Dondero: For election interference, Trump must be impeached
I have gone back and forth whether President Donald Trump should formally be impeached, or should the U.S. House of Representatives just file the results of its impeachment inquiry — letting the voters be the ultimate jury in 2020.
Given Trump's documented attempts to get Ukraine and now China to interfere in the 2020 election, we can't allow Trump to run the table on this process. He must be held accountable for his "high crimes and misdemeanors" now.
Trump asking allies to get dirt on Joe Biden, mounting evidence of an Oval Office cover-up of the two whistleblower reports and the Trump legal team refusing to cooperate with the House investigation, a clear obstruction of justice, makes filing articles of impeachment the right thing to do.
Let's be clear about what Trump is up to. He's solicited the help of foreign governments to interfere in a presidential election — this is illegal, it's unethical and it's an impeachable act. And he's done this in public view, not once but three times.
Trump's brazenness, desperation and autocratic temperament are showing. Recent polls indicate an increasing majority of Americans support an impeachment inquiry. Maybe that's why Trump is so manic with his constant tweets and rambling White House lawn rants.
But there might be another method to Trump's madness. Beating on Biden is a way to get the Democrats to nominate somebody Trump Inc. think they can beat, such as Elizabeth Warren, whom Trump dubs "Pocahontas."
Are they trawling the old Richard Nixon 1972 playbook — lies against frontrunner Ed Muskie, which resulted in George McGovern getting the nomination and Nixon winning by an historic landslide only two years later, unraveling in Watergate and resignation?
This cynical strategy might be working. For the first time in national polls, Warren is No. 1 and Biden a close No. 2. But "all politics is local" — state-by-state caucuses and primaries — and we're a long way from the starting line.
Polls show support for an impeachment inquiry — with partisan voters bunkered into their political silos. Trump knows this. He keeps putting fuel on the fire. So how do you stop a serial liar?
When Trump famously said in the 2016 campaign he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue in New York City, we all thought this was a sick joke. Not anymore. Trump has no boundaries when it comes to keeping power — he'll do and say anything, which is why he must be impeached.
As the House moves ahead with its impeachment "inquiry," there will come a point of no return — either vote to impeach, or just file a report. The latter option, while pragmatic, would be a dereliction of congressional duty, given the serious charges and evidence growing daily to support impeachment.
GOP talking points meant to confuse voters are that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi et al. need to vote for the "inquiry" before moving ahead with an impeachment investigation and hearings. There is no such requirement in the Constitution.
Impeachment is an indictment of charges, not a jury trial. It is the documenting of presumed crimes to take to a jury — in this case, the Senate. If the House were to take a vote on impeachment inquiry first, then the White House would demand the right to know the accusers, in this case the two whistleblowers.
This would allow Trump Inc. to turn the process into a three-ring circus, much as happened in the Clinton impeachment process. It would also have a chilling effect on not only these whistleblowers, but any future ones down the road. This is not a precedent we want to set.
Let's be clear — the House has all the evidence it needs from Trump's phone call with the leader of the Ukraine. We all have had time to read it and digest it. He has impeached himself. Case closed.
Another argument is that impeachment fever on the Hill is stopping the work of the House. Not true. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has many bills on his plate passed by the House, which he simply refuses to bring for a vote. It's obstruction from "Moscow Mitch," pure and simple.
Dems in the House — move ahead with articles of impeachment.
Yes, the Senate Republicans will not convict Trump, given their slavish loyalty to him. Let them go into 2020 with this scarlet letter on their chests. This is not a time for pragmatism, but for moral clarity.
Trump's strategy is clear — keep asking for foreign help in his campaign despite its clearly impeachable context. President "Chaos" wants to turn a lie into a big lie. His calculation is that the more his soundbites dominate social media and the news, he wins.
When will his constant whining create voter fatigue and sheer disgust with such transparent pandering to his base? It's again proof that he's lost the moral authority to govern. It's time to take him to the woodshed.
Once a bully, always a bully, and sadly, this one has the bully pulpit of the presidency — which is why he must be impeached, Moscow Mitch and the Senate Republicans be damned.
Enough is enough!
Russ Dondero is a Forest Grove resident.
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