It is a critical moment in American history a year ahead ~ and almost to the day ~ of Election 2020. Few Presidents, apart from Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon, have been destined to face an impeachment inquiry.
Friday’s vote of the House of Representatives to formalise the investigation paves the way for public hearings from officials after weeks of closed door proceedings that have yielded damning testimony against the President.
Palpably, Congress has ramped up the pressure on Trump in the midst of the Republican offensive.
The Head of State has his back to the wall in the face of the legislative mobilisation. The resolution has formalised the rules for public hearings, and for the President and his lawyers to respond to evidence. Profound no less has been the “floor speech” of the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, before the historic vote. Once again, the US President has been openly debunked as few Presidents have, if at all.
Her unusually robust presentation must resonate in the echo chambers of the White House. “The President’s assertion,” she said, “that the Constitution provides him the leeway to do whatever he wants is an existential threat to the republic.
This is a solemn occasion. Nobody, I doubt anybody in this place or anybody you know comes to Congress to impeach the President of the United States, unless his actions are jeopardising our oath of office,” Ms Pelosi said standing next to a print of the US flag. Pregnant was the symbolism of the backdrop. Mr Trump has been denuded in the fountain-head of democracy and he may arguably be going through the wrap-up motions of his impetuous presidency.
The passage of the House resolution comes after weeks of complaints from Republicans, who have suggested that the secretive nature of the initial hearings were unfair to the President.
They argued that he has been denied due process by the “procedural roadmap” taken by Democrats, and suggested that past impeachment inquiries ~ notably into Democrat Bill Clinton and Republican Richard Nixon ~ afforded greater opportunities for the Presidents to defend themselves.
No Republicans broke ranks to vote in favour of the measure, while two Democrats joined what they call the Republican stonewall.
It bears recall that the House launched an impeachment inquiry into the President’s apparent pressure on the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, in September, after a whistleblower came forward expressing concern that Mr Trump had inappropriately used his presidential powers to push for an investigation into a potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden, who was the Vice President under Barack Obama.
Donald Trump has swiftly binned the inquiry as “the greatest witch hunt In American history!” Having proceeded from conclusion to premise, he cannot be unaware that the vote signifies a profound quest for truth. At stake is democracy in the United States of America.