Updated: Jan 5, 2021
September 27, 2019
This week represents a critical inflection point of a months long strategy by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats to allow Donald Trump to effectively “self-impeach.”
Over time, Trump became increasingly emboldened, convinced that his loyalists would protect him from all accountability, but also increasingly anxious about the 2020 elections. This dangerous combination predictably led him to take risks that will now be his undoing. This week, the news of the whistleblower complaint implicating the President led seven moderate House Democrats who recently flipped seats in historically red districts to come out publicly in favor of impeachment. This was the signal Pelosi was waiting for—an indicator that pursuing impeachment would not jeopardize maintaining the House majority.
Wednesday, Speaker Pelosi announced that the House is launching a formal impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. The timing coincides with evolving public sentiment, which has slowly been shifting in favor of impeachment. A recent poll indicates a majority of Americans—53%—support an impeachment inquiry.
The White House’s own sanitized account of the July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky is damning on its own, but the publication of the whistleblower report puts the President’s actions is stark relief. There is no getting around it—Trump attempted to rig the presidential election.
Trump clearly used the office of the presidency for personal gain when he pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his family. It’s also clear that Trump and his aides engaged in a cover-up when they deviated from normal record keeping procedures regarding the phone call. Both acts are flagrant abuses of power, and are sufficient basis for Trump to be impeached and convicted. Evidence of quid pro quo is not necessary to justify impeachment.
However, a strong case can be made that there actually was quid pro quo. The Ukrainian president knew that the $400 million in military aid had been held up by Trump leading up to the phone call. He also knew that Trump wanted him to “play ball.” He had to understand that playing ball meant doing Trump a “favor” in order for the military aid to be released, and that not playing ball would mean no military aid. Further investigation by Congress will likely prove it.
This is no time for partisan politics. Abuse of power is anti-democratic & un-American. The president’s wrongdoing is clear. Every member of Congress must put country over party and do their duty to uphold the Constitution.
“The times have found us.” And the American people are watching.