A whistle-blower has accused President Donald Trump of withholding military aid to the Ukrainian government in exchange for information on his democratic political opponent, Joe Biden. These charges originate from a call between President Trump and the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the 25th July.
The US government withheld ₤400 million in military aid to Ukraine. The accusation states that Trump did this in an attempt to coerce the President to investigate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of a privately owned gas company. Joe Biden reportedly had Ukrainian prosecutor (Vicktor Shokin) fired for investigating his son, whilst sat on the board.
The President is quoted as stating, “I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down, and that’s really unfair” during the phone call on the 25th. It is argued that this would be a move to forward his political career in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, whilst outing his opposing candidate, Joe Biden. If this is true, it means the President can be impeached under the pretenses that he used bribery for his own political gain.
The US providing military aid to Ukraine is a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In 2013, there were protests in Ukraine to overthrow the pro-Russian government and to install a pro-European one in its place. As a result, Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 to annex the area of Crimea (a largely Russian speaking area); this worked out well for Putin (the Russian president) as his approval rating soared. Western leaders, including the US, were outraged by this. Shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, Putin began to support pro-separatist rebels and provide them with military aid, which they used to shoot down flight Malaysia MH17. The Ukraine government then used military action to retake eastern cities from Russian rebels; this prompted Putin to further invade the eastern European state. The President of Ukraine at the time of this conflict, Petro Poroshenko refers to the conflict as Ukraine’s “patriotic war of 2014”; however, the conflict continues today.
According to the U.S. constitution, the President of the United States can be impeached if it is suspected that they are guilty of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors”. The House of Representatives considers the charges: if 51% of representatives support impeachment, the trial begins in the senate, presided over by the chief of the Supreme Court. To impeach, at least two-thirds of the senate need to support the charges.