The pressure from some sectors of the Democratic Party to have its leadership opens a process of accusation against Donald Trump has increased in the last hours, after the website Buzzfeed reported that the president of the United States has instructed his former lawyer to lie in Congress on the construction of a luxury real estate project in Moscow.
Up for grabs is a negotiation between Trump's company, represented by the lawyer Michael Cohen, and Russian business men and politicians in view of building a Trump Tower in the Russian capital.
These talks were conducted from October 2015 until the summer of 2016, when it was known that Trump was to be nominated Republican candidate for the White House.
The case is under investigation by the special prosecutor Robert Mueller's team, who tries to see if this real estate interest (with a possible profit of $ 300 million) has some connection with the suspected Russian manipulation of the American election campaign in favor of Trump and against his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
But this succession of events was known only last year when the FBI broke into the offices and home of Michael Cohen in New York.
Months before, in 2017, the lawyer had counted a different version of the congressional commissions investigating the suspicions of Russian interference. According to this first version of Cohen, talks with Russian entrepreneurs have only passed from October 2015 to January 2016, when they had not even started the Republican Party primary elections – that is, there was no reason to be wary of Trump because in January 2016 no one believed that the tycoon would be the chosen one in his party, the more he would win the presidential election.
Only Michael Cohen would eventually succumb to pressure from Mueller's team and last November told the court he lied in letters he sent to Congress. After all, negotiations with the Russians on behalf of Trump's company, which were to be abandoned, continued during the campaign.
Furthermore, and contrary to what the president said, the lawyer said in court that Trump and some members of his family were kept informed of the negotiations with the Russians.
Even after Cohen's admission last November, accusation in the Democratic Party it did not yet have anything substantial to justify the opening of a formal process. Although the Democrats are now in the majority in the House of Representatives (the place where accusation), the leader of the room, Nancy Pelosi, said that he will only advance in this direction with very concrete evidence.
This is why the news published on Thursday by Buzzfeed is important: if confirmed by the special prosecutor Robert Mueller's report, this is the first really important sign that the American President may have tried to impede justice – a crime that can justify # 39; opening of a accusation.
Quoting anonymity from two federal agents who are part of the investigation, Buzzfeed says that Robert Mueller's team has witnesses, e-mail messages and other documents that President Trump has instructed Michael Cohen to lie in the letters he sent to Congress in 2017. That is, according to this version, Trump is accused of trying to impede justice.
During the election campaign, Trump repeatedly assured that he had no business in Russia. And when the second version of Michael Cohen was known last year, the US president called his former lawyer a liar – an accusation he repeated on Twitter on Friday, apparently in reaction to the Buzzfeed news , but quoting The Fox journalist Kevin Corke.
"Do not forget, Michael Cohen has already been convicted of perjury and fraud, and this week the Wall Street Journal he suggested that he could also have stolen tens of thousands of dollars … "said Corke.
Then, in December, CNN presented a letter signed by Trump with a preliminary agreement for the construction of the tower in Moscow, but this was not enough to say that the President has risked a process of accusation – after all, lying to the voters in a campaign is not a crime, let alone a crime that could be rejected.
Division in accusation
In response to Buzzfeed news, Democratic Party leader Adam Schiff's intelligence committee leader said he would investigate the case.
"The allegations that the US President may have led to perjury to our committee in an attempt to curtail investigations and cover his business with Russia are the most serious to date. We will do our utmost to find out if it is true" , Schiff said on Twitter.
Also on Twitter, Congressman Joaquin Castro and Senator Chris Murphy spoke openly of a accusation. For Castro, "if the news is true, President Trump has to resign or be the goal of a accusation"and Murphy leaves a message to the investigators:" Mueller should not complete his request, but it's time to show his letters to Congress before it's too late for us. "
These statements are important because the Democratic Party is divided between two main groups on the issue of accusation.
On the one hand, in the group of Nancy Pelosi, there are members of Congress who want to go ahead only if the special prosecutor Robert Mueller comes to present strong evidence of serious crimes, since a process of accusation without a solid foundation you can address those responsible – this is what happened when the Republican Party tried to overthrow President Bill Clinton in the years & # 90;
On the other side there are many new members of Congress, the young people elected in November in the name of more progressive electorates. With the news that President Trump may have tried to thwart justice, these Congressmen are pushing even more their leaders into the Democratic Party.
the accusation It is a political process that is decided in Congress – a president can not be dismissed on the basis of accusations in ordinary courts.
To begin with, the House of Representatives must vote in favor of opening the procedure by a simple majority. Given that the Democratic Party is in the majority, it will not be difficult for this to happen if Congressmen get together.
After that, the Senate must, in the role of a court, order the current President accusationbut with a two-thirds majority – that is, in order for President Trump to be effectively removed from office, part of the Republican Party senators will want to overthrow his president.
For there to be any chance of that happening, the prosecutor Robert Mueller has to gather concrete evidence of very serious crimes such as betrayal – many analysts do not believe that Republican senators will agree to oust President Trump even if it is proven that he tried to impede justice.
During the history of the United States, there were only three presidents accusation, but no one has been removed from the post.
Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 were tried by the Senate but were liquidated. And Richard Nixon resigned in 1974, after the Chamber's Judicial Affairs Committee recommended him accusation, but even before a general vote in the same room.