The widening impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump is moving towards a constitutional showdown between the executive branch and Congress. At press time on Oct. 4, Democrats in the House had subpoenaed the White House. Trump said he would formally object to the impeachment investigation. The House is calling for the acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, to provide documents detailing the White House’s financial actions.
According to The Associated Press (AP), Trump claimed the House Democrats, “have no votes” to proceed. At issue is a letter the White House was expected to send to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claiming the impeachment inquiry should not go forward without first having a vote in the House to authorize it. Meanwhile, House Democrats are issuing requests for documents from Vice President Mike Pence concerning his contacts in Ukraine.
The centerpiece of the investigation involves a whistleblower complaint over Trump asking the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to “do us a favor,” according to a memorandum released by the White House at the order of the president. Pelosi called the situation, “a breach of his constitutional responsibilities,” in her statement on Sept. 24.
Trump turned up the heat Oct. 3 by publically encouraging China to investigate his political rival for wrongdoing. According to AP, “President Donald Trump is insisting that his call for China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden will have no bearing on upcoming high-stakes trade talks with the nation.”
U.S. Congressman for District 32, and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Colin Allred issued a statement on Sept. 26, which said, “I take my oath of office very seriously, and with it the responsibility to defend the Constitution and to preserve our democratic institutions.”
His statement addressed concerns over the public release of the whistleblower’s complaint, having said, “After reading the contents of both the memo of the President’s call with the President of Ukraine and the whistleblower complaint, I have concluded that a formal impeachment inquiry should begin and investigations must continue in order to protect our national security and uphold the rule of law.”
In Trump’s initial phone call to the Ukrainian president on July 25, Trump said, “I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.”
Zelenskiy later replied, “For me, as a president, it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine.”
Allred stated, “The American people are watching and counting on us to approach this inquiry with the gravity and seriousness of purpose that this consequential moment demands.”
The whistleblower’s complaint underlined the gravity of the situation, stating that the president was possibly using his office to pressure a foreign country to investigate one of Trump’s challengers in the upcoming 2020 election.
The complaint said, “I am deeply concerned that the actions described below constitute “a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or Executive Order,” adding that the president’s actions endangered U.S. national security.
Trump has stated that even if Democrats have the ability to impeach him, he doubts the Senate would convict him.
Calling upon a foreign government to interfere with an American election is a violation of the law.
Pelosi later said in her address, “The President must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”