Should Congress impeach the President? Why not just wait for the 2020 elections and let the voters decide?
These are legitimate questions. Voters, having expressed their preferences at the ballot box, are rightfully suspicious of efforts to overturn those results. Colorado Republicans were reminded of this when they tried and failed to recall Governor Polis and several members of the Colorado legislature.
Many Democrats were disappointed when Speaker Pelosi refused to hold impeachment hearings immediately after regaining control of the House in 2018. Despite this political pressure, Pelosi refused to consider impeachment for presidential actions within the scope of the Constitution. Nancy Pelosi respects the election process and knows how Americans feel about overturning an election. Although she disagrees with President Trump, the Speaker of the House respects the constitutional authority of the President.
President Trump is not facing impeachment because Democrats disagree with his policies. President Trump is facing impeachment because he broke the law.
The President broke the law when he threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless the Ukrainian President promised to smear Joe Biden. This was the quid pro quo, which literally means “this for that”, to which witnesses testified before Congress. The “quid” was American military aid which Ukraine needed to defend itself from an increasingly aggressive Russia. The “quo” was that the Ukrainian government would help President Trump in the 2020 election. It was as if President Trump told the Ukrainians, “Nice country. It would be a shame if something happened to it.”
The evidence is clear. The only question is whether President Trump’s actions rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” required for conviction.
So why not just wait for the 2020 elections?
Congress must impeach to protect the integrity of the Constitution, which members of Congress have sworn to support and defend. The authors of the Constitution were concerned about corrupt foreign influence and made specific provisions to guard against it. Government officials, including the President, are forbidden from accepting “any present… from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” President Trump has referred to this as “the phony emoluments clause”, but it is as much a part of the Constitution as the Electoral College that put him into office. Dirt on Joe Biden, if such dirt were available, would be a gift from the Ukraine, paid for by the American people.
Congress must impeach to protect the integrity of the presidency. Future Presidents need to know that Congress will not tolerate a President who exploits their office for personal gain.
Congress must impeach to protect the integrity of our elections. Americans need to know that our elections will not be influenced by foreign governments who wish us harm. Americans need to know that American elections are decided by American voters and not by outsiders working against us.
If the President is not impeached, future Presidents will know they can extort foreign governments for personal benefit. Future Presidents will know they can use the United States Treasury as a campaign slush fund. They will know they are above the law.
This is why this President must be impeached in the House and convicted in the Senate. Americans need to know their Constitution works.