BY CONGRESSWOMAN FREDERICA S. WILSON (D-FLA.)
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – It’s an historic week on Capitol Hill during which hearings on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump will move from behind closed doors to must-see TV.
Millions of Americans who have not had the time or a desire to read the more than 2,000 pages of testimony from the confidential briefings released by the House Intelligence Committee will finally get to see what the fuss has been all about.
So, what is it all about, why the initial closed-door depositions, and why should you care?
President Trump is being accused of urging Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in a telephone conversation to investigate alleged corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, and to also look into debunked conspiracy theories that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election, both for his own political benefit. To gain leverage against Zelensky, Trump for a time withheld a $391 million aid package to push the foreign leader to do his bidding.
This gross abuse of power, which put at risk Ukrainian lives and our own national security, was first brought to light by a whistleblower whose initial allegations have since been corroborated by an unimpeachable group of high-level State Department officials who have devoted their careers to public service and American democracy. More important, they have first-hand knowledge of the shakedown.
This next phase comes after weeks of false accusations by GOP lawmakers that they were being squeezed out of a fact-finding process that they also claimed lacked transparency. The witnesses’ initial testimonies were delivered in a secure, confidential setting to prevent them from comparing notes and preserve the integrity of their depositions.
Now the public will have an opportunity to hear from them directly and make their own decisions about their credibility.
Republicans have for weeks complained about the process but have had little to say about the actual substance of the inquiry because of unassailable facts.
· Fact one: President Trump asked a foreign government to dig up dirt on the Bidens, who are American citizens, in exchange for money that Congress had already appropriated for Ukraine to defend itself against Russia.
· Fact two: He admitted on national television that he and Zelensky had discussed the Bidens.
· Fact three: During a White House briefing, Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, acknowledged on national television that the aid had been withheld in part until Ukraine investigated the theory that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the Democratic Party emails in 2016. “And that is absolutely appropriate,” Mulvaney said.
Don’t believe the hype. It is not only not appropriate; it’s extortion.
Like every member of Congress, Trump has taken an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Yet since day one in office he has broken that promise. He has in fact made more than 13,000 false or misleading claims—from the mundane, such as the size of his inauguration day crowd, to the insane, like the one about former President Barack Obama initiating the policy of separating children from their families at the border. He has even lied about me.
The president has little to no respect for the rule of law nor any for those who do. Indeed, he believes he is above the law, which to our nation’s detriment, his Republican allies reinforce daily.
Former national security advisor John Bolton has likened the pact Trump tried to make with Zelensky to a “drug deal” and it has been deeply dismaying to witness Republican lawmakers figuratively contort themselves in an effort to sell it to the American public. Clearly, they all stepped away for popcorn during that infamous scene in the movie Scarface, when Tony Montana was advised to “never get high on your own supply.” The trope is not exclusive to drug dealing and Republicans on Capitol Hill have clearly entered an alternate reality.
Donald Trump is set to become the third president in our nation’s history to be impeached by the House. It may not immediately push him out of office, but it hopefully will yank him and his allies back into the real world where no one is above the law and drive home a lesson at the polls that there’s a price to pay for those who believe that they are. A blue wave in 2020 could make the one in 2018 seem more like a ripple.