Anyone who is unsure about whether there is a clear case of impeachment regarding President Donald Trump must take into account what that July 25 phone call - which initiated the impeachment inquiry - means in terms of a president who has turned the White House into a mob mentality that serves Trump at the expense of the country.
In the wake of the approval of impeachment rules by the House of Representatives, Republican lawmakers are going on the offensive, and it is an offensive against the impeachment process itself, even though the U.S. Constitution is quite succinct about the power of impeachment. The GOP knows they cannot successfully defend the actions of the president, so they are pulling out all stops to discredit a constitutional process in which the minority within the Intelligence Committee claims puts them at some sort of disadvantage.
However the GOP representatives and senators feel about the raw deal for which they believe Trump is on the receiving end, the problem is not in the impeachment process itself, but the illegal and dangerous actions undertaken by Trump and his rogue foreign policy in Ukraine. Isn't it disconcerting when a top U.S. intelligence adviser has spoken of how there is the appearance of the president who was halting U.S. military aid to Ukraine, a nation that was invaded by Russia in 2014 with a casualty count of 13,000 people, without informing the Congress this aid was leverage to get President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a political rival?
I think there is a much larger issue here than whether Trump benefited from this quid pro quo, and that is the concept that he made such a request to facilitate a politically motivated investigation. I wonder how any American citizen can sit back and think it is acceptable for Trump to increase the risk of more foreign meddling in our electoral process just to advance his own self-serving interests. There are enough people in America who realize Trump is abusing the power of his office, and that certainly includes current and former officials who have come forward to speak truth to power.
Trump's actions on July 25 mark a textbook case of when the line is drawn regarding the manipulation of national security to accommodate a president's political objectives. In August 1964, following the Gulf of Tonkin "attacks" by the NVA on two U.S. warships, President Lyndon B. Johnson spun the matter in such a way that elevated America's involvement in Southeast Asia. President George W. Bush's false assertions regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was an example of a president manipulating national security, but not to accomplish any political goals. Thus, Johnson and Bush were advancing a national security strategy, and although that does not make their actions right, by comparison to Trump's, at least they were not putting self-interests over country.
After a two-year investigation by Robert Mueller and the special counsel, many Americans may have become desensitized to the endless outrage against the Trump White House. The fundamental question at the heart of this impeachment investigation is whether we, as Americans, are going to support a president who acts with such impunity while the corruption of the office itself occurs in plain sight.
Brent Been is a Tahlequah educator with a special emphasis on civics and history.