Developments have been made on the investigation of U.S. President Donald Trump, as a second whistleblower came forward with information regarding the president’s suspected collaboration with the Ukrainian president on Sunday.
Information from the second whistleblower, who spoke to the intelligence community’s internal watchdog, supports information within the first whistleblower’s complaint, according to the Associated Press. This first whistleblower’s document referred to Trump’s suspected partnership with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, Trump’s opponent in the 2020 Presidential Election.
Both whistleblowers are represented by attorney Mark Zaid, according to the Associated Press. He said the second whistleblower has firsthand knowledge of the events in question because of their experience in the intelligence field.
With this information, the question of whether the president will be impeached may be on people’s minds.
The House Intelligence committee, according to the Guardian, would first need to draft Articles of Impeachment and get a majority vote from the full House to impeach Trump.
Seth McKee, associate professor in the Texas Tech Department of Political Science, said because Pelosi moved swiftly due to the issue with Trump, he thinks Trump will be impeached.
Regarding events leading up to the impeachment inquiry, McKee said there are a variety of reasons why Trump should get impeached. He said the biggest problem is that the military aid to Ukraine yielded during Trump’s phone call with Zelensky could be considered as quid quo pro, as Trump provided aid in return for dirt on Biden.
It is not 100 percent clear if it was quid pro quo, McKee said. But Trump still asked a foreign leader to dig up dirt on a political rival, which should be enough to remove one from office.
“If it’s true that he withheld military aid from Ukraine for a little while, Ukraine is, last I checked, an ally, and Russia is not, except perhaps for Trump,” he said. “Also, Ukraine is in a hot war with Russian separatists right on the border. Russia already took Crimea, and they desperately need the military aid, and the president is bushleagued enough to withhold.”
Another reason Trump should be up for impeachment is due to the president going after the whistleblower, who reported information to Michael Atkinson, Inspector General for National Intelligence, McKee said. The inspector general alerted Joseph Maguire, acting director of National Intelligence.
“He’s also going after the whistleblower, and that’s a violation of the federal law, and that’s another reason to impeach him and remove him from office,” McKee said.
In addition to this reason, McKee said Trump’s administration has not given the documents that the House of Representatives asked for, which is obstruction of justice.
“They have the damning evidence,” McKee said. “They are not searching for that. They are just searching for corroboration.”
Despite these reasons for possibly impeaching Trump, McKee said the whole matter comes down to if the American public is going to listen to the facts and come to a sober conclusion about this. If Trump is not impeached by the time the 2020 election comes around, he is dead to rights no matter how strong the Democrat candidate is running against Trump.
“Suppose he gets impeached, I think [Mike Pence] is dead to rights too because he was the VP,” McKee said. “It could be a win-win for the Democrats or anyone else opposed to Donald Trump. It could end Pence’s career one way or another.”
In addition to the impeachment inquiry, one may consider what is necessary for the removal of Trump from office if he is later impeached.
No past impeachment inquiry has led to a removal of a president from office, according to the Guardian. During the Senate trial, if two-thirds majority votes to convict Trump, then he is removed from office.
Kevin Banda, assistant professor in the Tech Department of Political Science, said it is hard to imagine a world in which Trump gets removed from office because, mathematically, there are too many Republicans in the Senate for that to work. He said it is unlikely that Trump will be removed from office.
“Unless the Republican Party elite have a turnaround, which seems unlikely because they have never done that before, and it’s not like this stuff is all that new in terms of how the president has behaved,” he said.
Fear of turning against Trump is one factor Banda said may prompt a Republican to not take part in this turnaround.
“There aren’t many Republican elites who actually like him, but they are all terrified of turning against him because they assume, and I think they are right, that they will be challenged in their primaries by some Republican that calls themselves a Trump-like Republican and then maybe get beaten by them,” Banda said.
Twenty Republican votes are needed to turn on Trump for him to be removed, McKee said. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo. are all people who could turn on Trump.
“The question is what will happen when it goes to the Senate,” he said. “You need to have 20 Republican votes to remove him from the office because that will give you 67 votes, assuming that all of the Democrats and two undecided votes against him, which they will.”
Since two-thirds of the Senate is needed to vote to remove Trump from office, McKee said votes from 45 Democrats, two independents and 20 out of 53 Republicans can meet that requirement of 67 votes.