The Senate trial to impeach President Trump is underway this week, and I believe that this particular impeachment is a real test of our Democracy that we could actually fail.
Washington D.C – The articles of impeachment are specific to a single time period last year (July-Sep 2019), but what is most disconcerting is that from the time he assumed office, President Trump has attacked the very institutions that keep the government honest: The Intelligence agencies and the Press.
I have spent hours listening to both the House and Senate proceedings. House “managers” (representatives selected to present the case for impeachment) have laid out a meticulous narrative to support the two articles of impeachment before the Senate: 1) Abuse of Power, 2) Obstruction of Congress.
They have provided witness testimony from House proceedings, video clips of public statements, and text message exchanges released under the Freedom of Information Act to show that President Trump asked a foreign nation (Ukraine) to investigate his political opponent (Joe Biden). He then unilaterally withheld military aid, which had been approved by Congress, as a form of quid pro quo for the investigation into the Bidens.
In fact, a nonpartisan government watchdog organization (GAO) has determined the withholding of aid by Trump was illegal. Within the story are sub-plots of former NY city mayor and personal lawyer to the president, Rudy Guliani, working with agents to “get rid of” (Trump’s words in a recently released tape) the US Ambassador to Ukraine because she would not support the efforts to tarnish the Bidens.
Furthermore, the President ordered his current and former staff to not provide testimony or documents during the proceedings, claiming Executive privilege, which underlies the Obstruction of Congress article.
This week, the president’s lawyers will present his case. They are poised to declare that the Democrats are trying to overturn the election, and the president did nothing wrong. They will claim that former Vice-President Joe Biden and his son Hunter were involved in corruption because he sat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company from 2014-2019.
Furthermore, then-Vice President Biden was promoting his son’s career, and so the President was within his rights to ask for an investigation into the Bidens.
Moreover, the withholding of aid was to verify there was no corruption. Although as part of the aid distribution, the Defense Department had already verified Ukraine’s compliance with anti-corruption requirements. These are the arguments prefaced by Republicans over the past several months.
In fact, the Republican senators are unwavering in their support of this president, and it looks like the Senate decision will be split down party lines with all 53 Republican senators voting against impeachment.
The bigger story goes back to 2016 when there are indications that Russia cultivated President Trump to become an agent for Russia to target the structural foundation of our democracy—the balance of powers. In 2016, the US Intelligence community (CIA, NSA, DIA, FBI and 14 others) determined that Russia was interfering in US elections.
In fact, President Obama warned the Russians to stop, sent home 35 diplomats, and sanctioned individual Russians for “malicious cyber-enabled activities” that ultimately supported the election of Donald Trump and smeared the campaign of Hillary Clinton by disinformation.
This was an attack executed in our own homes on our own computers through social media and false internet sites. President Trump publicly asked the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails in July of 2016, and so they did.
The Mueller investigation determined that a specific operation by the Russian Intelligence directorate hacked Clinton’s personal server and the Democratic National Committee accounts and later published emails from them. The Mueller investigation found that Trump and his officials had over 130 contacts with Russian nationals over the period of his campaign and election.
Several of these officials (at least 8) have been convicted and are serving sentences for lying to investigators about their involvement with Russia, among other crimes.
Trump was not found to have “conspired” with the Russian interference, but he was found to have obstructed the investigation. He was not charged because Mr. Mueller determined a sitting president could not be indicted.
When Trump was elected, he began a campaign to discredit the Intelligence agencies and the Press that published about Russian influence on his administration.
He consistently sided with Russia over his Intelligence community, stating in a Press Conference in Helsinki in 2018 that Putin said it wasn’t Russia, and “I don’t see any reason why it would be.” He berates the Press when they ask probing questions, calling any outlet besides Fox News fake news. He uses twitter to publish personal attacks on anyone who disagrees with him.
He stopped White House press briefings completely. His campaign against free and open press has successfully made citizens doubt everything they read and to claim something is fake news if they don’t like it.
The unquestioning Republican support for this president merits a separate article that would investigate Russian financial support to the Party. In other words, follow the money. But that investigation is not necessary to see that this President has become a danger to our democracy.
We can no longer have confidence that the system will right itself. This president, whether maliciously or by complete self-interest, has upset the balance of powers.
He has allowed and encouraged foreign interference in our elections. He has made the Republican Congressman pick sides or be isolated and eventually ineffective. He has stacked the Supreme Court with his picks and is also changing the complexion of federal courts with his lifetime picks.
His words and actions have fostered an environment where people openly hate those who are different—ethnically, physically, sexually, and mentally. He has promoted hatred, and made polite discourse a weakness.
Make no mistake, this presidency was brought about by a targeted Russian attack on our democracy. The Russians got Trump elected for a reason. He is their pawn. This impeachment process is a testimony to the strength of our republic. But don’t be fooled. The Russians won the first round.
They have made us question our resolve. They have moved the ball so cunningly that next time, we will accept that the ball was always in this spot. We will believe that our fellow citizens are out to get us, not to be trusted. We will accept that we can’t believe CNN, or NBC, or the Washington Post or New York Times, or even Fox News, so distrust them all.
Their ultimate goal is that the citizens distrust everyone, while the President pulls the strength of our three coequal branches out from under us. And that my friends, is called dictatorship. Impeachment and removal of President Trump is the surest way to win the next round.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial views.
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Jackie Mccarthy is a retired Lieutenant Colonel, USAF. Mccarthy worked as a government contractor for 7 years. She was the Air Attache to Qatar in the US Embassy Doha, and afterward became an instructor for military officers assigned to diplomatic posts worldwide.