On Impeachment, Who are the Partisans and Who the Patriots?

In Congress, the Democrats and the Republicans are accusing each other of acting — in this impeachment process — out of partisan interest, contrary to the good of the nation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared the impeachment of Donald Trump the act of a “faction” driven by “partisan rage.” Trump declares “I DID NOTHING WRONG!”

The Democrats declare the opposite, and represent themselves as fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities. Congressional Democrats declare that Trump has acted in a lawless way that requires them – to fulfill their oath of office to protect our constitutional order – to impeach and seek to do all they can to take the powers of the presidency away from Trump.

Many Americans don’t know whom to believe, don’t know who are the partisans here and who the patriots.

The Best Available Testimony

Fortunately, there’s evidence right at hand indicating the answer. That evidence consists of a set of remarkable, unprecedented letters that have been issued from those several professions best able to judge the issues surrounding impeachment. These professions include American historians, legal scholars, former national security officials, and former officials who served in the U.S. Department of Justice.

These letters – written as messages to the American people — have been signed by many hundreds of these professionals, including both Democrats and Republicans. Their testimony is the most credible available to America, for it is both best informed and least partisan.

  • Best informed because they understand the issues most deeply.
  • Least partisan because they speak to the nation as professionals serving the values of their professions more than any partisan political interest.

(And make no mistake, these professions – and the people trained in their values — are part of America’s true greatness.)

These letters clearly must be seen as (essentially) the work of patriots coming forward to serve the nation, using their deep expertise on the relevant issues to illuminate this fraught moment for the American people. We should rely on that testimony, because it is the clearest available indication of what is the patriotic, non-partisan view of this impeachment issue.

So what do these letters say?

The Answer is Unambiguous

Lo and behold, virtually all of what this extraordinary numbers of professionals have signed on to tell their fellow Americans is supportive of what the Democrats have been saying and doing. And virtually all of it puts the Republicans’ conduct and statements in the harshest of lights.

What all of them say – in one way or another – is that Trump has indeed committed serious impeachable offenses.

  • More than 700 historians published a letter urging that President Trump be impeached for repeated actions that “manifest utter and deliberate scorn for the rule of law and ‘repeated injuries’ to constitutional democracy” – representing a “clear and present danger to the Constitution.” (Hardly “NOTHING WRONG.”)
  • More than 500 legal scholars and professors of law published a letter declaring that Trump had engaged in impeachable conduct, and that “if the House of Representatives impeached the President …and the Senate removed him, they would be acting well within their constitutional powers.” (Hardly the “sham,” or ”hoax” the Republicans constantly accuse the impeachment of being.)
  • More than 300 former national security officials published a letter to inform the American people that Trump’s dealings with the Ukrainian government – which showed his “effort to subordinate American national interest … to the President’s personal political interest” — constituted “an unconscionable abuse of power.”
  • And, in the first such “voice of the profession” letter published soon after the release of the Mueller Report, more than 1000 (!) former Justice Department officials – of both parties — declared to the nation that the Report shows that Trump so clearly committed “multiple felonies” of “obstruction of justice” that if he were any other American but the President (who can be “indicted” only by impeachment by the Congress), he would be in the dock.

All point to Presidential wrong-doing that fully justifies the impeachment the Democrats have launched.

We can further infer that these professionals regard impeachment as not just justified, but even necessary. Their writing such letters to the nation is virtually unprecedented in American history. Clearly, only if they regarded Trump’s wrong-doing as posing a serious threat to the nation would all these members of their professions have been moved to come together to send such extraordinary messages to the American people.

These letters say nothing about either political party, but their testimony nonetheless exposes that it is the Republicans in Congress who are acting for purely partisan purposes. Even at the violation of their oath of office.

Never in American history has putting partisan advantage ahead of the needs of the nation been so gross a betrayal as at this moment of historic showdown to decide whether America will preserve our constitutional order or slide toward tyranny.

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