By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders
So it’s come down to this… after all the time spent in investigations and hearings and the mountain of evidence documenting Donald Trump’s wrongdoings to benefit himself while undermining American interests, the Trump defense against the impeachment charges is that the president can do anything he wants so long as he is not accused of breaking a specific law.
But his lawyers go even further asserting that even if the president does break the law, he may not be prosecuted while serving as president. Game, set, match.
And if there may be a crime, the president can refuse, with impunity, to hand over documents and can forbid witnesses from testifying who may have first-hand knowledge of the president’s actions.
Furthermore, the Republican majority in the Senate who are running this trial do not wish to be confused with the facts, or even know the facts. So they are doing their damndest to forbid witnesses or requests for withheld documents from the president. It is unclear whether Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who says he wants to offer important information, will be allowed to testify. Why the hell not? It’s not that hard to figure out.
But the truth has a way of trickling out. And it seems that the more emails, and other first-hand accounts of the president’s behavior that has been surfacing, the faster they want to end the trial.
The rumble that you may be feeling beneath your feet is that of the framers of our Constitution rolling over in their graves.
When the Senate Republicans vote to acquit Donald Trump of the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in a few days, they will be validating Trump’s every action, his every lie and every refusal to turn over critical information requested by Congress. So much for co-equal branches of government. So much for transparency. Good bye to meaningful oversight of the Executive branch of government.
They will be shredding the principle of checks and balance and replacing it with a blank check for this President and his every successor to behave like a king and not a president. Tears would be shed on Mount Rushmore.
Even sixth graders know that the American Revolution was about resisting the unilateral actions of the King of England who lorded his power over the 13 colonies. Our Constitution created a presidency which was intended to “faithfully execute the laws” passed by Congress. This president in fact has repeatedly refused to follow well established convention or even the laws passed by Congress. He has used his position to primarily serve his personal or political interests.
He has made a mockery of the presidential oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.” That fact is beyond dispute. His defenders merely say his actions to extort a foreign government in order to aid his political prospects are not grounds for removal from office. If not, what is?
And thus we have come full circle. The candidate for president who in 2016 boasted that he could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight” and not lose his supporters has proven his point. And if we the voters in the 2020 Presidential Election do not rise up and do what the Senate refuses to do, then in the words of Shakespeare from his master work Julius Caesar, “the fault is not in our stars but in ourselves.”