“You know you can’t trust him to do what is right for the American people” were the words echoed by Lead House Manager Adam Schiff in the well of the Senate, as he gave closing arguments during the trial of President Donald J. Trump. “This President will do what he feels is right for himself,” Schiff continued. Schiff’s emotional comments came during the final days of the impeachment trial of the President, officiated by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts.
Democratic House Managers were appointed to make the case against the President. Two articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of congress, were formally submitted to the Senate on behalf of Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
The allegation was the President of the United States used the power of his office to extort a foreign government, Ukraine, into investigating his political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
As both sides presented their arguments for and against impeachment, in many cases the facts were not in dispute. As a matter of fact, one defender, Allen Dershowitz argued that neither article of impeachment contained a crime and asserted that “criminal-type behavior is required, thus you can’t oust the President for these issues even if he is guilty,” further asserting that he did it, but so what!
The accusation in question is alleged to have occurred in a telephone call on July 25, 2019, at which time the President spoke to the President of Ukraine and asked him to “do us a favor.” The favor in question was to initiate an investigation into the Bidens. The purpose of the investigation was to give the President information that could be used in his 2020 presidential run against Biden.
The entire trial, now being referred to as a sham, proceeded until it was time for the Senate to vote for or against calling witnesses. One witness eager to testify was former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who was a fact witness to article one; abuse of power, since it is alleged that he had one-on-one conversations about the scheme with President Trump. Bolton is said to have referred to the transaction as a “drug deal.”
The Senators however, voted 49 Democrats and 51 Republicans to not hear live witness testimony. While most of America realized from the outset that the President’s impeachment would be primarily decided along partisan political lines, it’s the American citizens who are cheated when they are denied an opportunity to see and hear testimony from those closest to the President so that they could independently evaluate whether the President has misrepresented critical facts relating to the withholding of aid approved by Congress to Ukraine, in exchange for information on his political rivals.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or unaffiliated voter, we all deserved to hear the testimony of those most knowledgeable about the pertinent details and facts. In the words of testimony given by Lt. Colonel Alexander S. Vindman, who was one of those listening in on the July 25th phone call, “right matters and truth matters.”
By voting “no” to allowing witness testimony, the U.S. Senate created an even greater wedge of doubt and distrust, which is growing in our country, and is therefore a disservice to all of us. The only justification provided by members of the Senate for their decision not to hear witness testimony, was that they had already made up their minds, which is an even sadder commentary. Bolton’s story will be told, however, in an upcoming book scheduled to be released in March, and is anticipated to contain all the details of the President’s shameful wrongdoings. History will judge this sad period harshly.
As we look back at the impeachment trial of the President, no words will remain more haunting than the words of Senate Chaplin Barry Black as he prayed these words: “Lord help them to remember, that they can’t ignore you and get away with it. For we always reap what we sow.”
As the President’s acquittal vote along party lines is solidified, it is no wonder there is growing apathy and political division in our country today. In the words of the late Congressman Elijah Cummings, “we are better than this.”
Going forward, the outcome for what we now know and understand to be true, will be left up to the voters to decide and hold this President accountable for his actions When we vote in upcoming elections, we will have a choice to choose hope over despair and truth over lies and cover ups. Let your vote speak for you. Hope for our democracy, flag and constitutional values versus four more years of lies, cover ups, and a slowing economy that does not work for everyone. Stay informed, because truth does matter.