On to the Senate where only one “I” counts: Integrity
On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, Donald J. Trump became only the third president in United States history to be impeached.
The vote, largely along partisan lines, was inevitable based on the evidence.
Despite Republican attempts at obfuscation, their only defense to date has been to criticize the process with words like “witch hunt,” “hoax,” “illegal,” “phony,” “unconstitutional (really!),” and more.
While they’ve been yelling and screaming without any facts, 500 law professors signed an open letter to Congress saying that President Trump committed “impeachable conduct” and that lawmakers would be acting well within their rights if they ultimately voted to remove him from office.
“There is overwhelming evidence that President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him distort an American election, for his personal and political benefit, at the direct expense of national security interests as determined by Congress,” the group of professors wrote. “His conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment in the Constitution.”
And 750 historians signed a letter calling for the impeachment of President Trump.
“It is our considered judgment that if President Trump’s misconduct does not rise to the level of impeachment, then virtually nothing does,” the scholars wrote in a missive that the nonprofit advocacy group Protect Democracy posted on Medium.
At this point, it would appear that anyone with a scintilla of intelligence would have to agree that Donald Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors, specifically abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and should not just be impeached, but based on a fair Senate trial with no new exculpatory evidence, removed from office.
Of course, there’s a large percentage of the American public without a scintilla of intelligence; we’ll have to give them a pass. But lack of intelligence shouldn’t be an issue with our elected Congressmen and Senators (with, of course, the exception of a few like Steve King of Iowa, Louis Gohmert of Texas and Matt Gaetz of Florida). So, if Congressional intelligence is not an issue, Congressional integrity should be.
As we move from impeachment in the House to trial in the Senate integrity comes to the forefront. And, there’s the rub! There doesn’t appear to be much integrity in the Senate.
The other day I wrote about Senators Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham. Regarding integrity, they are beyond redemption. But what of the 49 other Republicans? Have they watched and read and heard the evidence to date? Are they willing to listen to the evidence in the Senate trial? Do they have any defense of Trump beyond muddying the issues and confusing the electorate? Have they no shame? Do they have any integrity?
Come on Mitt Romney and Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and Cory Gardner and Lamar Alexander and Richard Burr and Martha McSally and Rob Portman and Pat Toomey and all you other “moderate” Republicans. And even Ted Cruz (yes, that Ted Cruz who, in 2016, called Trump “a pathological liar, a narcissist and utterly amoral.”). We know you’re all intelligent. We know that you know that Trump committed impeachable offenses. If the trial confirms that he did, if there’s no new evidence to the contrary, you should vote for removal. Man/Woman up! Show some integrity. Remember, the argument that removing Trump will overturn the election is a false argument; Vice President Pence was also elected and will accede to the presidency (as unpleasant as that is). So look deep and think hard, respect your Constitutional oath, show some integrity, vote your conscience, and do the right thing.
One last thought: Whither Tulsi Gabbard?
Gabbard, Congresswoman from Hawaii, decorated combat veteran, running for the Democratic nomination for President, voted “present” on the two articles of impeachment. Her rationale: “After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no.” She added that she could not oppose impeachment “because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing,” nor could she back it “because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country.”
There is no question that the current impeachment process is a “partisan process.” Impeachment is one almost by definition, particularly in this environment in which one side, the Republicans, won’t accept the facts and in so doing, “fuel tribal animosities” that “gravely divide our country.” Sorry to say, Congresswoman Gabbard, voting “present” is not good enough if you believe Trump is, as you say, “guilty of wrongdoing.”