Evanston residents respond to presidential impeachment inquiry

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Daily file photo by Jeffrey Wang

U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) at an event in May 2017. Evanston residents reacted to the vote to approve the impeachment inquiry last Thursday.

Delaney Nelson, Reporter

Some Evanston residents expressed support for the House’s vote to formalize impeachment inquiry proceedings into President Donald Trump, but doubt a successful conviction.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) voted with 231 other House members to pass a resolution that formalized the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and publicized its hearings.

The resolution also allows for the president and his counsel to take part in future hearings. The House committees leading the inquiry will report their findings to the Judiciary Committee, who will then decide whether to move forward with the process of impeachment and the drafting of impeachment articles.

“(I) voted yes to protect my country and its constitution for generations to come,” Schakowsky, who has represented the 9th District since 1998, said in a Thursday statement. “No person is above the law, not even the president.”

If passed, Trump will become one of three presidents in U.S. history to be impeached. Talk of impeachment began in his first year of presidency, later fueled by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into potential election interference. The report did not give a direct conclusion on whether the president was guilty of obstruction of justice.

This round of impeachment debates was sparked by the Trump-Ukraine controversy, after it was revealed that Trump may have pressured the Ukranian president to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

A survey conducted in July by Indivisible Evanston found that over 60 percent of its members were in favor of starting an impeachment inquiry, according to organization co-leader and co-founder Laura Tanner Swinand. Now, however, she said the group is in general support and pleased with the House’s decision but not happy with the country’s state of affairs.

“It’s certainly not a happy day for this country that we’re impeaching a president, especially for the reasons he’s being impeached,” Swinand said. “It’s a grave and serious matter, and we all want to show our respect for the process.”

Some Evanston residents, like Dan Hinkle, are supportive of impeachment of the president, partly because they think it is necessary to hold the president accountable. Hinkle said he supported impeaching former President Bill Clinton in 1998 and is able to see things technically.

While Hinkle knows Trump committed a crime, he said he didn’t care about the Ukraine scandal but just wants to see Trump out of office.

“Not impeaching him does not seem morally right,” Hinkle said. “If you don’t, there’s no consequence for this. What’s he gonna do next?”

However, impeachment does not mean removal from office. If the House votes to introduce articles of impeachment, the Senate will then hold a trial and vote on whether to convict the president. With a Republican-controlled Senate, Swinand said it may be unlikely for the Senate to convict Trump.

Evanston resident Alex Sykes also expressed doubt regarding the likelihood of Senate Republicans voting against Trump. The president will be removed from office only if two-thirds of the Senate vote to convict.

“I think (impeachment) is good, but I don’t know if it’s futile,” Sykes said. “It’s probably just going to die in the Senate anyway, which is why I don’t really pay attention that much.”

While impeachment is up in the air, Swinand said Indivisible Evanston will keep their sights on the 2020 elections.

Swinand said the organization is focused on registering voters for those elections and continuing to advocate for issues they care about.

“I just hope that people don’t in a way get complacent thinking impeachment is the solution,” Swinand said. “It’s just gonna be part of the process of cleaning house in all three parts of the government.”

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