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CSULB professor discusses implications of impeachment trial

The Senate rejected the Democrats’ attempt to subpoena White House documents Tuesday related to the Trump administration’s involvement with military support for Ukraine. 

Jason Whitehead, an associate professor of political science at Long Beach State and author of “Judging Judges: Values and the Rule of Law,” said the question is whether the criminal charges against Trump are impeachable.

“The evidence that we don’t have is really telling,” Whitehead said. “We don’t have evidence from his chief of staff, we don’t have evidence from the National Security Advisor and we don’t have evidence from a number of people who are in a position.” 

Senate Democrats have been united about impeachment and all voted in favor of a trial. 

“The evidence that we do have seems to indicate that the general accounting office at least believes that the law was violated by impounding the funds and not dispersing them,” Whitehead said.

With the upcoming election, Democrats are hopeful that the Senate will want to try Trump. However, Republican senators have outnumbered Democrats 53-47 in votes so far to withhold important potential evidence.

Chloe Gould, a third-year communications major, said she just wants to see the American justice system work.

“With the evidence supporting it, you have to go through the judicial system and he obviously violated a law, and actions have repercussions, so I think it’s clear he should be removed,” Gould said. “We have a democracy for a reason and these figureheads of the government cannot be running around doing whatever they want, they need to be held accountable.”

After becoming the majority of the House of Representatives in 2018, Democrats are looking to take back the White House. 

Primary Democratic front runners have shown to be Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as of late. 

In terms of Trump’s popularity in the upcoming election, Whitehead said this may become the new normal for future presidents to model.

“There’s no question that Democrats don’t like him, and not only do they not like him in terms of his policies, but they just don’t think he is a good human being,” Whitehead said. “They think that he’s changing the norms of the office and taking it way too far.” 

For months, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been pressured to launch an impeachment trial with a message that “no one is above the law.”

After whistleblower concerns surfaced about Trump’s involvement with Ukraine, Pelosi decided to take action.  

“Part of the reason why I think Pelosi pulled back was because of the idea that we don’t want to make this into a new normal,” Whitehead said. “We want to use elections as our primary way of kicking people out of when we are really sure.” 

Mitchell Morris, a third-year mathematics major, said the president has committed wrongs. 

“He asked a foreign leader to look into our democratic candidacy, and as a president, you don’t have the power to ask them to do that,” Morris said. “I don’t think these trials are fair because they haven’t been able to obtain any evidence to refute what is being claimed.”

Only three Republicans have sided with Democrats thus far of calling witnesses, backed by Sens. Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.

“How long are the Democrats going to try to convince the Republican Senate to vote against him?” Morris said. “It’s getting ridiculous now.”

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