New Delhi: After weeks of speculation, the US Democratic Party has launched an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. The move comes after Trump was accused of allegedly asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the son of his political rival, Joe Biden.
US House Speaker and top Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi, who had the sole power to launch impeachment proceedings, finally gave in to pressure by fellow Democrats.
On Tuesday, Pelosi said Trump had committed a “breach of his constitutional responsibilities”.
“No one is above the law,” she said.
Trump is set to face another protracted constitutional and congressional conflict, months after surviving the gruelling Muller-investigation.
While the US President publicly called the impeachment inquiry as “garbage” and “presidential harassment”, a Politico report suggests the inquiry poses a serious threat to the “rest of President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda, to his negotiating strength with world leaders and to his concentration”.
What is Trump accused of?
The latest row was sparked after a US intelligence whistleblower submitted a complaint to the Pentagon against Donald Trump.
It alleged that during Trump’s phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the US President asked him investigate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, who is involved in a Ukrainian business.
Moreover, Trump also allegedly threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine as leverage to push it to probe Biden’s business.
What is an impeachment inquiry?
According to an ABC13 report, “Impeachment is a political process in which any civil officer, including a president and vice president, can be removed from office ‘for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,’ according to the Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution.”
The US House of Representatives have the sole power to impeach federal officials, while the US Senate has the sole power to “convict and remove” the official.
Once the Speaker of the House moves to launch an impeachment inquiry, she has to decide whether the investigation would be handled by the House Judiciary Committee or a new committee constituted for this purpose.
If the committee votes in favour of impeachment, the matter would then be voted on in the House. Once the House decides to impeach an official, the Senate would then proceed to hold a trial. It would then need a two-thirds majority to remove the official.