Please call for an impeachment inquiry, Congressman Walden

Also published in the Hood River News (Another Voice, June 8, 2019). See Disclaimer.

Dear Congressman Walden:

As your constituent, I ask that you call for an impeachment inquiry on President Trump.

I don’t make this request lightly. I have long considered Mr. Trump a uniquely unfit President. But Presidents should ideally, in a democratic republic, be removed through the will of the voters.

There is no partisan bias in my request. I am a non-affiliated voter, and have a strong preference for a multi-partisan system, rather than alternance of power between Republicans and Democrats.

There is also no political expediency in my request. In fact, I understand the caution and acumen of Speaker Pelosi in resisting increasing calls for impeachment from her Democratic colleagues. Her instinct might well be right that Mr. Trump will be more easily defeated in 2020 should his unfitness be exposed by multiple Congressional investigations, rather than a single impeachment inquiry with little hope for a follow-up guilty verdict in the Senate.

My request is based solely on national security and moral grounds.

Mr. Mueller’s verbal summary of his investigation makes it clear (as did the redacted report itself) that there was Russian interference on the 2016 elections, in favor of Mr. Trump. Mr. Mueller did not establish criminal intent from the Trump campaign. But that, in most ways, is no longer relevant.

From a national security perspective, what is most relevant now is that the US President refuses to address, or (aside from involuntary slips) even recognize that the essence of our democratic republic was, and continues to be undermined by a foreign foe. That attitude means that this nation is approaching another major election without a Federal government fully committed to an unadulterated expression of America’s will.

In fact, by demonstrably obstructing (whether or not with criminal intent) Mr. Mueller’s investigation, and by undermining the assessments of our intelligence agencies, Mr. Trump is actively aiding a foreign foe to continue to interfere with our elections, and thus threatening our national sovereignty.

How can we have democracy with external influence on our elections? Does this not concern you deeply? In fact, does this not raise to the level of alleged “high crimes and misdemeanors” that should trigger an impeachment or (as currently preferred by Speaker Pelosi) other Congressional inquiries?

Still, an impeachment inquiry launched with only (or primary) Democratic backing would be highly polarizing. An impeachment vote along (primarily) partisan lines would almost certainly follow, triggering further divisiveness. Whether such divisiveness would benefit Republicans or Democrats is morally irrelevant.

What would constitute an important moral standing is for enough House Republicans to call for an impeachment inquiry, with one of the articles of impeachment focused on the President’s (in)action to protect the US from Russia’s electoral interference.

With such call, Republicans would acknowledge that nation comes before party, truth comes before systemic lies, and principle comes before expediency. In regaining some moral high ground, Republicans could contribute to a fair and informed inquiry, and to a bipartisan decision and rationale. Importantly, should it come to pass, a bipartisan rationale for impeachment would represent the best hope for an objective Senate trial.

A bipartisan impeachment inquiry would send two powerful messages that Americans and the world desperately need to hear: (1) America stands strong and able to defend its sovereignty and principles, and (2) In America, all are entitled to due process but no one is above the law.

It is time for you, Congressman, to decide which side of History you will be in. Nothing that your colleagues (on either side of the aisle) do will exonerate you, should you not take the courageous, patriotic and moral standing of calling for a bipartisan impeachment inquiry.

Respectfully,

— Antonio Baptista

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