Impeachment proceedings arrived in the House of Representatives. It has been a stunning turn of events over the last week. At the heart of the issue is if President Trump used his government position for personal political gain. In short, did the U.S. President ask the President of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden in return for U.S. aid? President Trump fully admits to asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, who was on the board of a large Ukrainian company, but he does not admit to withholding aid unless they investigated. It is not hard to connect the dots for a motive as he wants to badly damage a possible opponent like he did in 2016 with Hilary Clinton's email issue (AXIOS). Or an investigation could knock Joe Biden out of the 2020 Presidential Democratic race. President Trump would much rather face a Democratic progressive like Warren or Sanders than a political moderate such as Biden. The motive is there but proving the allegations will be the task at hand for Democrats.
The Democratic leadership deliberated over a year regarding impeachment proceedings resulting from the Russian allegations and investigation and never moved forward. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi feared that even if they had the grounds to impeach from a legal standpoint, they would lose in the court of public opinion. But it only took a week for impeachment proceedings to be launched after the revelations surrounding Ukraine. With the President directly involved, they feel they have a stronger hand this time. As more information works its way into the public realm, we'll have to see if public opinion supports this impeachment proceeding.
How will the markets react to this? The Russian inquiry had little impact on the markets and as of this week the market reaction to political news was relatively muted. But with the Ukraine news swirling around President Trump on Wednesday, he announced a trade deal with China "could happen sooner than you think" and the markets moved modestly higher (WSJ). So far, investors are focused on economic news and ignoring politics.
What are the ripple effects from an impeachment process? Will foreign adversaries feel the U.S. is distracted and try to take advantage? It is not difficult to imagine Venezuela, or even Russia, making a move they wouldn't try on a slow news day. Will the President feel the need to divert attention to positive news and ramp up efforts to complete trade negotiations with China and other partners (wasn't the timing interesting for the U.S. and Japan to reach a limited trade pact this Wednesday (CNBC)? Will no legislation make it through Congress now that many committees will be involved in impeachment proceedings? Who knows where we go from here, but so far this week, things are unfolding quickly.
There are links and articles to everything happening in DC, and also articles on inverted mortgage yields, megacities and Brexit. On the lighter side are articles on the perfect age, laughter as medicine (we need this!), and more Ken Burns!
- Trump-Ukraine Timeline: Trying to keep track of all the events, players and details can be tricky. Hopefully, a timeline can help. Wash Post