On the night of December 18th, Donald Trump became just the third president in U.S history to be impeached.
It began back in August, when a whistleblower revealed that an unusual phone call had occurred between President Trump and President Zelenskyy of Ukraine. The whistleblower wrote in a report that he/she is worried that Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foriegn country in the 2020 U.S. election.”
In the released phone call transcript between the presidents, after Zelenskyy assures Trump that Ukraine is “ready to continue to cooperate in the next steps” in terms of purchasing weapons for defense purposes, Trump interestingly states that “[he] would like [President Zelenskyy] to do [him] a favor.” To read the unclassified call transcript, click here.
The whistleblower also wrote in the report that President Trump “sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help [Trump’s] 2020 reelection bid.” The whistleblower writes that he did this by ‘pressur[ing] Zelenskiy to”… “initiate or continue an investigation into the activities of former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter Biden,” as well as “assist[ing] in purportedly uncovering that allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election originated in Ukraine.” These are likely the favors that Trump was talking about in the transcript.
The whistleblower complaint and report led to a formal impeachment inquiry being opened in September by Nancy Pelosi in the House.
Later in October, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in part for his own political gain. The withholding of military aid in part for political gain confirms the “pressure” that the whistleblower was referring to in the report.
This all led to the House, where Representatives voted on two articles of impeachment in December: one for abusing power, and the other for obstructing Congress.
Since the Democrats hold a majority in the House, and almost every representative voted in agreement with their party, President Trump was impeached on the night of December 18th.
What do Americans Think?
Donald Trump is a very polarizing political figure, and the issue of impeachment is no different.
According to a RealClearPolitics (RCP) poll average, 47.2% of Americans agreed with impeaching the president and 47.4% disagreed. This average was conducted with nine polls that were taken from December 8th to January 7th. These polls were conducted by: Economist/YouGov, Politico/Morning Consult, NBC News/Wall St. Journal, CNN, Quinnipiac, ABC News/Washington Post, USA Today/Suffolk, NPR/PBS/Marist and Fox News. The sample size of these polls ranged from about 900-2,000 people.
The Politico/Morning Consult Poll is used below because it had the most participants (1,995) out of any of the polls used in the RCP average. This poll was conducted after impeachment took place (Jan. 4-5). If you would like to see the whole poll, click here
In a Morning Consult Poll, it was reported that women more strongly supported impeachment than men. The poll states that only 39% of men strongly support impeachment, while 42% of women do. Men also tended to disagree with impeachment more than women, with 38% of males strongly opposing it, and only 34% of females strongly opposing it.
The poll also reported differing percentages based on the generation of the participant. The generation that had the highest support for impeachment was Generation Z, with 52% of them strongly supporting it. The generations with the least support for impeachment were Baby Boomers and Generation X, with only 39% and 38% respectively strongly supporting impeachment. The generation that disagreed with impeachment the most were also Baby Boomers, with 43% of them strongly opposing it. This differs from Generation Z, where only 13% strongly disapproved of impeachment. Millennials were in the middle of the generations for both statistics, with 43% strongly supporting impeachment and 26% strongly opposing it.
Will Trump Be Removed From Office?
Although the President has been impeached, it is extremely unlikely he will be removed from office.
This omits the fact that Trump being removed depends on the Senate, where there is currently a Republican majority. Additionally, unlike the impeachment vote in the House, a two-thirds majority is required to kick the President out. In the Senate, there are currently 53 seats held by Republicans, and only 45 held by the Democrats. The last two are held by Independents, one of which is Bernie Sanders. Assuming that the Independents vote Democrat, there would still need to be 20 Republicans in favor of removal. Considering this, it is most likely that President Trump will continue and finish his term as the 45th President of The United States.