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Impeachment day for Donald Trump. The House counts the votes

Today the House of Representatives is set to vote on articles of impeachment against US President Donald Trump. A lengthy debate is expected, with conflicting declarations of vote and a full-fledged defence by the defendant, including a fiery letter to House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Meanwhile, a group of Republicans launched the Lincoln project to save the party

(from New York) “Crusade”, “unconstitutional and unprecedented abuse of power”, “open war on democracy”, “you see democracy as your enemy”. The words used by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, in the six-page letter he wrote yesterday, on the eve of the vote on the impeachment to House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are both fiery and bitter. It’s a long list of complaints and accusations reflecting the President’s disappointment at the impeachment vote. As of today Trump will be the fourth President to have experienced this disgrace, after Jackson, Nixon, and Clinton:a scar that will tarnish also his family history and which, according to his collaborators, was one of the most worrying presidential concerns in the last few days, as he clearly expressed also in some passages of the letter.

The charges. Today the House of Representatives will vote on the two articles approved by the Judiciary Committee: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The nine-page inquiry proceedings show that Trump “solicited through corruption the help of a foreign country in the re-election campaign”: in a phone call and subsequent meeting in Washington he asked Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate former Vice President and democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential election Joe Biden, and his son, a consultant for a Ukrainian gas company. According to the Committee and the witnesses called to testify, President Trump personally ordered his staff to freeze more than $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine. “President Trump abused the powers of his presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit – recites the first article -. He has also betrayed the Nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections.” The second article accuses the President of having “directed the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas” obstructing the House investigations by directing Government officials not to cooperate with the Committees and withhold the production of documents on the phone calls and meeting with members of the Ukrainian government.

The defense. The President’s blistering letter, loaded with insults and rather blunt accusations, aims at discrediting the members of the Democratic party, charging them with trying to overturn the 2016 election and jeopardize democracy. However, if Trump were removed, the presidency would be transferred to Mike Pence, the current Republican Vice-President, and thus election results would be respected as no new elections would be called. Speaking of the phone call with the Ukrainian President, Trump said he always spoke in the plural, namely on behalf of the country, which means that there were no personal interests involved. But the transcript of the phone call was not immediately released and the Judiciary Committee made no small effort to obtain it. In the letter the President blames the Democrats for drafting the Muller report on Russian interference in the election campaign, overlooking the fact that it was Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who named former FBI chief to conduct the inquiry. Trump slams the impeachment process as illegitimate, ignoring the fact that the Constitution stipulates this procedure as a means of controlling the work of the President and that it is not determined by a single Chamber but by the entire Congress.

Democrats and Republicans. In yesterday’s declarations of vote, the Democrats will vote in favour of impeachment, although some of them will abstain and some will vote against, simply because they were elected in Colleges where Trump has won by a large majority and don’t want to risk further losing local support. The Republicans are set to vote against – or at least this is the wish of the President and the Party, yet there has also been some internal discontent, as many have criticised and regarded as inappropriate Trump’s phone call to the Ukrainian President.

However, there is not enough evidence for an impeachment that would remove him from office.

Meanwhile, a number of Republican advisors who worked with President Bush and senators and deputies during the election campaigns launched the Lincoln Project to save the Party and its values against members of Congress who pass themselves off as Republicans but who have actually embraced Trumpism, defined as “an empty faith guided by a false prophet.”

After the vote. If the House votes in favour of impeachment, as expected, the decision will be submitted to the Senate which thereby acts as a court, with 100 senators acting as jurors.The House will appoint those to play the role of public prosecutors from among its representatives. The White House presents its defence team. On Sunday, the Senate Democratic leader wrote a long letter to his Republican counterpart asking that the four officials who refused to cooperate with the House be heard in the Senate, including White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Adviser John Bolton. Trump, for his part, would like to call as a witness the son of Joe Biden, his opponent in the 2020 elections. He also announced that he would not mind having to face a long trial to prove his innocence, which Republican Senators are not keen on so as to be able to focus on the upcoming elections.

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