Impeachment of a president is a question of enormous magnitude, not to be undertaken lightly. Under our Constitution, it is an essential tool to check abuse of presidential authority and ensure one-person rule does not replace our system of checks and balances. Our founders did not intend for anyone to be above the law — certainly not the executive wielding the greatest power.
In late May 2019, I called for an inquiry to determine whether President Trump had committed impeachable offenses in his reaction to the Mueller report. He insisted that, while president, he could neither be investigated nor prosecuted, that he is empowered to ignore Congress and declared the Constitution allows him to do “whatever” he wants. Beyond shattering norms, Trump seems intent on breaking the law many days; on others, he tries to break us with hate speech.
This inquiry then reached a more ominous level. Trump attempted to shake down the president of Ukraine — a country under dire Russian threat and partial occupation. He did so in a call shortly after inexplicably suspending about $400 million in military assistance.
In response to the Ukrainian president’s interest in acquiring additional U.S. weapons, Trump replied: “I would like you to do us a favor, though.” He wielded the full force of the presidency not to protect America, solely to advance himself. Compromising the integrity of our elections and our national security for personal gain represents betrayal of his oath of office.
Our reaction to this lawless president sets the precedent for any president, of either party, who threatens our democracy. We acted because of the danger from one who has lied so much that, perhaps, he cannot distinguish right from wrong.