In a new report from Just Security, we now have evidence from inside the Trump White House that President Trump ordered the freezing of aid to Ukraine, knowing his actions were illegal. The critical new information is found in unredacted emails from the Office of Management and Budget, which explained to alarmed officials at the United States Department of Defense that the freeze was ordered by the President.
Donald J. Trump has been impeached for crimes against the Constitution. The case specifically involves his now widely documented effort to extort political favors from Ukraine by withholding military aid at a time when Russia is escalating its military aggression against the country. The charges could not be more serious; the stakes could not be more fundamental.
We are now seeing a steadily escalating drumbeat for Trump’s removal among leading conservative institutions and publications.
- This week, Christianity Today surprised the country by publishing an editorial calling for Trump’s removal, citing his “gross immorality and ethical incompetence”.
- Now, The National Review, a leading conservative landmark publication, argues all four critical criteria for removal of the president—that he did what is alleged, that he abused power or was derelict, that his crimes are impeachable, and that it would better to remove him than allow him to continues serving—have been met.
- And, The American Conservative argues the case for Trump’s removal is “overwhelming”, that there is no credible defense for what he did, and that everyone in the House and Senate must now face “a simple test of their fidelity to the Constitution”.
There is a mythology in Washington that holds that Senators and Representatives owe loyalty only to the people in their state or district. This mythology dates to the time before the Civil War when members of Congress argued their higher loyalty was to their state than to the Constitution. There is another mythology, of similar origins, that holds that judges cannot be held accountable for corrupt actions or for ignoring the law.
The fact is: Every member of Congress swears an oath to the Constitution, not to their political party or to any constituency, and federal judges, under Article 3 of the Constitution may serve only “during good Behaviour”. No officer of the Constitution, in any of the three branches of government, has any power to engage in corrupt activities or activities not prescribed by law.
When Donald Trump sought a personal favor in exchange for the duties of his office, he sold his office, and committed the crime of bribery. When he withheld military aid from any ally in a time of war (leading to actual deaths on the battlefield), to apply pressure to force the delivery of that personal favor, he committed the crime of extortion—effectively a form of forced bribery.
- These were part of one scheme, to elicit favors from a foreign head of state. Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8, of the Constitution strictly bans all such favors (which it calls “emoluments”).
- Article 2, Section 4, of the Constitution specifically lists “Bribery” as one of the causes for removal from office, the other being “Treason”. That pairing makes clear the gravity of bribery as a crime against the Constitution.
Donald Trump sold his office and abused the power that comes with it. This is a threat to the life of our republic that the founders specifically foresaw. The remedy they provided for a corrupt and lawless chief executive was impeachment—a judicial process carried out by a political (elective) branch of government, in order to ensure the Constitution remains paramount.
He must be impeached and removed.
William Webster, who has served as a federal judge as well as director of both the FBI and the CIA, writes in the New York Times, that he feels “a responsibility to speak out about a dire threat to the rule of law in the country I love.”
Webster adds that:
Order protects liberty, and liberty protects order. Today, the integrity of the institutions that protect our civil order is, tragically, under assault from too many people whose job it should be to protect them.
Read the full article.
Even the most senior White House aides must testify, if ordered to by subpoena.
A federal court has ordered former White House Counsel Don McGahn to comply with a Congressional subpoena. The ruling explicitly states that “Presidents are not kings” and that “it is a core tenet of this Nation’s founding that the powers of a monarch must be split between the branches of the government to prevent tyranny.”
The ruling also finds that the President does not have any power to order anyone to disobey a subpoena. Such orders may, in fact, constitute criminal acts.
Read the full 120-page federal court ruling by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
In sworn testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Trump’s Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland has confirmed military aid was held up by the President in exchange for a commitment to investigate his political rivals.
Specifically, Sondland testified:
“I know that members of this Committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”
Sondland also testified that he worked “at the express direction of the President” and that leveraging aid to compel Ukraine’s president to investigate Joe Biden “reflected President Trump’s desires and requirements.”
This story is developing and will be updated.