Make America Great Again: Defend the rule of law. | Moran

Posted Nov 12, 2019

As the public stage of impeachment hearings open, the country is split down the middle, each side glaring across the divide with contempt, wondering how these wounds might ever heal.

The breakdown has left us paralyzed, unable to answer big challenges like climate change and immigration, or even to build a new tunnel under the Hudson River that is obviously and urgently needed. A great nation has been humbled by its own divisions, as the 2020 campaign promises to inflame them over the next year.

To supporters of President Trump, and to a handful of conservative Democrats like Rep. Jeff Van Drew, that offers good reason to cancel the impeachment hearings and leave Trump’s fate up to voters next November. “I think we want to heal the country, and try to bring it together,” says Van Drew (D-1st).

Cancelling these hearings would not unite the country, though. It would just inflame the other half. The divisions would be just as deep, the paralysis just as stubborn.

What really holds this nation together? It’s not religion, or race, or ethnicity, as in many countries. Americans have always been split into 100 pieces by those measures.

What holds us together, in the long run, is the rule of law. That’s how we resolve our differences without violence. It’s how we make common cause. It’s how we protect our freedoms. At our best, we are a nation that plays by the rules.

The question at these hearings is a simple one: Did President Trump break the rules? Did he abuse the powers of his office in an attempt to tilt the 2020 election in his favor?

We will learn more in coming weeks, but already the evidence is overwhelming and redundant.

It is illegal to ask foreigners for help in an election, for good reason. It would give every nation on earth incentive to meddle, in hopes of winning influence. Aside from skewing the results, it would signal to countries like Iran and China that they could win influence by digging up dirt on one side or the other.

If Trump is guilty of that, he deserves to be impeached and removed from office. And that’s where the evidence points, so far.

The transcript of Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president shows him explicitly asking for an investigation into Joe Biden, and into a bizarre and discredited conspiracy theory that the sabotage of our 2016 election came from Ukraine, not Russia.

Several senior diplomats have testified that aid to Ukraine was withheld as pressure, and that this campaign lasted for months. We will be hearing from them all soon.

It is disappointing, if not surprising, that Republicans are treating this as just another partisan brawl, as Trump demands. They have impugned the integrity of the whistleblower and the diplomats who testified about this scheme, all of whom have served the country for many years with distinction.

Their witness list includes no one in a position to confirm or deny any of the testimony on Trump’s behavior. They are attacking the process without good reason, trying to capitalize on the cynicism of our age.

Their witness list does include Hunter Biden, who profited on his family name by accepting a board seat on a Ukrainian energy company while his father was point man on Ukraine policy for the Obama administration.

That’s a sleazy move, on the part of both Bidens. But Hunter Biden knows nothing about Trump’s behavior, the issue before the committee. Calling him to testify is the kind of partisan stunt we didn’t see from Republicans during the Watergate hearings.

Conventional wisdom has it that the House will impeach, and the Senate will acquit. To some, that makes this exercise pointless.

But voters have a right to know whether their president sabotaged our democracy and undermined Ukraine, a vulnerable ally, as it fought off Vladimir Putin’s aggressions.

And while conviction in the Senate is unlikely, since it requires a two-thirds vote, a majority of the Senate may vote to convict, which would undercut the claim of exoneration we can expect from Trump. That would be a serious political blow, and would signal to foreign powers, and future presidents, that this behavior crosses a red line.

A recent CBS poll found that while the nation is evenly split, 27 percent have not decided whether Trump’s behavior merits impeachment. Here’s hoping they look past the partisan games and focus on defending the rule of law.

Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment