Trump impeachment is a monumental victory against blatant corruption and for democracy
The House impeachment vote embalms only a sliver of Trump’s corruption for history. But it has marked his presidency with the stain it deserves.
Jason SattlerOpinion columnist
We’ve finally impeached the most obviously corrupt president in U.S. history. I’d say, “Take a bow,” but Republican members of Congress have done enough bowing for all of us.
What did it take to get us to this point? Just the most blatant abuse of power by a president in American history.
Recall how all of this started: “In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. government officials that the president of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,” an anonymous whistleblower wrote in a complaint released on Sept. 26.
Nearly every significant assertion in that complaint has since been confirmed — and confirmed by members of the Trump administration, officials who are either avowed nonpartisans or have been Republicans longer than this president.
Republican impeachment myths
In the upside-down world that Donald Trump and his merry band of cable TV-suckled collaborators have created, this impeachment was inevitable not because of what the whistleblower uncovered, but because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi swore a blood oath to George Soros that Democrats would impeach Trump from the moment he took office.
If only that were true.
Trump has been violating his oath of office from the moment he swore to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States” and “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” And it’s not just his unprecedented refusal to acknowledge the existence of the emoluments clause or his relentless assault on the truth and the Constitution. His efforts to sabotage investigations into the most successful attack on our elections by a foreign adversary, and the multiple felonies committed by members of his campaign, began in the first weeks of his term, if not the first days.
Instead of taking their oversight of Trump seriously, House Republicans immediately became his eager co-conspirators. When House Democrats took power this year, they passed hundreds of bills before they would even entertain the possibility of calling for this president’s removal.
Impeachment supporters rally on Capitol Hill on Dec. 18, 2019.
Of course, this impeachment isn’t nearly enough.
The charges the House passed merely embalm a sliver of Trump’s corruption for history. Mass obstruction of Congress continues, along with Rudy Giuliani’s mysteriously funded campaign to urge, if not extort, foreign interference in our elections on Trump’s behalf. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went on Fox News to insist that the Senate trial will be rigged for Trump’s pleasure.
So why the rush to get these charges to the Senate and exhaust the one check on the president that Democrats have? Because Pelosi would rather be doing anything than impeaching Trump.
Impeachment bonus: Pelosi reclaims the Constitution for liberals and today’s America
“We fought with her office for over two years on impeachment,” Steve Rapport, an activist who organizes with Indivisible SF and MoveOn in Pelosi’s California district, told me. Rapport and his fellow activists argued that Congress had a duty to impeach over various high crimes. But until the whistleblower’s complaint came out, he felt they were just “being patronized” by the speaker’s staff.
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Now, Rapport feels vindicated: “I’m happy to see that many Democrats have finally chosen to honor their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution, even though the Republicans won’t.”
The permanent stain Trump deserves
The House has marked Trump’s presidency with the permanent stain it deserves. This necessary step is the only tool the Founders gave us to charge a chief executive who would use his office to deny Americans the ability to pick his replacement. And it’s a tribute to the activists and voters who made it possible — along with the House members who’ve been told they’re risking their careers with this vote.
If you don’t think Trump’s impeachment is a monumental victory for anyone who cares about democracy, consider what it would mean if he were not impeached.
Extinguishing truth:Republican impeachment lies are protecting Trump, but they could destroy America
It would mean that we have surrendered to the depravity of a man who doesn’t even think we have the right to know who pays him. It would mean that we agree that any corrupt president backed by an equally corrupt party could commit any crime he or she can imagine. It would mean we’re volunteering for the end of free and fair elections and spending the rest of our lives with a president named Trump.
A speedy acquittal by jury of the president’s Republican accomplices in the Senate is all but guaranteed. But those of us who have been calling for justice, and went out on the streets Tuesday night to demand it, got America to this point.
We have to believe that it’s still worth fighting to make sure our representatives follow the Constitution. The democracy we save may be our own.