Trump impeachment inquiry intensifies through public hearings


On Sept. 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi declared the beginning of an
impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s attempts to seek foreign assistance
in sabotaging opponent Joe Biden, a frontrunner for the 2020 presidential election. This
move came soon after a whistleblower disclosed information regarding Trump’s alleged
coercion to the two chairmen of the Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Richard
Burr and Representative Adam Schiff. On Nov. 13, public hearings organized by the
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence commenced, with twelve high-profile
witnesses being summoned to testify. These hearings concluded on Nov. 21, but will be
followed by an additional set of hearings throughout December.
“I think it is reasonable for Pelosi and the other politicians involved to seek further
investigation into Trump’s actions,” said Emma Lee (12), member of the MUN club.
“Based on Trump’s phone calls with the Ukrainian president and the whistleblower’s
complaint, there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a formal inquiry involving public
hearings. While it is currently unclear the extent to which Trump coerced the Ukrainian
president to launch an investigation of Biden, the hearings seem to be a good opportunity
to unveil the truth of what actually happened.”
These hearings, which were held on five days over the course of two weeks, involved
twelve witnesses, all current or former officials under the Trump administration. The
witnesses’ testimonies revealed new information about the details regarding Trump’s
interactions with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as the involvement of
other Trump administration officials within the affair. For instance, current US
ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor asserted that Trump had pressured Zelensky to
publicly announce an investigation by withholding a promised White House meeting and
military assistance, a blatant abuse of power. US ambassador to the European Union
Gordon Sondland exacerbated the situation for Trump by implicating both Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Advisor John Bolton—a narrative
supported by Fiona Hill, former Russia expert for the National Security Council.
“It was interesting to read about the hearings because each one was different in what they
revealed about the whole case,” said Alan Kang (11), Government and Politics student.
“At the beginning of the hearings, it was unclear how Trump had interacted with the
Ukrainian president and if these interactions were inappropriate. However, as different
witnesses began to testify on the details of what happened and who was involved, I felt as
though I was piecing together the different elements of the puzzle. In this manner, I
thought the hearings were very helpful in understanding the complete narrative.”

In the short term, the hearings have allowed enough justification to pursue this
investigation. Because of the massive amount of information that has been revealed from
just five days of hearings, House Democrats involved have deemed it logical enough to
proceed with the next steps of an impeachment investigation, which involve releasing a
public report on current findings and additional hearings beginning on Dec. 4. The long-
term implications are more extensive. While this case is a domestic affair, further
findings could have an effect on the White House’s foreign affairs as well, with Zelensky
already being so heavily scrutinized by US news media. This inquiry could also have a
very real impact on the 2020 presidential election. Just as the Hillary Clinton email
controversy investigation, while ultimately unsuccessful, caused a dwindling in public
support for her, many are predicting this investigation could propel some of Trump’s
voters to not vote for him in the upcoming election.
“I was not surprised when I found out Trump was under fire yet again,” said Rachel Lee
(10), AP US History student. “However, this time the stakes are definitely higher for him,
as this incident could significantly lower his popularity and ruin his reputation. The 2020
presidential election is coming up, and the result of the impeachment hearings—whether
or not it is in Trump’s favor—could cause some of Trump’s supporters to cast doubt on
his capabilities as a political leader and turn against him.”