I'm feeling pretty powerless and dejected by the impeachment trial of President Trump. Through the investigation and impeachment in the House, the Republicans in both House and Senate have shown abject fealty to a president who would be emperor. While the senators are not allowed to speak during the trial, the other voices defending the president seem to be even more amplified and strident.
While I think the president is, without question, guilty of obstruction of Congress, I do see a defense for the charge he abused his presidential power: while the president’s attempts to use Ukraine and hurt the likely Democratic candidate for president were inappropriate, his actions may not justify removal from office. Yet no Republican has acknowledged that his actions were inappropriate. The talking points say the impeachment is a Democratic “coup” to overturn the 2016 election.
Compounding my frustration with the Republican response is knowing the acceptance of presidential power afforded President Trump would not be extended to President Obama, nor to a successor from the Democratic party. To wit, Mitch McConnell refused to grant a hearing for President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, and Republicans claimed President Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program was an abuse of presidential power.
Fairness and reciprocity are strong values I hold, and blatant hypocrisy weighs on me physically. What’s a citizen to do?
It now seems the only hope of learning the truth — aside from awaiting the long judgment of historians — is for the Senate to call witnesses who have first-hand observations of the conversations and actions that led to withholding military aid to Ukraine. Four Republican senators are viewed as sufficiently moderate to at least consider voting to call witnesses: Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah. So I sent each the following email:
Your Role in the Impeachment Trial of President Trump
While you were elected to represent the citizens of your state, your role in the impeachment trial of President Trump is to represent the citizens of the United States in accordance with the Constitution.
As a citizen observing the House of Representatives’ investigation that led to impeachment, I have no doubt that the President is guilty of obstruction of Congress. The evidence that his orders prevented the House from hearing from potential witnesses and reviewing all relevant documents is indisputable.
The evidence supporting the first article, abuse of power, is strong. Based on the President’s history in office, I have little doubt he has abused the powers of his office — and will continue to do so if unchecked. Nonetheless, I understand others believe otherwise. Hearing from the members of his administration who were involved in the Ukrainian discussions and withholding of military funding, such as John Bolton, should confirm this abuse of power or support the President’s claim that he is innocent.
I urge you to vote to call witnesses and gather additional documentation as part of the Senate trial, a logical and timely step to seek the truth about the President’s actions and motivation in withholding military aid to Ukraine.
As a member of the Senate, you stand on the threshold of history. I hope, for the sake of the country, you will choose the Constitution over fealty to the President.