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Students react to possibility of presidential impeachment

| Wednesday, October 9, 2019

After an anonymous whistleblower reported a concern in August to the House of Representatives and Senate Intelligence Committees about U.S. President Donald Trump soliciting foreign interference to better his chances in the 2020 election, the complaint was eventually passed along to the Justice Department.

From there, on Sept. 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry into Trump for his dealings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The anonymous whistleblower claims Trump threatened to cut off Ukraine’s foreign aid if the government did not cooperate in the investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. The possibility of impeachment has elicited strong responses throughout the political world, not excluding Notre Dame’s campus.

Though the charges facing the president are serious, Dominic Ferrante, senior and president of Notre Dame’s College Republicans, said he is not worried for Trump. 

“It’s going to come to nothing in the end. I don’t think the House will even end up taking an impeachment vote on it,” Ferrante said. ”On the off chance that the House does vote on it, I think the vote will fail.”  

First year John Ferletic, a College Republicans officer, said he doesn’t see the recent attempts to impeach the President as legitimate or threatening to his presidency.

”Even if the President is impeached by the House, I don’t see an outcome at the moment where the Senate would remove him from office,” Ferletic said.

Before voting on impeachment articles, the House of Representatives must investigate the claim regarding the president’s alleged misconduct and determine whether an impeachable offense was committed.

If the House votes to impeach Trump, he will then be tried in the Senate. While former U.S. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both impeached by the House of Representatives, both were acquitted by the Senate and thus remained in office.

Though no official vote has been held on the matter, the House Intelligence Committee is currently conducting an official investigation into the whistleblower’s claims. The impeachment process is long and complicated, and requires both the majority of the House and two-thirds of the Senate to support the action.

Ferrante said he is unconcerned about the allegation having a negative effect on Trump’s chances in the 2020 election.

“It certainly won’t do any harm. It could potentially ignite the President’s supporters,” Ferrante said. ”I think most of President Trump’s supporters see this as more of the same, more constant attacks by the Democrats to delegitimize President Trump in any way they can.” 

Ferrante criticized Pelosi and the Democrats for initiating the impeachment inquiry.

“They are afraid that none of their candidates can beat President Trump in the 2020 election,” he said. ”I think this is just an attempt to weaken the President and make him vulnerable in that year.”

Senior Sheila Gregory, president of Notre Dame’s College Democrats, believes the investigation will reveal damning evidence against President Trump.

“Any number of actions President Trump has taken could have been impeachable offenses” Gregory said. ”I think we are on the verge of an avalanche of information.”

Gregory said she believes the impeachment inquiry could negatively affect the President’s chance of re-election. 

“I think an investigation like this will only serve to hurt the president,” Gregory said. ”He is incapable of staying on message in situations like these and when what people see on the news every night is that the President of the United States committed crimes, that will not bode well for his chances.” 

Gregory said the Democratic party opened the investigation not to gain any advantage in 2020, but instead to “uphold the laws of this nation, and investigate and punish wrongdoing when they occur.”

“The House Democrats are fulfilling their duty to this country by holding the President accountable for his crimes,” Gregory said. 

Sophomore Brigid Harrington, vice president of College Democrats, said the issue of impeachment is of grave importance.

“As such, any action must be taken with considerable caution,” Harrington said. ”At the same time, the American people deserve to know what transpired during President Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian President, and if there was any potential wrongdoing. I believe that Speaker Pelosi has been effective in taking both of these important considerations into account.”

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