John Colson: Impeachment needed to preserve our union
Hit & Run
As the Congressional impeachment inquiry into the actions of President Donald J. Trump goes on and on, the details emerging from the process are overwhelming, to be sure. But there appear to be several crucial pillars on which Trump’s apologists have built their arguments.
One is the question: Why should we worry about something that happens in a former Russian puppet state? It’s got nothing to do with us.
I actually heard some guy in Michigan say this a little while ago, during a piece on National Public Radio, and it made me flinch. Yep, physically flinch at the utter imbecility of that remark.
For the record, we’re discussing Trump’s effort over the past year to use nearly $400 million in military aid, as well as a coveted White House meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Trump, in an extortion scheme to get Ukraine to besmirch the public image of former Vice President Joe Biden, one of Trump’s biggest political rivals in the 2020 election. This extortion attempt, which is still ongoing, is based on debunked conspiracy theories involving Biden’s son, Hunter, and Hunter’s seat on the board of Bursima Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company.
Another pillar of Trumpian support is the matter of a supposed secret internet server under Ukrainian control that somehow interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, also debunked by earlier intelligence investigations and not supported by one shred of evidence from the Trump administration.
Previous probes into these matters have found nothing criminal about Hunter Biden’s position or actions, though some have expressed concerns about the “appearance” of a possible conflict of interest with regard to the senior Biden’s job as vice president.
I have to point out that Trump’s own son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been roaming around the globe in the president’s name for three years, making lucrative business deals as well as posing as a diplomat despite having no credentials or training for diplomacy. No one in the Trump administration or in Congress has objected to that arrangement, which certainly seems to imply a double standard somewhere.
As for the mysterious server in the Ukraine, it clearly does not exist, or Trump and his crowd would be crowing to the heavens and beating Democrats about their collective heads with the server’s hardware.
And as has been pointed out in the hearings about impeachment, the Republican Party controlled both houses of Congress for two years of the Trump disaster … er, presidency, which should have given them plenty of time to dig up this mythical server, evidence of Biden misbehavior, and other aspects of Trump’s fantasies.
But the real reason we should be worried is that Trump was trying to get a foreign government to interfere in our election in a way that Trump seems to think he could not possibly achieve using his domestic political machinery, or in fact any domestic agents other than perhaps his own personal attorney.
Oh, wait, he’s also been sending Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, over there over a course of months, so that’s covered. In fact, Giuliani has been over in Ukraine even as the impeachment hearings have moved forward, and news stories have accused the former New York City mayor of continuing to push Trump’s crazed conspiracy theories and to pressure Ukrainian officials to announce investigations into the Bidens.
Before we get too deeply into the weeds here, I must remind you, dear reader, that what is at stake in this sordid saga is our right to vote in free and unfettered elections here in the U.S.A.
I also must point out that Trump, in leaning on a fragile regime with a newly elected and relatively untried president, was doing what he loves to do — be a bully on the playground of international affairs.
And Zelensky, who is terribly new on the job, deeply fears losing U.S. backing in Ukraine’s 5-year war with Russia.
This fear of abandonment applies whether we’re speaking of the $391 million in military aid that was approved by Congress in early 2019 but withheld by Trump as he put the screws to Zelensky in a now-infamous July 25 phone call and by other means.
Zelensky’s fear also applies to Trump’s effort to dangle an Oval Office meeting as yet another enticement to get Zelensky to announce (but not necessarily conduct) investigations into the Bidens/Bursima/mystery server. Zelensky needs Trump in his corner, and he certainly knows it.
But, all of this intrigue aside, what really matters here is that our president was trying to subvert the most precious aspect of our democratic-republican form of government — the right to have your vote counted in a free and unfettered election.
By bringing a foreign power into the 2020 campaign, Trump is signaling not only that he has no faith in our country’s most basic rights and principles, but that he is perfectly willing to enlist foreign partners who face no accountability for corrupt practices, and whose own interests likely are far different from those of the American electorate. It worked in 2016 and made Trump an illegitimate president, and he’s hoping it will work again in 2020.
As I have argued before, I believe Trump and his minions are doing everything they can to weaken the very government they are supposed to be serving. The reasons for this may have something to do with corporate malfeasance on the part of U.S. business interests hoping to get the government off their backs, or may sprout from some unhealthy business relationships between Trump and the Russian oligarchs who have bailed Trump out of bankruptcy so many times.
But whatever the reasons, we cannot simply sit by and wait to see if Trump is successful in rigging next year’s election in his own favor.
That is why impeachment is needed, now or never.
And that is why we all need to exercise our franchise to vote in the 2020 elections, and in every election after that, in order to preserve our imperfect union.
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We say it like it happens easily and frequently, but time together spent focusing on the people we are with and they on us is rare and cannot occur by effort expended trying to achieve it, writes columnist Roger Marolt.