Sun Sentinel: Why I will vote to impeach President Trump

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Washington, December 17, 2019 | comments
Put simply, President Trump is corrupt and unfit for his office. Therefore, I will vote to impeach this president, both for abusing his power, and his flagrant obstruction of Congress.
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Why I will vote to impeach President Trump | Debbie Wasserman Schultz
By DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ

SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL

I went to Washington to make life better for my community and the entire nation. I didn’t run for Congress to remove a president from office.

Every Congress I take an oath to protect our Constitution and the Rule of Law, to safeguard the basic framework of our democracy so we can all build a better nation together.

President Trump took this same oath. Yet indisputable evidence shows that he violated it. Only a blind partisan could ignore that this president grossly abused the power of his office, or deny that he poses an ongoing threat to our national security and election integrity.

Put simply, President Trump is corrupt and unfit for his office. Therefore, I will vote to impeach this president, both for abusing his power, and his flagrant obstruction of Congress.

President Trump used government resources for personal gain and put himself above the law – and no person or president is above the law.

This is not a conclusion I reached in haste. It is a difficult vote, but one that a mound of unrefuted evidence allows me to confidently cast.

No serious observer disputes the facts leading us here. Trump pressured a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival. In order to secure this personal campaign assistance, the administration withheld bipartisan military aid and a vital White House meeting.

His actions undeniably weakened our national security. The foreign ally Trump shook down, Ukraine, is actively fighting a war against our adversary Russia.

Trump’s actions also invited foreign interference into our elections, and not for the first time: in 2016, candidate Trump invited Russia to meddle in our elections. A disturbing pattern emerges, which must be stopped to protect the sanctity of our electoral process.

A whistleblower sounded the alarm about Trump’s dangerous conduct. Several public servants, under oath, confirmed those warnings. A call readout between Trump and Ukraine’s president corroborated those claims.

The president and his chief of staff confess to much of this on camera. Other White House officials and documents could further confirm his corrupt conduct, yet Trump ordered them withheld from Congress. Rather than transparently prove his innocence, the president has engaged in an unprecedented stonewalling of Congressional oversight into his actions. Not a single White House document has been produced in response to duly authorized subpoenas issued by a co-equal branch of government that directly responds to these grave concerns.

These transgressions erode the Separation of Powers that bind our democracy’s vital system of checks and balances. For these reasons alone, Trump’s conduct is impeachable.

Yet my time in Congress as a House Appropriations Committee Member equips me to see his most glaring abuse of power.

The White House Office of Management and Budget’s hold on Ukrainian military assistance was an explicit abuse of its apportionment authority. It amounted to an illegal delay of aid. The Trump administration was aware of these legal issues yet bottled up the funding anyway.

This apportionment authority is meant to ensure an effective expenditure of Congressionally appropriated funds, to protect taxpayers and recipients. It is not a tool used to extort presidential favors from foreign nations.

If Trump can abuse this power beyond our borders with no consequence, what prevents him from withholding disaster aid from states that didn’t support him? Where does it stop?

Critics can cite other administration actions that inflicted great hardship on Americans or those who aspire to be, yet these policy decisions arguably speak only to Trump’s moral character. They may flout Constitutional safeguards, but are generally regarded as falling within his legal executive powers; most do not deem them as impeachable.

But with his conduct around Ukraine, President Trump corruptly abused his power for his own interests, at direct odds with our national welfare and Constitution.

President Trump put his interests before those of this nation. Left unchecked, he’d do it again – and has said so. With history watching, I must fulfill my Constitutional duty and vote to impeach this president. His corrupt conduct and assault on our Constitution leave no other choice.

Throughout this process, I listened as a member of the House Oversight Committee to career diplomats testify in depositions and found myself contemplating the gravity of this decision. One of my daughters asked then how I’d make my decision about impeachment. I told her that when her future children learn about President Trump’s impeachment, they may ask, “Mommy, what did Grandma do?” I told her I want my daughter to be able to tell her children, ‘Grandma did the right thing, because in America, no one is above the law.’”

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 23rd congressional district.
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