On Dec. 18, President Donald Trump was officially impeached. This had been an enduring process, dating back to September. On Sept. 24, Representative Nancy Pelosi publicly announced the official Inquiry of Impeachment, which has just come to fruition. Pelosi additionally said that she believed that President Trump — specifically in his actions with Ukraine — failed to uphold the constitutional responsibilities as President.

Some people are confused about what this all means. The most common thought is that impeachment means that Trump is no longer the President of the United States, which is simply not so. It is important that a distinction is made between impeachment and removal. Many people became confused and thought that the impeachment of Trump meant that the United States is without a President. This is not true. Impeachment is simply the formal charge of a federal official who has committed a crime — a trial. The next step is actual removal after being convicted in an impeachment trial, and this is the point in which President Trump would theoretically be removed and be replaced by his Vice President, Mike Pence.

The New York Times has provided the official article of impeachment that lays out the specific charges against Trump. He is being impeached on two specific violations: the first of them being an abuse of power. Congress is charging President Trump with using his political status to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating his political opponent in the 2020 election, Joe Biden. The impeachment articles further allege that he had withheld much needed aid, $391 million to be exact, that was meant for the Ukraine in exchange for his request for an investigation. The presumption is that this investigation would give Trump a political advantage over Mr. Biden.

The second charge, in which Trump had obstructed congress, was due to his deliberate defiance of subpoenas, issued by the House of Representatives. He directed the White House and other Executive Branch agencies to withhold any requested documentation, and directed Executive Branch officials, past and present, not to cooperate with any questioning by the House of Representatives. This is not only further slowing a process of democracy but makes things harder on his administration and Trump himself.

The subject of Trump’s presidency has been a hot button topic ever since he won the election in 2016. I would say that it is the most polarizing topic of this generation. But whether you love him or loathe him I think that it is important to not only consider what this means for the remainder of his term, but for the 2020 elections as well. If he is not barred from the upcoming elections, this impeachment will be a blemish on his credibility and leadership skills, putting a damper on the rest of his term, and making his chances of getting elected for another four years slim. As to how slim the chances are, I cannot say. However, I believe it is pertinent to think about how those who stand by President Trump and those who oppose him will be affected by his impeachment. Perhaps even if he isn’t barred from the upcoming election, it is possible he will lose traction among those who voted for him before, and cause those who are unsure of him to decide to vote for someone else. 

Now that the final months of Trump’s presidency are rapidly approaching, it is obvious that this upcoming election is a very important one. I think our country has learned a lot about itself from his presidency. We can see that even though the President is held at a higher protection than all others, he is not untouchable. This is not a discussion of whether or not Trump is guilty of these alleged crimes, but that no matter who they are, the President should be an idol of democracy for the American people to look up to and learn from.

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