by U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay
This was not an exoneration, it was a spineless perpetuation of a dangerous cover-up. Republicans in the U.S. Senate turned a blind eye to the facts, refused to allow witnesses and documents that would have uncovered the whole truth, and surrendered congressional oversight to an amoral president who tramples on the U.S. Constitution, puts national security at risk for his own benefit, and repeatedly places himself above the rule of law.
As U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., noted, “The president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence.” Senator Alexander is absolutely right. The core of the case against the President is glaringly simple, and the evidence is overwhelming.
Donald J. Trump is guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. These are inescapable facts proven by the House managers.
President Trump abused his power by withholding $391 million in congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine to coerce our ally who is under Russian attack into digging up negative information to be used against Trump’s potential 2020 opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. The non-partisan General Accounting Office has determined that this was a violation of federal law.
And in doing so, Donald Trump solicited something of value from a foreign entity to help his reelection campaign. That is a felony violation of federal election law. He then executed a complete obstruction of congressional oversight by refusing to respond to lawful subpoenas issued by the U.S. House.
Future congresses will wonder why, given the opportunity to call witnesses and review documents, Senate Republicans chose to put their heads in the sand instead of preserving and protecting the separation of powers, effectively making this president unaccountable to the power of Congress.
Donald Trump’s lawless actions put our national security at risk for his own political benefit. His total obstruction of Congress, without consequences, will permanently alter the balance of power the founders fought so hard to create to safeguard our republic.
As Chief House Manager Adam Schiff said so well, “The facts will come out. The witnesses that the president refuses to produce and the documents that he continues to conceal will be revealed. And if you rob this country of a fair trial, there can be no meaning to the outcome.”
Senate Republicans fear Donald Trump more than the judgment of history and the will of the American people. They will come to regret that choice in November and in perpetuity.
(U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay, D-Missouri, represents Missouri’s 1st Congressional District.)
(Reprinted from the St. Louis American)