Views on the News: Ukraine Scandal
Last week, an anonymous member of the Trump administration alleged that the President, in a phone call with Ukranian President Vlodymyr Zelensky, asked Zelensky to investigate the business dealings of 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Many historians and politicians have called this action an apparent abuse of power warranting President Trump’s impeachment. On Sept. 24, the House of Representatives announced that it was moving forward with impeachment proceedings. Given how complicated this issue is and how quickly the story is developing, do you think that the American public can keep track of all of the facets of this issue and form their own opinions? How should Democrats and Republicans frame this story to try to convince Americans of their party’s interpretation?
Prof. Mark Hulliung (HIST)
My view is that the public will not understand. Very likely this matter will be viewed as purely partisan, and Trump will again escape unscathed. In the meantime Trump will inflict untold damage upon constitutional government. The Democrats, in my opinion, should swiftly call for a motion of censure rather than impeachment and be done with it. Then they can try to focus the public on issues that may carry them to victory in 2020, such as health care.
Mark Hulliung is a Richard Koret Professor of the History of Ideas specializing in American and European Intellectual, Cultural and Political History.
Judah Weinerman ‘20
If Democrats are smart, they’ll cut the Joe Biden-eqsue “but we can work with moderate conservatives” shtick and realize that impeachment will rest entirely on them. Despite being openly corrupt and one of the few pro-concentration camp U.S. Presidents, Trump appears to be safe from any resistance in his own party. Republican politicians are likely out of a job if they go after Trump, who over 90% of Repulican voters approve of. Instead, House Democrats should hunker down and investigate whether or Trump has offered this kind of quid pro quo offer targeting his domestic opponents to foreign leaders besides Zelensky. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is scared of her own shadow, let alone a serious impeachment inquiry, so expect the job of investigative leader to fall to Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler. In any case, whether Trump will actually be removed from office has no bearing on the contents of this inquiry. Clearly, Trump is hiding something far worse than any Rachel Maddow Russia conspiracy theory could muster, and it is the legal and moral responsibility of Congress to fully investigate a president who has no regard for the rule of law and has a closet full of skeletons bursting at the seams to come out.
Judah Weinerman ‘20 is an Associate Editor for the Justice majoring in History and Sociology.
Leah Timpson ’22
The current impeachment discourse is one that is advancing rapidly, and even as someone who follows politics, I find it hard to grasp. Just among my circle of friends, I have noticed that most people do not believe that anything substantial will come of these proceedings, they have taken on an “if he actually gets impeached, call me” attitude. With American society becoming more and more politically divisive, it is hard to make impeachment a bipartisan issue. Democrats and Republicans should frame this story around their beliefs — regardless of whether or not they truly believe Trump should be impeached. While some people feel targeted for their political ideologies, it is important that people are able to believe what they want without persecution. After all, this is America, a country that was founded on this exact concept.
Leah Timpson ’22 is a Sociology major and Anthropology minor and an outreach coordinator for Brandeis Pro-Choice.
Mehmet Zorluoglu ’21
In President Trump the American public have an idea as well as an individual to contend with, who so thrives off of chaos and the ever looming threat of antagonists, real or constructed, as to be seemingly impenetrable to appeals to reason and constitutionality. The same proponents of impeachment on the issue of Ukraine — and Ukraine alone, as opposed to, say, violation of the Emoluments Clause — have the question of what constituted a crossing of a proverbial line in this case specifically, to answer for. Speaker Pelosi’s official reasoning for not entertaining calls for impeachment until now, which was that it would simply be too divisive, has not simply vanished, unless the expectation is that our legislators as well as citizenry will not pick teams and will act in a bipartisan fashion to decide fair mindedly. Color me skeptical as to whether the issue of Ukraine will be the downfall of Trump the man — considering the Republicans control the Senate — let alone Trump the idea, the latter of which is of greater significance to his political opponents.
Mehmet Zorluoglu ’21 is a Politics and Philosophy double major and is a staff writer for the Justice.