by Elizabeth Vazquez
According to senior actor Arya Hableib, AP US Government’s Roman Marchenko is doing a great job keeping his students up to date with the latest developments in national news, including the impeachment process that has recently been mounted by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
But Hableib said she worries about the underclassmen, and believes that while students understand issues generally, they often don’t know the specifics as to why the impeachment proceedings warrants national news. In her eyes, this can spill over into a lack of education on politicians in upcoming elections, many for whom ChiArts students will be voting in come next year.
To help break down the current constitutional scandal taking America by storm, here’s a timeline:
AUGUST 13, 2018: Trump offers $250 million in aid to ally Ukraine
After the invasion of Ukraine — an East European country — by Russia in 2014, the US upped the aid that they’ve been sending since the 1990s. In 2018, President Donald Trump offered to send more aid to Ukraine to continue helping them.
MAY 16, 2019: Ukrainian former prosecutor announces that Hunter Biden has done nothing wrong
Former vice president Joe Biden has a son named Hunter, who was involved with a Ukrainian gas company. President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani planned to investigate the younger Biden as well because he suspected corruption. However, a former Ukrainian former general prosecutor said that Biden had done no wrong while working with said gas company.
WEEK OF JULY 15, 2019: Trump withholds an aid package of 391 million USD to Ukraine
Remember how Trump gave aid to Ukraine in 2018? After being approved to send more money, Trump decided to withhold the money to help Ukraine in their still ongoing conflicts with Russia right before he called the Ukrainian President. The Office of Management and Budget said Trump wondered if the money actually needed to be spent, and wanted to reanalyze. This doesn’t become formally reported to the American public until August 28.
JULY 25, 2019: Trump calls Ukrainian President Zelenisky
The call began as a congratulations on Zelenisky’s win in Ukraine’s most recent election. However, the call moves to the subject of the Biden family. Trump alludes to Ukraine doing a favor for the US in exchange for aid, and to reach out to Giuliani. He says that they should collaborate to continue investigating Hunter Biden because Joe Biden shut down the prosecution. Zelenisky says he will do so. If you hear people discussing if Trump tried to create a quid pro quo, it refers to this. A quid pro quo is a favor done with expectations of something in return. The day before, Robert Mueller (who investigated Trump’s relationship with Russia) testified in front of the House.
AUGUST 12, 2019: Whistleblower on the call to Ukraine submits complaint
A whistleblower is an employee who informs higher-ups (or in this case, other government officials) when something sketch is going on. In this case, a government employee sitting on the call to Ukraine felt that something was wrong with what Trump is trying to get from Zelenisky. So, they submitted a complaint to the inspector general Micheal Atkinson, whose job is to prevent corruption and fraud from within the government. Said complaint can be read here, in which the anonymous whistleblower said they thought Trump was trying to alter the 2020 election by pulling up dirt on the Bidens. This was publicly released on September 26.
SEPTEMBER 11, 2019: The Ukraine aid package is released without explanation
Due to pressure in Congress to continue to prevent Russian interference in Ukraine, the White House stopped holding up the $391 million aid package to Ukraine. There is no formalized explanation of why it wasn’t going through. Trump’s chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, as of October 17, had released contradicting statements.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2019: White House releases a public transcript of the call
To defend himself under public fire, Trump released a transcript of his call to the Ukrainian President. Most people who condemn Trump’s possible quid pro quo see this as evidence to the Whistleblower’s claim, while the White House maintains that it proves that he never wanted anything from Ukraine.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2019: Pelosi announces that the House will launch an impeachment inquiry
Dem. Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, announced that the House will go forward with an impeachment inquiry, which means they will gather evidence that Trump committed an impeachable offense. Said offenses, as listed in the constitution, are: treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. Alexander Hamilton, a founding father, described impeachment involving the violation of public trust. The House currently has several committees, all of which will focus on interviewing witnesses and collecting testimonies. Impeachment ends with a vote in the Senate to charge the President with the crimes alleged by the House.
OCTOBER 8, 2019: White House refuses to cooperate with Pelosi and the House
After Pelosi announced the beginning of investigations for the President, the White House countered by saying they wouldn’t cooperate in the impeachment. Experts believe that this will lead to the involvement of the judicial branch, who are currently not involved to the scale that the legislative and executive are. This refusal has cost the House certain documents subpoenaed (requested) from the White House. Trump himself has expressed his dissatisfaction with the inquiry by labelling it a witch hunt and presidential harassment. He has even gone as far to compare it to being lynched.
As of the week of October 28, the House is preparing to vote and standardize the norms for the impeachment proceedings. They have begun gathering testimonies from witnesses close to US-Ukraine relations and to Europe in general. For the sake of right now, the future outcome of impeachment is unclear, including how long it will take. Prior impeachment inquiries capped around the hundred day mark. Because the story is developing daily with much further to go, it’s pivotal for students to keep up with the news.