The American people deserve a president who will respect the solemn oath they take to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and our democracy. As the U.S. House finishes up its public impeachment hearings, it’s clear that President Trump has violated that oath and shown a pattern of deception, obstruction, corruption, and abuse of power. Because of that, the House has no other option than to impeach, and the Senate to convict and remove the president from office.
From abusing his power by soliciting a bribe from the Ukraine government, to obstructing justice in the Russia investigation, to failing to safeguard our elections, to profiting off the presidency, to breaking campaign finance laws, President Trump has misused his office and abuses his power time and time again.
To call for the president’s impeachment and removal is not something I, or the 1.2 million supporters of Common Cause, take lightly. We have spent the last three years carefully following the facts, documenting President Trump’s violations and abuses of power, and urging members of both parties in Congress to hold the administration accountable. But extraordinary times in history call for extraordinary measures.
The Founding Fathers put impeachment in the Constitution for a reason: to give Congress, as the American people’s elected representatives in the federal government, the ability to hold accountable and remove a president from office in between elections. Never in American history has Congress exercising its impeachment powers been more important than now. Trump’s actions have jeopardized the integrity of our elections, undermined our democratic norms and institutions, and put at risk our national security and the safety of the American people.
The House’s impeachment inquiry into President Trump has focused on Trump demanding a bribe from Ukraine’s government (dirt on his 2020 election rival Joe Biden) in exchange for Trump performing an official government act (releasing nearly $400 million of military aid). It also appears Trump obstructed justice by intimidating witnesses and interfering in Congress’ Ukraine investigation. But the Ukraine scandal is just the latest in a long list of constitutional desecrations.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller identified 10 separate instances where President Trump seemingly obstructed justice in the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, but Mueller left it to Congress to act. To date, Trump has gotten away with these obstructions because he has used his office to protect himself, which constituents an abuse of power.
President Trump has also been in violation of the Constitution’s domestic and foreign emoluments clauses since he became president, because he has retained ownership of his businesses and through his businesses received payments from foreign governments and from U.S. federal and state governments. The American people should not have to wonder whether their president’s decision making is based on what’s best for the country or what’s best for the president’s personal financial interests.
As foreign governments continue to target our voting systems, President Trump has abused his power by failing to acknowledge Russian interference in our elections and take adequate steps to protect our elections from future foreign attacks. Instead, Trump has explicitly requested that Ukraine interfere in the 2020 election.
Finally, Trump has violated numerous campaign finance laws, including orchestrating hundreds of thousands of dollars in hush payments to individuals to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.
As the U.S. House considers articles of impeachment against Trump, they must remember that this process is not just about Donald Trump – it is about setting a precedent to say nobody, including the president of the United States, is above the law.
If we simply turn a blind eye to Trump’s behavior and let him walk clean, we are failing our democracy and country. We would be giving a sign for the next president, and those who follow, that they can get away with abuses of power, obstruction of justice, and violating the Constitution. Staying silent is simply not an option.
This is a time for members of Congress to rise up, put country over party, and act in accordance with our American values and the oath they take. As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in 1999 during the Clinton impeachment trial, “if we have no truth and we have no justice, then we have no nation of laws. No public official, no president, no man or no woman is important enough to sacrifice the founding principles of our legal system.” McConnell and his Republican colleagues need to follow his 1999 comments and confront the facts staring them in the face: we have a president who has no respect for the rule of law and who abuses the power of his office. President Trump must be impeached and removed from office.