicans would need to change sides.

Trump charged the Pelosi announcement immediately, to lament that “on such an important day at the United Nations, with so much work and so much success, the Democrats have to ruin it on purpose with more breaking news about the stupid witch hunt.”

“They haven’t even seen the transcript of the conversation (which he had with Zelenski). A total witch hunt,” he said on Twitter. “Presidential harassment,” he denounced, recovering the terms he already used in his day to question the investigation by the alleged

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