Trump impeachment saga


Just as the word that haunted Westminster recedes into relative obscurity, the word that haunts Washington gathers more weight.

Donald Trump’s impeachment passed the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and moved to the Republican controlled Senate where a historically short but still mind-numbingly detailed procedure takes over, where the Senate becomes a jury in a grand trial of the President. Having approved the ground rules, it heard from witnesses and lawyers from both sides in the most politicised and toxic court you can imagine, even by American standards.

The latest twists and turns of the trial are dominating US media. Former national security advisor and (now former) darling of Fox John Bolton is releasing a book which could contain classified information – a manuscript accuses the President of directing to withhold security aid to Ukraine in exchange for information on his political opponents. It alleges that Bolton and others close to Trump told him a dozen times to release the funding, and could even see Bolton testify as a witness, if enough moderate Republican senators dare to vote for him to speak.

Unlike Brexit, the impeachment has an almost zero chance of succeeding because American senators are whipped far more effectively than our MPs were in the last Parliament – and Republicans control the Senate, which will make the final impeachment decision, by 53 votes to 47. Unlike Brexit, impeachment doesn’t seem to be dramatically realigning political allegiances either.

The whole crisis reveals the bizarre nature of the American system – the closest Trump has got to being removed from office is when he allegedly tried to stop funding a corrupt and militia-ridden state, and not when he allegedly colluded with Russia to win the election, nor attempted to stop all members of one faith entering the country, and not even when he oversaw children being kept alone in cages on the southern border. Despite all this, he is the favourite to win a Presidential election later this year.

Image: WorkingFamiliesParty via Creative Commons

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