FARGO — I am glad to see House Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. It’s time. This is not about Trump’s cruelty or racism. This is about corruption, the rule of law, and assaults against our democracy.
It’s about abuse of power. Trump reportedly pressured the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on Joe Biden’s family, and suspended $391 million in critical military aid to Ukraine. Money Congress approved for Ukraine to defend itself against Russia. Presidents should never push foreign countries to help them get re-elected. Trump also allegedly ordered people to break the law, if necessary, to get the land for his beloved border wall — and promised to pardon them.
It’s about obstruction of justice. The Mueller Report identified 10 potential instances. In one instance, Trump allegedly ordered White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, and told McGahn to lie about it.
It’s about Trump profiting from his presidency while in office. This violates the emoluments clause in the Constitution. Members of Congress, executive branch members and representatives of foreign governments have spent millions of dollars at Trump’s hotel in Washington, Trump and his entourage have spent hundreds of days at Trump properties, the Air Force has reportedly stayed at a Trump property in Scotland dozens of times, and Vice President Pence stayed at a Trump hotel in Ireland that was 180 miles from where Pence had his business meetings.
It’s about treason. Trump gave classified information to the Russians in the Oval Office, gave away surveillance capabilities by tweeting an image of an Iranian launch facility, and provided top secret nuclear expertise to Saudi Arabia. Perhaps most importantly, Trump sided with Russian President Putin over our intelligence agencies concerning Russian election hacking. Shamefully, Trump has made no effort to prevent the Russians from doing it again.
It’s about ignoring legal demands from a co-equal branch of government: Congress. Trump has simply refused to provide documents, records, tax returns, and testimony from aides that Congress has legally subpoenaed.
The only reason not to go ahead with impeachment proceedings is political. There are 31 moderate or conservative Democrats in Congress representing districts that Trump won in 2016. One of them is Collin Peterson of Minnesota. Peterson is against an impeachment inquiry. The inquiry could backfire. Peterson and several other Democrats could lose their elections, and the Democrats could lose control of the House.
Also, there’s no way 67 senators, the number required, will vote to remove Trump. Certainly North Dakota Republican Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer won’t vote to convict. Of course under the exact same set of circumstances, Hoeven and Cramer would have voted to convict Democrat Barack Obama.
Still, it’s good to see most House Democrats focusing on Trump’s disturbing record, and not the possible political consequences. As the Founding Fathers envisioned in situations like this, Congress is doing its constitutionally mandated duty by starting the proceedings.