See Disclaimer. Note: You may now want to read instead the final version of the letter.
Dear Republican US Senators:
The Constitutional threshold for impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate is clear: “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Implied is the sense of deep danger to the country, beyond the remedy of the normal electoral process.
Wisely, this high bar makes it challenging to remove a president through impeachment: Elections matter, and their results should not be overturned lightly. I say this as an independent who did not vote for Mr. Trump, and who considers him singularly unfit for the Office of President.
Still, there are limits. With sadness, I must conclude–after a week of clarifying public inquiry–that this President went beyond what should be accepted, from him or any President, from any party. Here is why:
- Russia interfered in our 2016 elections, and continues to do so towards future elections. This is, as Fiona Hill testified and the Mueller report asserted, beyond question. The US President is knowingly eroding the very foundation of our democracy, by blatantly failing to acknowledge this threat—and thus severely undermining efforts to protect our elections from a foreign government. That’s unacceptable.
- Ukraine is vital to our security interests, and at war with Russia. Using US national assets (whether just a validating White House visit, or even more problematically, also military assistance) as exchange currency to receive personal benefits from a foreign government, is unacceptable—both Constitutionally and for national security reasons.
- Congress has a Constitutional mandate of oversight over the President. It is unacceptable for the President to obstruct Congress and justice at large, by prohibiting depositions of federal witnesses (even those subpoenaed), and by intimidating witnesses that do testify.
Articles of impeachment should be drawn around each of the above threads, for the integrity of our nation and Constitution. Which must give us pause, to reflect on our individual and collective responsibilities.
As a citizen, I feel compelled to call upon you, Senators, to put country above party—as enough of your colleagues did in 1974. Specifically, please:
- Recognize, individually and collectively, that this President strayed far beyond any acceptable policy discretion, to commit impeachable offenses.
- Through a high-level delegation, offer the President two options: To resign, or to face a Senate trial without unconditional partisan cover. A resignation ahead of a formal impeachment, as with Nixon, might best serve the nation.
- If the President chooses the Senate trial, be prepared to be true to your Oath of Office: Follow the evidence, and convict if warranted.
- If Mr. Trump resigns or is convicted, work with then-President Pence and across the aisle in both chambers of Congress, to:
- Craft a shared message of national unity.
- Re-assure our international allies and enemies alike, that we are firmly and relentlessly committed to our role as a beacon of freedom and democracy.
- Unambiguously denounce past Russian interference, and prevent all foreign interference in future elections.
- Ensure fair elections on November 2020.
Through the above actions, you would enable the rebirth of the US as a unified country of principle, and of global influence. And that, Senators, would be truly remarkable and patriotic.
— Antonio Baptista
Well written and well described the issues we face as a country. Referring to 1974 belongs in the script as does the facts about risking our true place in the world. Our Democracy is sadly at risk, as is our true relationships with our allies.
I like your letter. If many like this are sent, it just may help.