Back in the 1990s, I urged my Republican colleagues not to damage the American people’s faith in our democracy and undo an election simply because they disapproved of Clinton and his lies about an affair. He abused the trust of his wife; he didn’t abuse his presidential power. Unfortunately, they didn’t listen, and that, in part, helped create the atmosphere for the antics, untruths and an emboldened president wielding unchecked power that subverts the Constitution we’re seeing today. It’s important to remember: Impeachment is not about punishing the president; it is about protecting the American people from constitutional violations so extreme they threaten the country’s future.
The facts in front of us now are clear: They show Trump made official acts—millions in life-saving military aid for an active war zone and a coveted White House meeting showing support against Russia—conditional on political favors for himself in the 2020 election. Trump continues to solicit foreign interference in our election for his personal political gain. He’s not contrite. He hasn’t promised to stop. Instead, he continues his improper abuse of presidential power. We’re left with no choice but to proceed with impeachment, the constitutional remedy for the most serious of offenses that threaten our democracy.
Never before in our country’s history has a president simply refused to provide all documents to Congress or to order that no one in the executive branch testify.