To impeach means to hold a public official accountable for misconduct before an appropriate tribunal.

An impeachment is a rare occurrence and has only been pursued three times in America’s 243 year old history.

President Clinton was impeached for lying under oath. Categorically stating he had not had sex with an intern in the oval office. President Andrew Johnson in 1868 was impeached for firing a cabinet secretary without the consent of the congress. Impeachment trials were conducted for both presidents and they were acquitted allowing them to finish their terms.

President Nixon resigned before the impeachment resolution was reported to the full house.

During the current hearings, as the nation watched witnesses speak under oath, it became apparent how historic and grave a moment the presidency of Donald Trump had arrived at. Whether he thought the same, was another matter.

Donald Trump is being impeached for conducting government business for personal gain. In a phone conversation with the newly elected Ukrainian President, Donald Trump brazenly operated like a mafia don. Much needed military aid which was already cleared by congress was withheld unless the Ukrainian president did the president’s bidding. The Ukrainian president was being coerced to announce to the media that he would launch a corruption investigation into the Ukrainian energy company called Burisma, which had a checkered past.

The reason being, Joe Biden, who would likely be Donald Trump’s opponent in the 2020 election, had a son on the board of Burisma. An investigation of this nature would question the credentials and ethics of Joe Biden’s son, thereby giving Donald Trump fodder for mudslinging during his campaign.

Over the past three years, if there is one thing Donald Trump can claim resounding success for, is to have divided the country at its core.

This was overtly clear during the hearings.

To begin with not a single Republican voted to start the impeachment process, despite a whistleblower complaint from deep within the White House. Then during the hearings the Republicans refused to acknowledge some facts and accept any witness as being credible. Even the whistleblower was in their cross hairs despite the law granting him/her compete anonymity and immunity. They were all being egged on by Donald Trump’s rhetoric.

All they kept saying was that it was a sham process to discredit a president who had won the election fair and square. And the Democrat’s objective from day one, was to de-legitimize the presidency and this process was yet another ploy. The Democrats could never win against him at the ballot box so they had orchestrated a “witch-hunt” .

The apathy and total disregard for the process from the Republicans was bone chilling. As the two sides played ping pong, the career diplomats who were the witnesses, exhibited courage and class.

Their testimony made it abundantly clear, that the president did not operate like a statesman. He breached protocol and employed tactics which he probably often used in his real estate business dealings.

The “deal-maker” that he always advertises himself to be, did not have a clear grasp of how deals are done inside government. And this was yet another sad display of his failing.

Republicans also made the argument at every opportune moment, both on their bullhorn Fox News and other networks, that this was not an impeachable offense. This was again “Trump being Trump” and nothing else. After all the military aid was finally released to the Ukrainian government. Conveniently forgetting that it was released after the whistleblower made the complaint.

Whether this was a serious breach of conduct or not, will be decided by those who have power in the House and the Senate.

But what the people need to be aware of, is if we have a president who is working for the people or himself. Was this call to Ukraine a one time occurrence or a despicable pattern of conducting the people’s business. Is government policy being conducted to enrich the president and his various personal and political interests. Is the president working for outside interests and not the people he presides over.

These are serious ethical questions which need to be addressed and answered. And if we have a leader at the top, who is not trustworthy, and does not respect the law of the land, then he needs to be removed from office swiftly. This is why the framers of the constitution built checks and balances into the system and the impeachment process is a major part of it.

The Intelligence Committee has released its 300 page report to the House Judiciary Committee concluding Donald Trump violated his oath of office. Today that committee started its own hearings with the all too predictable divide amongst its members.

At the end of the hearings the Judiciary Committee will draft the articles of impeachment.

The process will then proceed to the Senate where the president will be tried with the members serving as jury and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presiding.

67 Senators would be needed to vote in favor of Donald Trump’s removal. Listening to some of the Senators spew absurdities on television, the chances of that happening are remote.

Donald Trump will have to be removed from office at the polls on November 3rd of 2020. This is where America’s decency and resolve to hold a corrupt president accountable will be tested.

Anand Kamalakar is a Brooklyn based documentary film director, producer and editor. His latest film SALAM can now be seen on Netflix.

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