08 October 2019
Washington DC: War it is said is a policy practised by a sovereign state to outflank its enemy. However, in the ongoing Washington DC beatdown, President Donald Trump is the player who everyone is watching for his policy interventions, a flurry of counter punches, invasive and pollyannaish, with many here reckoning that they are koan zen ghosted with egregiousness extortionate to dominate a hyper connected world. From threats to Erdogan in Turkey to an immediate drawdown of troops from Syria, Trump has created a typical smoke and mirrors set behind him as the hounds go after him in the impeachment inquiry.
The current whirligig comes 21 years after the last impeachment attempt against a sitting president - Bill Clinton. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Acts of 1990 and 1993 increased taxes and limited government spending. These created a budget surplus and an expanded economy. Bill Clinton survived impeachment challenges because he delivered a Goldilocks economy, an analogy to the Goldilocks and three bears story, where the microwave was serving the porridge for one and all. The economic policies of Bill Clinton, referred to by some as Clintonomics. In proposing a plan to cut the deficit, Clinton submitted a budget and corresponding tax legislation overseeing a very robust economy during his tenure. The US had strong economic growth (around 4 per cent annually) and record job creation (22.7 million).
As luck would have it, it was on this day 21 years earlier that the impeachment of Bill Clinton was initiated on October 8, 1998, when the United States House of Representatives voted to commence impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton, 42nd president of the United States, for "high crimes and misdemeanors", which were subsequently detailed in two articles of impeachment.
Wherever one goes in DC, a city of intrigue in the normal course, there is heightened conversation over President Trump's impeachment process. On Dassehra day back home, tension and suspicion play out in equal parts as the White House blocked EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland's Ukraine deposition to Congress. Trump has refused to allow Sondland's testimony because he thinks it will be a kangaroo court which will take a view on the matter. Calling it strong evidence of obstruction, his rivals have been baying for his blood. Further, the plan not to reveal additional text messages has come as a bigger damper. This came against the backdrop of the subpoena to Trump lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, for Ukraine documents. Democrats have requested information from three Rudy Giuliani associates - Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-American businessman who worked with Giuliani; Igor Fruman, a business partner of Parnas; and Semyon "Sam" Kislin, a former aide to Giuliani. Lawmakers are also warning they will subpoena the associates if they do not comply with their requests for documents and depositions.
And as if all this tension wasn't enough, Trump's decision to pull the plug on US forces in Syria blindsided the capital and all its players. Trump's growing aggression is seen typical of his persona as he now goes after ex-insider, veep Joe Biden. While Trump is cognisant of polls, impeachment is not a winner, the dynamic of change is rapidly taking root.
On December 19, 1998, Clinton became the second American president to be impeached (the other being Andrew Johnson who was impeached in 1868), when the House formally adopted the articles of impeachment and forwarded them to the US Senate for adjudication. The trial in the Senate began in January 1999 with Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding. On February 12, Clinton was acquitted on both counts as neither received the necessary two-thirds majority vote of the senators present for conviction and removal from office - in this instance 67. On Article One, 45 senators voted to convict while 55 voted for acquittal. On Article Two, 50 senators voted to convict while 50 voted for acquittal. Consequently, Clinton remained in office for the balance of his second term.
As Trump remains surrounded, Democrats were taken by surprise with key witness Sondland being pulled out as they believe that a massive cover up has been initiated. With sands shifting, punters still aver that Trump will survive this catechism.