A Turning Point
By Anne Wiegard
This week has marked a political turning point. We've seen an historic vote by the House Judiciary Committee to move for impeachment of the president. Chairman Jerry Nadler described this decision as a "solemn and sad" moment for the members of the committee, who voted to impeach President Trump because it's the only way they can honor the oath of office they took before the American people.
Like the members of the Judiciary Committee, I take no joy in this step toward impeachment. I had long hoped that President Trump would heed the advice of advisors, cabinet officials, and lawmakers seeking to moderate his autocratic instincts. Unfortunately, he managed to bully or fire everyone who might have constrained him, and we can all see that every unchallenged transgression has served to embolden him.
His obstruction of every aspect of the Mueller investigation and his appointment of William Barr to withhold and misrepresent its findings resulted in no charges being brought against Trump for aiding Russian interference in the 2016 election, even though six of his campaign staff have been charged and convicted of crimes. The Mueller Report explicitly laid out the evidence of obstruction of justice and laid out a blueprint for Congress to charge him. Why did he obstruct the investigation if he was not guilty of colluding with Russia?
Trump's abuse of power did not miss a beat. That he would pick up the phone July 25th, the day after Special Counsel Mueller testified before Congress, to coerce the newly elected president of Ukraine into announcing a bogus "corruption" investigation against the Bidens in exchange for the Congressionally approved military aid, plainly shows that the most powerful man in the world will continue to commit whatever crimes he can get away with unless a co-equal branch of government stops him.
The facts gleaned through the impeachment inquiry speak for themselves. Multiple nonpartisan witnesses, people whom Trump himself had appointed, testified under oath that they had heard firsthand the president's voice directing the shakedown of Ukraine. None of the president's defenders has attempted to explain away that testimony. Instead, they have resorted to a debunked conspiracy theory about supposed 2016 election interference by Ukraine and the DNC that our national security experts and U.S. Intelligence agencies have indisputably proven originated with Vladimir Putin as a way to deflect blame away from Russia.
Moreover, any pretense that Trump was genuinely concerned about corruption in Ukraine is laughable when we consider his own egregious corruption with recent news of the courts fining him $2 million for crimes committed by his fraudulent "charitable" foundation and by his fraudulent Trump "University."
Just following all this news in addition to keeping up with the obligations of our daily lives has been stressful and exhausting, but necessary if we are to honor our responsibility as Americans to be the "informed citizenry" that Jefferson warned us is required for democracy to survive. It is our duty to learn the facts despite those facts making us deeply anxious about the jeopardy this White House has placed our country in.
Like the members of the House Judiciary Committee, the members of the House of Representatives will have no choice but to vote for impeachment on Wednesday or Thursday if they are to uphold their oaths to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States" and to "bear true faith and allegiance to the same."
As informed and patriotic citizens, we also have no choice. If we want a nation that follows the rule of law and protects free and fair elections, we must voice our views to lawmakers. Ideally, we will also speak up to family members, friends and neighbors, asking them to support impeachment. We could take even further actions to protect our democracy, for example, by participating in person at one of the rallies being coordinated this Tuesday evening (to find a location near you, go to "impeach.org").
This is a turning point for all of us.