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Impeachment redux


It seems increasingly likely that Trump was briefed on, and failed to respond to, Putin offering a bounty for killing American soldiers in Afghanistan. Even in an administration that brazenly discards norms and consistently lowers the bar, this shocks the conscience and must not go unaddressed. The House of Representatives needs to begin hearings in aid of impeachment.

Some will say that such hearings would be a futile exercise. They will predict — probably correctly — that even if the House votes to impeach, the GOP Senate will never vote to convict. After four years of embracing our errant president ever more tightly, Republicans aren’t likely to spurn him now.

Others will argue that the general election is just four short months away and that the people can vote to remove him then. That point, too, has merit.

But here’s the thing. If we do not immediately act to remove Trump from office, how do we explain our inaction to the brave and patriotic soldiers serving abroad? How do we justify making them wait until January to have an engaged and loyal commander-in-chief? How many more Putin-sponsored body bags will be met by grieving families? How many more bounties will be paid?

As my friend and former Idaho state representative Gino White predicts, “History will judge Trump harshly, which will lead to the question of ‘what did the opposition party do?’” Gino rightly suggests that the answer should be “everything we could.”

The hearings would not need to be long and drawn out. If Trump was briefed about this travesty and did nothing, the proof should be easily obtained and presented. Moreover, under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, no person who has sworn an oath to support the Constitution, who has later gone to war against the United States, or given aid and comfort to the nation’s enemies can serve in a state or federal office.

Trump took such an oath and it would seem a small matter to adduce evidence that, even after being briefed on Russia’s machinations, Trump actually rewarded Russia by inviting Putin to visit the White House, by pulling American Troops from Germany, and – most incredibly – by pushing for Russia’s inclusion in the G-7. The U.S. may not be at war with Russia, but Russia is most certainly our enemy. Trump’s actions, in the face of Putin’s treachery, gave Russia aid and comfort and should disqualify Trump from serving in federal office.

Once again House Democrats are called upon to lead by example. Unlike Trump and his Republican cohort, they should do the right thing without hesitation. They must investigate promptly and, if the facts warrant impeachment, proceed to schedule that vote. If Republican senators choose to nail themselves to the mast of the sinking S.S. Trump, so be it; they will have the distinction of going down with the first American president to be impeached twice.

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