Suffolk students and faculty say Trump impeachment is looming, could be blocked by the Senate

Caroline Enos

President Donald Trump has called the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry against him “Witch Hunt garbage.” But to Suffolk University students from both sides of the political spectrum, this isn’t quite the case.

“I think Trump’s actions warrant an investigation,” said Matt Lewis, a member of Suffolk University College Republicans and host of WSFR’s talk show, “A House Divided,” in an interview with The Suffolk Journal.

“If there was a quid pro quo between Trump and [Ukraine President Volodymyr] Zelensky, and if Trump did indeed use taxpayer dollars to leverage a foreign power to investigate his political opponent, he should be impeached,” Lewis said.

The phone call that started it all— and what happened next

In a July 25 phone call between the two presidents, Zelensky mentioned buying anti-tank missiles from the U.S.

“I would like you to do us a favor though,” Trump said in response.

Trump then asked Zelensky for an investigation into former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his youngest son, Hunter, who had sat on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukranian Energy Company that had once been under investigation by Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin.

As vice president, Biden pushed for Shokin to be fired in 2015 for failing to investigate corruption cases.

However, no evidence showing that the Bidens committed any criminal wrongdoings in Ukraine has surfaced. The Obama administration and the U.S.’s European allies sought to oust Shokin as a part of their attempt to quell corruption in Ukraine, and Hunter Biden has not been tied to any of Burisma’s corruption allegations.

A whistleblower said Trump’s call for an investigation was concerning.

“In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,” the whistleblower said in their complaint, according to CNN.

The complaint was released on Sept. 26; two days after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi officially announced the inquiry and a day after Trump made the call’s transcript public.

The whistleblower also said in the complaint that the U.S.’s decision to block about $400 million in aid to Ukraine a week before the call came from Trump himself.

“The president must be held accountable,” Pelosi said when she announced the start of the impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24. “No one is above the law.”

Trump has stood by his comments in the call and tweeted on Oct. 13 that the inquiry is “a fraudulent use of impeachment,” and previously called the inquiry “a coup.”

The White House has refused to cooperate in the inquiry, even ordering a diplomat last week to not attend a deposition with the House committees conducting the inquiry, The Washington Post reported.

Trump publicly called for China to investigate the Bidens earlier this month, which Chinese officials said will not happen, according to the South China Morning Post.

Before Pelosi announced Tuesday night that the House will postpone an impeachment vote, CNN reported that at least 228 House Democrats are in favor of voting to impeach the president, while republicans remain unconfirmed.

Suffolk students and faculty say Trump’s presidency will survive impeachment

Lukas Phipps, Student Government Association commuter senator at-large, said the inquiry is especially warranted after Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

“After already having the FBI confirm foreign interference from elections last year, a president that is soliciting information from a foreign power specifically related to the upcoming election is beyond reasonable suspicion to constitute an impeachment inquiry of treason,” said Phipps in an interview with The Journal.

Suffolk University College Democrats Treasurer Emilee Morin said Trump clearly abused his powers in the July 25 call.

“[Trump] was virtually blackmailing Ukraine and trying to bury Biden, his opponent, which jeopardizes U.S. foreign relations immensely and is very clearly violating the law,” Morin told The Journal.

While Phipps and Morin said the House will move to impeach Trump, they also think any charges brought against the president will be dropped in the Republican-majority Senate, as two-thirds of a supermajority vote of present senators would be needed to remove him from office.

Cameron Burton, president of Suffolk University College Republicans, agreed Trump will likely be impeached but remain president.

“President Trump’s decision to tie aid to a condition that the Ukrainian government look into the actions of Joe Biden’s son certainly constitutes further investigations,” said Burton in an interview with The Journal. “If proven true, and President Trump were impeached for it, I would not see it as a political maneuver from Democrats, but a rightful impeachment.

“However, many things still need to be proven true for that to happen, and while to be impeached only takes a political crime per say, we still need to see it through as a legitimate investigation,” he said.

Trump will only be the third president in American history to be impeached, should the House bring charges of high crimes or misdemeanors against him.

Suffolk University government professor Christina Kulich-Vamvakas said in an interview with The Journal that if Trump is impeached, “it will  be largely because of the solicitation of foreign aid for personal political gain in the 2020 election and obstruction.”

She also said the House will likely impeach Trump.

“More and more evidence is coming to the surface that President Trump has been using the power of the presidency for personal political gain, rather than in pursuit of foreign policy that benefits the nation,” said Kulich-Vamvakas. “In other words, he is abusing the power of the presidency and has attempted to obstruct justice in hiding it.”