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Cracks in US ruling class are chance to dump Donald Trump

This article is over 4 years, 6 months old
US establishment figures hope they can impeach Trump over ‘Ukrainegate’. We need to go beyond their narrow differences, writes Gabby Thorpe
Issue 2681
Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Pic: White House/creative commons)

The possible impeachment of Donald Trump is what many of his opponents have been waiting for.

An investigation is underway into Trump’s attempts to undermine Joe Biden, his potential opponent in the 2020 presidential election.

Trump wanted to pressure Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden’s son.

From 2014 to 2019 Hunter Biden sat on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings, which has been at the centre of multiple corruption allegations.

At the time Joe Biden, then vice president, was pushing for more aid to Ukraine.

Trump has repeatedly called the investigation a “witch hunt”. And he has denied that the US withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to pressure Zelensky to call an investigation into Hunter Biden.

But last week new details emerged about a call between Trump and the US ambassador to the European Union, Gordon D Sondland. In the phone call, he allegedly expressed a strong interest in “investigations of Biden”.

This new detail is a damning blow for Trump.

Many media outlets have speculated that the investigation could put an end to the Trump administration. And it is certain to make his upcoming election campaign more difficult.

But it is not necessarily going to be the final blow and the opposition should not become complacent.

Trump would not be the first president to win a second term while embroiled in a scandal.


The Watergate scandal in June 1972 saw Republican president Richard Nixon order a break in at the Democratic Party offices. It was an attempt to get dirt on his opponents before the 1972 presidential election.

But despite Watergate and a crippling defeat in the Vietnam War, Nixon was able to win a second term. He resigned in 1974 with the mounting possibility of impeachment.

It seems ridiculous that such a massive abuse of power didn’t stop Nixon from winning.

And if he could still win, it seems likely that Trump will pull off the same feat.

But Nixon’s demise was part of a wider ruling class crisis that had been brewing since the previous decade.

And a strong anti-war movement at home and defeats abroad widened the cracks at the top of society and ultimately led to his resignation.

That experience underlines that Nixon’s resignation was entangled in wider issues of imperialism and war. It included revelations about covert bombing of Cambodia.

In contrast today, the danger is that the impeachment is narrowly focused on splits between different sections of the ruling class.

The military and bosses, who don’t trust Trump, may seek to oust him for alleged links with Russia.

But for now, Trump is continuing to get away with warmongering and attacks on migrants. And as the impeachment inquiries dominate headlines it is likely that Trump will use it as a distraction to push through more dangerous policies.

There isn’t the same kind of mass movement that caused Nixon to resign. But—as recent strikes have shown—a movement for change is still possible.

People should take to the streets and say no to Trump. And that includes people in London coming out in force when he visits Britain on 3 December for the Nato warmongers’ summit.

No to Trump, No to Nato, Tue 3 Dec 4pm Trafalgar Square. Go to

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