The President’s defense has insisted on a broad interpretation of his powers, and this may become a standard for evaluating the actions of future American leaders.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s acquittal following impeachment proceedings was a watershed moment in his presidency, given that it occurred nine months before new national elections.
The President was found not guilty on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. In the first case, 52 senators out of 100, in the second – 53, supported this verdict.
Trump’s acquittal is likely to have a huge long-term impact on politics and the balance of power in Washington, as the President has strengthened his position entering the election season.
Only one Republican, Senator MITT Romney, who lost the presidential election in 2012, voted to find Republican trump guilty on the first charge – abuse of power.
Romney called the President’s behavior “wrong, extremely wrong.” On charges of obstructing Congress, Romney voted for trump’s innocence.
Now Trump can use the results of the impeachment procedure in his favor on the eve of the election.
“It’s amazing what I’ve managed to achieve –” he tweeted as the impeachment proceedings came to an end, ” more than any other President in the first three years (so far), given that during those three years, I’ve been subjected to hyped political investigations and a fabricated impeachment! Let’s keep America great!”
Trump became the third President in the 244-year history of the United States to be impeached, but who was acquitted by the Senate and retained his position. The first such President was Andrew Johnson in the mid-19th century, and the second was Bill Clinton, about 20 years ago.
However, Trump became the first President to be acquitted and is now seeking re-election. Several Democrats, of whom no clear leader has yet emerged, want to become his opponent.
Perhaps now there is a new, set in a stone understanding of the powers of the US President, as evidenced by the acquittal of trump on charges that he abused his powers when he wanted to get help from Ukraine in investigating the actions of a political opponent, and then hindered attempts by Congress to investigate his activities.
At the beginning of the proceedings, Congressman Adam Schiff, the leading Democrat who accused trump, spoke about what he thought was at stake.
“Our relations with Ukraine will survive this,” he said. – But if we decide that the President of the United States can simply say, ” according to article 2 [of the US Constitution], I can do whatever I want, and I don’t have to treat the political branch of government as it is,” it will cause permanent damage to this country because the balance of power as our founding fathers intended it will never be the same again.”
But toward the end of the trial, Trump’s defense began calling on the 100 senators who served as jurors to have an expanded understanding of the President’s authority.
So, criminal lawyer Alan Dershowitz said that even if trump entered into an agreement with Ukraine on the principle of “quid pro quo” to derive political benefit from it, this is not a basis for impeachment.
American constitutional experts, however, dispute this view. But, given Trump’s justification, Dershowitz’s position may become the standard on which presidents ‘ actions will be evaluated in the future.
“If the President does something that he believes will help him be elected in the public interest, it can’t be considered a “quid pro quo” and become grounds for impeachment,” Dershowitz insisted.