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August 24, 2018
2 years

Who is the issue?

  • Recently, U.S. President Trump’s two key aides during the 2016 presidential polls were implicated by the FBI for misconduct.
  • While these would generate a political storm, it would amount to little more than that, Trump is insulated from prosecutions.

What are the implications of these developments?

  • Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty for violating campaign finance laws by paying a settlement to two women, to enhance Trump’s chances.
  • Notably, the women were allegedly paid on the direction of Trump himself for staying silent on their sexual encounters with him.
  • On the very same day, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted of bank and tax frauds.
  • Legal - United States Justice Department has long held that a President cannot be charged with a crime as long as he holds office.
  • The Justice Department’s line hasn’t yet been challenged in court, and a prosecutor can in theory go ahead, ignoring the Department’s position.
  • However, there is little movement in that direction as no person seems to have taken steps in that direction.
  • In this context, it is to be noted that Manafort’s criminal conviction does not directly implicate Trump too and the President has stated the same.
  • Political – With legal proceedings ruled out, impeachment is the only possibility to hold Trump accountable for his violations.
  • The removal of Trump from office has long been discussed, and the recent developments can spark calls for impeachment hearings.
  • But it is unlikely Congress would go down that road as long as Republicans are in a majority and even Democrats aren’t unanimous in their views.
  • Pressure on Democrats to commit to begin impeachment proceedings if they take the House later in the year is likely to go up.
  • But apart from the mere symbolism of introducing impeachment, Trump will the recent courtroom developments will account to nothing more.
  • Notably, for impeachment to be passed, both chambers of the U.S. congress has to pass it with two-thrid majority of the total numbers in both houses.


Source: The Hindu


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