My Aunt Maggie used to say that someone in a bad situation probably felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. Perhaps her description accurately describes the situation we currently face as a nation. On one hand, we all agree that an impeachment divides the country. However, when Trump’s actions threaten to compromise our 2020 elections, we ethically must take action. Not a comfortable place to be. After listening to the same arguments for days, I feel impelled to make this impeachment question simple. Maybe Ellen Weintraub, Chair of the Federal Election Commission simplified the issue for all of us when she wrote the statement below.
“Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election. This is not a novel concept. Electoral intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginnings of our nation."
After all that has been said and done by both sides, we can note a few provable facts.
Seventeen intelligence agencies, both civilian and military, found that Russia hacked and interfered with our 2016 election. In addition, fact-checking Politifact confirmed the report. Our own Department of Homeland Security agreed.
Politico and others tell us, that the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee thoroughly investigated a theory about interference from Ukraine and found no evidence that Ukraine interfered in our 2016 election. Republicans do not talk about this finding.
Careful reading of the incomplete transcript from the July 25, 2019 phone conversation between Trump and Zelenwsky reveals Trump saying, “I would like you to do us a favor though.”This statement provides factual information. No one can seriously claim this as an opinion. Shortly after the request, Trump mentions how much the United States has done for Ukraine and how little they have done for the U.S. He follows by asking for investigations into his potential opponent, Joe Biden and Biden’s son.
In October 2019, Trump said, “China should start an investigation into the Bidens.” This statement can only be interpreted as an invitation to a foreign country to corrupt our future election.
When asked on national television about his request to Zelenwsky, Trump replied, “I did it.”Again, we all heard Trump’s own words confirming his actions.
Regardless of arguments from both parties, the sentence, “I would like you to do us a favor though,” followed by requests for information about Ukrainian involvement in 2016 along with investigations of Joe Biden, a possible opponent in the 2020 election, provides only two choices:
We can ignore Trump’s statements, continue investigations of investigations, argue about procedures and hope for the best in 2020.
We can do everything possible to uphold the integrity of our constitution by removing threats to our future elections.
A political analyst, Anthony Zurcher, claims that for all who believe asking a foreign government to investigate a political rival warrants an impeachment there can only be one course of action. Seeking an impeachment then becomes a test of our integrity and courage. Finally, we conclude with additional words from Ellen Weintraub.
“Electoral intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginnings of our nation. Our Founding Fathers sounded the alarm about ‘foreign Interference, Intrigue, and Influence.’ They knew that when foreign governments seek to influence American politics, it is always to advance their own interests, not America’s. Anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance risks being on the wrong end of a federal investigation.”
Blake, Aaron. “7 Takeaways from the Rough Transcript of Trump ‘s Call with Ukraine’s President.” Politics. September, 25, 2919.
Bertrand, Natisha. “Senate Panel Look Into Ukraine Interference Comes Up Short.” Politico. December 2, 2019.
Collins, Eliza. “Yes, 17 Intelligence Agencies Really Did Say Russia Was behind Hacking.” USA Today. December 16, 2016.
Stevenson, Chris. “I would Like You to Do Us a Favour Thought: The One Sentence that Could Bring Trump Down.” News-World-Americas-US Politics. Wednesday, September 25, 2019.
“Trump Urges China to Investigate Bidens.” BBC News. October 2019.
Weintraub, Ellen, Chair of Federal Election Commission. “I Would Not Have Thought That I Needed to Say This.” June 13, 2019.