Published On: Wed, Sep 25th, 2019

Donald Trump impeachment: Why US President could be biggest winner from House probe | World | News

The President and his supporters allege that Biden abused his power to pressure Ukraine to back away from a criminal investigation that could implicate his son, Hunter. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker in the House of Representatives, has said Trump “must be held accountable” while the President has called the investigations a “witch hunt”. Now the Democratic Party has opened the inquiry to investigate whether Trump pressured a foreign power to try and damage a political rival. The inquiry represents a huge dent to President Trump’s credibility and leaves him arguably under more scrutiny than ever before.

But, in spite of all of this, the impeachment inquiry actually has the potential to help the 73-year-old ahead of the 2020 elections.

Republican junior senator Martha McSally believes the investigations will see Trump through to a second term as President, and accused the Democrats of “kamikaze” tactics.

She said: “Literally they are on a path to re-elect the president, keep the Senate majority [Republican] and possibly flip the House. It’s a total distraction.

“For the people I represent, this is not what they’re talking about.”

Not every Republican is so convincingly behind the President though, as Cory Gardner described the scandal as a serious issue, remaining cagey over whether he supports Trump’s re-election.

He said: “Let’s find out what’s happening. Let’s get to the bottom of this.

“I’m not going to get in front of the facts that I simply don’t have right now.”

Despite the doubts and division swarming US politics, Trump stands to come out of this impeachment attempt in one piece due to the Republican Party’s control of the Senate.

US Congress has two chambers – the House of Representatives, the ‘lower house’ of the legislative while the Senate is the ‘upper house’.

This is similar to the process we see in the UK where the legislative is comprised of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The Democrat dominated House of Representatives will likely vote in favour of impeachment, which would then escalate the case to a trial in the Senate where Senators would act as a jury.

However with the Senate comprised mostly of Republicans, Trump would have to be subject to mass defiance from his own party to be removed from the Oval Office, something that is very unlikely, especially given that a verdict in the Senate requires a two-thirds majority.

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Trump will also be encouraged by the three previous occasions in which impeachment has been attempted.

The first was Andrew Johnson in 1868, who was impeached but then spared conviction by the Senate.

Richard Nixon was the next example in 1974 after the Watergate scandal – the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters and the Nixon administration’s attempts to cover up its involvement.

Nixon resigned before he could be impeached after a damning audio tape proving his involvement was released.

Then there was Bill Clinton in 1998 who was the subject of an inquiry over the controversy surrounding his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Clinton too was spared by the Senate – so no sitting President has ever been successfully removed from office via the trial in the Senate, even if Nixon was forced to resign.

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Such is the tribal nature of US politics, and with an election just a year out, it would be a huge shock if Trump was to become the first President to be impeached.

Ms Pelosi is also aware of the danger that a failed attempt to oust Trump could only solidify his support base, as they could perceive this as the Establishment trying to thwart their President, even if he has transgressed.

When Clinton was impeached, his approval ratings actually rose as a result.

Either way, Trump will be encouraged by history as well as his firm grip on the Senate.

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