To date, I have not weighed in on the impeachment hearings, except for a brief mention here and there. That does not mean that I haven’t been paying attention, or that I haven’t got thoughts about it all, but only that I wanted to let things play out for a bit before offering my observations.
There has never been a doubt in my mind that Trump has committed any number of impeachable, even criminal actions, despite the fact that Attorney General William Barr would say that, as president, Trump is above all law. The United States Constitution says otherwise. My own opinion was that the impeachment process should have had its formal beginning when Robert Mueller’s final report was issued, for that report contained sufficient evidence that Trump had acted from self-interest in attempting to obstruct justice and invite foreign influence into the U.S. election process. Nancy Pelosi, however, thought it best to wait, and at this point, I would agree that she was probably right to do so.
Trump’s attempt at extortion, his blatant attempt to coerce the newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to announce a sham investigation into the man Trump believed would be his main competition in next year’s election, carries more weight than the ‘obstruction of justice’ charges would have. That said …
I think too much emphasis is being placed on the “quid pro quo” … something for something … than is necessary, and I find it distracting. Whether one can put one’s finger directly on the ‘quid’ and the ‘quo’ is irrelevant. For the record, the ‘quid pro quo’ has, in fact, been proven by multiple witnesses, but again, that isn’t the point. The point is that Trump broke the law. Trump acted dishonestly and attempted, as he did in 2016, to manipulate an election. Trump sullied the office he holds, and it will be many years, likely decades, before trust in that office will be restored.
Over the course of the past few weeks, numerous witnesses have provided corroborating evidence that Trump acted improperly and against the Constitution. It becomes obvious that Trump is guilty and that his cohorts are fully aware of the level of his guilt by the fact that there are so many attempts to misdirect or even halt the impeachment proceedings. They are tripping over each other trying to provide lame excuses or justifications for what he did, mostly pointing their fingers at “democrats” in general with some unclear intent. An innocent man, or even one who felt his misdeeds were justifiable, would welcome the opportunity to air the facts, to present his own side of the story, so to speak.
Yesterday, however, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent a five-page letter to Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee saying that … well here, read the first two sentences for yourself …
I write in response to your letter of November 26, 2019, to President Trump regarding the purported “impeachment inquiry” currently being conducted by Democrats in the House of Representatives (“House”). As you know, this baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness.
Leave it to a lawyer to take five pages to say what could have been said in a single sentence. Notice his intentional scorn for the proceedings by placing quotation marks around “impeachment inquiry”. And his reference to the process as being “baseless and highly partisan”, while there are nearly as many republicans on the committee as there are democrats. And his claim that it violates historical precedent … well, all he has to do is remember Nixon, remember Clinton, and there is the precedent.
The letter speaks volumes, though not quite the volumes the letter-writer intended. What this letter says to me is that there is no valid defense on behalf of Trump, and so the strategy of Trump et al is to merely distract from the process by denying the validity of it. Trump & Co have done everything in their power short of murder to keep key witnesses from honouring the congressional subpoenas and testifying. The few who have come forth voluntarily and in spite of Trump are to be applauded for their courage.
An honest man would not go to so much trouble, engage in all the drama and theatrics, to attempt to halt a proceeding that is supported by the U.S. Constitution itself, the very document Trump has taken an oath to uphold. Neither Richard Nixon nor Bill Clinton went to such lengths, and in fact both cooperated with the impeachment process to a greater or lesser degree.
For more than a month, Trump has disparaged the impeachment process claiming he was not given an opportunity to tell his side, to defend himself. He was given the opportunity to do so, to have his attorneys present if he could not be there himself, and instead he once again deflected. It is the opinion of this writer that he has no legal leg to stand on, that both he and his team of lawyers know it, and that if for any reason he is not impeached it will be a gross miscarriage of justice and will end any remaining perception of democratic principles. His lawyers, as well as Attorney General William Barr, claim that he cannot be investigated or charged with a crime while in office. The Constitution, however, disagrees.
An honest man, one with nothing to hide, wouldn’t work so hard at hiding so many things.