Published on January 7th, 2020
One thing is for sure – politics is never boring. Just last week, across the pond, we had the UK voting in a General Election, which resulted in a Conservative win with a landslide majority for Boris Johnson’s party.
This week in US politics, we have Donald Trump becoming only the third president ever to face impeachment.
The ongoing case makes two very interesting quiz questions. Firstly, what do the 14th, 42nd and 45th presidents of America all share? And secondly, in US politics, what do February 24th 1868, December 19th 1998 and December 18th 2019 all have in common? Not shy of controversy, Trump hasn’t taken this humiliation lying down, as his penned letter to top Democrat Nancy Pelosi attests.
But what does it all mean for the next USA President Election odds? Well, not a lot at the moment. It’s almost certain that Trump won’t be removed from office, as while the first stage of impeachment is held in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, if there is sufficient evidence that Trump is in the wrong, there will be a second stage.
That would include a trial in the Senate next month. To be removed from office, he would need a two-third majority vote, which doesn’t look likely when it’s Republican-controlled – and a President has never been removed by the powers in impeachment before.
Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton are the only other two Presidents to be impeached and they both escaped convictions, while Richard Nixon resigned before he could have been impeached.
The six-page letter was more of a nonsensical rant, but highlighted classic Trump exuberance, particularly when it came to his choice of words. He claimed he was “deprived of basic Constitutional Due Process from the beginning of this impeachment scam”, comparing his fate to the Salem Witch Trials of 1962-63.
He went on to say: “You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!” before ending with: “I write this letter to you for the purpose of history and to put my thoughts on a permanent and indelible record.
One hundred years from now, when people look back at this affair, I want them to understand it, and learn from it, so that it can never happen to another president again.”
Trump v Biden
Trump’s first charge is on ‘abuse of power’, referring to the president pressurising Ukraine to smear his potential Presidential Election rival, Democratic contender Joe Biden.
While Biden did pressurise Ukraine in firing the prosecutor, he was acting on behalf of Barack Obama for whom he was Vice-President.
Now a candidate in his own right, his campaign could well have been tarnished by the Democrats’ admission that Trump dangled a carrot of $400m worth of military aid as a bargaining tool to investigate a corruption inquiry of the Biden family.
Biden is currently the only Democratic nominee to lead Trump at the polls and while his support has reduced from 29% to 26% this month, the former VP finds himself well ahead of Senators Elizabeth Warren (14%) and Bernie Sanders (18%).
Returning to UK politics, and Trump was keen to congratulate Boris Johnson on “his great WIN!” but Biden wasn’t so complimentary. Speaking at a San Francisco fundraiser, the 77-year-old called the British Prime Minister a ‘physical and emotional clone’ of the president.