As the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump continues in Washington, students in Utah have strong feelings about the possible future of the country.
On Tuesday, House Democrats introduced two articles of impeachment against Trump, charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump is being accused of leveraging foreign aid from Ukraine in exchange for a Ukrainian investigation into former Vice President and current 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, as well as Biden’s son, Hunter.
The action stems from a rough transcript of the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. After Zelensky indicated that Ukraine was preparing to buy more anti-tank missiles from the United States, Trump responded by saying “I would like you to do us a favor though” and asked Zelensky to talk to Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, and Attorney General William Barr about investigating the Bidens.
The Trump campaign, along with Senate Republicans, insist there was nothing illegal about investigating possible corruption. While Ukrainian officials deny feeling pressured to investigate — the U.S. eventually released the aid — Democrats have been quick to point out that attempting to commit a crime is still a crime.
Alongside major developments in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, many begin to consider what impeachment might mean for the U.S. political landscape.
Erin Hunt, an English major at Salt Lake Community College, believes that if there were illicit dealings carried out by the Trump administration, impeachment would be an acceptable course of action.
“Trump needs to be held accountable, and we need to show our future leaders that this behavior is unacceptable,” says Hunt.
For Hunt, it isn’t just the fact that Trump may have compromised U.S. political integrity, but that behavior like this can signal to future presidents that similar actions won’t have consequences.
“The president should be held to a higher moral standard,” she adds. “If we overlook what Trump is accused of, we could be paving the way for someone else to do the same.”
On the other hand, social work major Anjali Valentine contemplates the benefit of impeachment.
“I’m all for the spirit of impeachment, but impeachment leaves us with [Mike] Pence,” says Valentine.
In Valentine’s opinion, the misconduct of Trump’s campaign won’t be fixed by replacing him with the vice president.
“We’d effectively replace Trump with a more practiced politician who holds the same values. I don’t really see the point [of impeachment],” she adds.
On Dec. 4, Democrats released a nearly 300-page report detailing all of the testimonies, timeline and accusations. The opinions on impeachment fall squarely along party lines; no Republicans in Congress have signaled support for it, while all Democrats are on board.
According to poll analysis site Five Thirty-Eight, approximately 47% of Americans polled support beginning the impeachment process, while 44% are in opposition. Broken down by major voting factions, 83% of Democrats, 44% of Independents and 10% of Republicans support impeachment.