According to a survey published on the University of Monmouth website on October 1, 52% of respondents opposed the removal of the current leader from his post, while 44% supported the initiative of the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, Hill-HarrisX study conducted on September 26–27 showed that 47% of respondents endorsed the idea of Donald Trump's opponents and 42% condemned it.
At the same time, the first witnesses to the investigation have already testified before the US Congress on October 3 and 4. They were Former US special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker and Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general, who received the whistleblower complaint about the records of a phone call between Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelenskiy that marked the beginning of the Ukrainian scandal.
Commenting on the actions of his opponents, the US president said that this was the 'greatest scam in the history of American politics’ and later even called democrats’ impeachment inquiry a coup.
“As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America,” the American leader wrote on Twitter.
Analyzing the events unfolding in the US, Graham Dodds, Department of Political Science, Concordia University, reminded that a similar situation related to the beginning of the impeachment procedure occurs in US history for the fourth time.
“Constitutionally and historically, this is very important, and it may well be important politically, too,” he said.
At the same time Graham Dodds stressed that Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi changed her mind about impeachment, after having resisted calls for it for many months referring to a possible split in American society.
“Democrats were doing well in most polls, so why change things by switching to call for an impeachment investigation? Either she was forced into it by the majority of Democrats in the House, or she felt it was her constitutional duty to go ahead with it regardless of the political consequences,” the Canadian expert explained, implying that in case of failure, Democrats could lose control of the lower house of Congress after the next election.
In his opinion, the impeachment inquiry may favorably affect the reputation and position of the American president.
“Impeachment could help Trump, by energizing his core supporters and feeding into his claims that he is constantly treated unfairly and that everyone is out to get him. On the other hand, maybe this will give Republicans a way to finally stop blindly defending Trump and to distance themselves from him,” Graham Dodds said.
In turn, Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution and an author of several publications for the National Interest magazine, called the situation “very tense.”
“It has probably not been this bad since at least the late 1990s and the current situation in fact is probably worse than during the Clinton years. Perhaps one has to go back to the worst of the Vietnam and Watergate era, in the 1960s and early 1970s, for anything close to a parallel,” the expert said.
Assessing the chances of the president’s resignation, he expressed the opinion that the Republican-controlled Senate would not allow impeachment.
“The most likely outcome would seem to me to be impeachment in the House – meaning that that chamber votes to remove Trump – followed by no impeachment in the Senate; and then a wounded and angry president facing the voters in 2020,” Michael O’Hanlon suggested.
Meanwhile, Denny Roy, Senior Fellow, East-West Center, paid particular attention to the very figure of the American leader.
“Trump is a highly unusual president who got elected mostly due to the support of Americans who believe their interests are not served by conventional politicians in Washington. These Trump supporters welcome the idea of Trump as the anti-politician. Therefore they saw Trump’s lack of experience in government, indulgence in divisive and often offensive or mean-spirited rhetoric, simplistic approaches to complex issues, and braggadocio as strengths rather than the kind of weaknesses that would ordinarily disqualify a candidate from getting substantial public support,” the expert said.
From his point of view, Trump demonstrated an inclination to ignore the many of the norms of presidential behavior from the outset of his presidency.
“In this latest scandal involving the Ukrainian president, many Americans think Trump has crossed the line over into clearly corrupt and criminal behavior. Two of the strengths of the US political system are transparency and institutional safeguards against an abuse of power by even a high official, and we are now seeing these in action as the opposition Democratic Party is thoroughly investigating Trump and some of his close associates with a view toward impeachment based on a complaint by an anonymous government employee,” Denny Roy said.
Meanwhile, in his opinion, impeachment inquiry has a wide range of possible consequences.
“The investigations might uncover enough additional damning evidence to convince a Republican Party-controlled Senate to throw Trump out, or to prompt Trump to resign. But conversely, the impeachment investigations might increase public acceptance of Trump’s claim that the Democratic Party is unfairly persecuting him, resulting in additional votes for Trump in the 2020 election. It is the latter risk that made the Democratic Party leadership so resistant against calls for impeachment until the latest Trump scandal,” Senior Fellow at East-West Center said.
Daniel Chirot, the author of Modern Tyrants, Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, also stressed that American society is not consolidated on the issue of impeachment.
“The country is deeply divided and it is the President's intention to defend himself by further frightening his supporters to mobilize them against his enemies. The major departments of the government are headed by people who will do anything to preserve the President but who have lost legitimacy in the eyes of the majority of the population. Much essential government work is not getting done as experts are fleeing government service because they are being marginalized and disregarded,” Professor said.
In his opinion, the United States is entering a difficult time.
“The United States […] is entering a constitutional crisis as the various branches of the government – the executive, the judicial, and the legislative are starting to disregard many of the rules and customs that held the country together. The political parties no longer respect each other and treat each other as total enemies,” Daniel Chirot said.
“If things keep on going in this direction over the next few years, the United States will lose the ability to react in a constructive way to any crisis that might occur – moral, economic, political, or international,” the analyst concluded.