Allegations of abuse of power against Donald Trump lead the US Democrats to take the first concrete steps for possible impeachment of the President. This was announced by US House Chairperson Nancy Pelosi in Washington.
Pelosi accused Trump of violating his constitutional duties: "Nobody is above the law." Trump's actions "betrayed his oath of office," said the opposition leader. He also attacked the "integrity" of the US election process.
Trump promptly responded to Twitter, saying that "garbage" was being spread as part of a "witch hunt". The thing was "so bad for our country". Shortly thereafter, he published another – apparently prepared – campaign video in which the Democrats are sharply attacked, inter alia, for their impeachment plan.
What's up with the Ukraine affair
For days, new allegations against Trump have been causing a stir in Washington. According to him, in a telephone conversation in July, he is said to have repeatedly called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj to initiate investigations that could harm the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. In return, Trump should also have given the Ukrainian an inappropriate "promise" – to its content, however, nothing is known. US media reported that Trump had personally ordered, the Ukraine pledged aid of about 400 million US dollars initially not pay.
Democrats see the incident as a possible abuse of power and attempt to influence the next presidential election, which is due in November 2020. Trump has repeatedly rejected the allegations against him. He spoke on Tuesday in New York about a "ridiculous witch hunt". He also stated that he had approved the publication of the transcript of the contentious telephone conversation. The public would then see "that it was a very friendly and absolutely appropriate conversation," Trump tweeted.
Video: Trump and the Ukraine affair – "The conversation was perfect"
Democrats have long had calls for impeachment of Trump – mainly because of the Russian affair. A special investigator had been investigating for about two years whether Trump's electoral camp was colluding with Russia on alleged interference by Moscow in the 2016 US election campaign, and whether Trump, as president, later obstructed justice investigations. The investigative team brought to light some incriminating points against Trump, but put everything else in the hands of Congress.
In view of the new allegations surrounding Ukraine, more and more Democrat MPs have recently called for an impeachment procedure against Trump to be initiated. The US media recently put the number of supporters at more than 150 (read here what would mean impeachment against the US president).
Joe Biden said shortly before Pelosis speech, without comprehensive cooperation of the White House in the clarification of the recent allegations, the Congress would have to relieve Trump of the office. If Trump continues to prevent parliamentary investigations and mock laws, there is no other choice, Biden said.
A so-called impeachment could indeed be filed with the majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives – after all sorts of investigations and the identification of certain charges. Necessary would be at least 218 votes in the chamber. The Democrats have a majority of 235 of the 435 votes. However, the decision to actually impeach is in the Senate, where Trump's Republicans have the majority. The chances that the Democrats will succeed with their project are thus small.
Pelosi, the frontwoman of the Democrats in the US Congress, had been very skeptical about impeachment proceedings so far. In the past, she repeatedly referred to the high hurdles and associated risks. They are not negligible for the Democrats.
Almond NGAN / AFP
Nancy Pelosi: "Nobody is above the law"
If Republicans failed to do such a thing with their majority in the Senate before the next election next year, that would give the Democrats a serious bankruptcy in the midst of the election campaign – while Trump would be boasting the largest possible "acquittal" by Congress could.
It is also unclear whether such a complicated procedure would be completed at all until the election. So far, no US President has been dismissed by an impeachment procedure of the Office.