In Depth

Donald Trump faces impeachment as Nancy Pelosi confirms charges

The announcement all but confirms Trump will be impeached, but he is unlikely to be removed from office

Donald Trump is almost certain to become the third president in US history to be impeached, following yesterday’s confirmation that Democrats will begin drafting formal charges.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House, confirmed yesterday that her party would draft articles of impeachment, forging ahead with a rapid timetable that could bring a vote before Christmas to charge him with high crimes and misdemeanors.

To highlight the Democrat’s central argument that this is not a partisan endeavour, she evoked the country’s constitutional forefathers.

“The president leaves us no choice but to act,” Pelosi said. “Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment.”

Pelosi anchored her brief address - which lasted just six minutes - in the constitution, referring to the founders’ fears of a president overstepping his power. “If we allow a president to be above the law, we do so surely at the peril of our Republic,” she said. “In America, nobody is above the law.”

“His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution. Our democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.”

The House of Representatives is now expected to vote for impeachment, meaning the president will face a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate, which is not expected to remove him from office.

In fact, Republican senators could use the media spotlight to call witnesses of their own, perhaps in an attempt to undermine the potential candidacy of Joe Biden by focusing on his son’s dealings in Ukraine.

However, the Senate does not have the power to end the impeachment process entirely. If the president is reelected, and the Senate comes under Democratic control, the impeachment process could be resurrected years from now.

Trump said yesterday he is “not at all” worried that impeachment could hurt his legacy as president. “It’s a hoax. It’s a hoax. It’s a big, fat hoax,” he said.

To drive the narrative, Trump has constructed an “anti-impeachment talking-point factory built for an impeachment battle playing out in a frenetic news cycle that burns through half a dozen fresh revelations a day,” reports The Washington Post. “The environment favours Trump’s approach of repeating a single catchphrase endlessly until it sinks.”

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