President Donald Trump is a racist, greedy, misogynistic liar and an overall spoiled brat. While these characteristics may make him a horrible person, they are not things for which he can be impeached. However, that changed in July when Trump decided to use his leverage with a foreign official to ask for aid in the next election.
Trump gravely abused his power, and Congress should remove him from office — plain and simple. No matter how some Republicans may try to play it off, what Trump asked of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky falls under “treason, bribery and other high crimes.” These are what the Constitution lists as impeachable offenses.
Two days before the phone call, Trump froze $391 million (that Congress had already approved) from being sent to Ukraine. Clearly, he intended to hold the money as leverage in exchange for looking into Joe Biden. During the call, Trump asked Zelensky eight times to look into Biden as a “favor” to the United States. He also repeatedly stated that the U.S. has been “very, very good to Ukraine,” insinuating Zelensky needed to do something in return. While President Zelensky may have (hesitantly) stated Trump did not push him, Trump was trying to bargain with money, and that qualifies as a bribe. However, this crime is way worse than just bribery.
The $391 million came from Americans’ pockets. Trump used taxpayer money to ask for a personal favor, which is an immense abuse of power as well as a betrayal to all Americans. What’s worse is that Trump and his White House aides attempted to cover it up. The word-for-word transcript of the call was initially locked away because Trump knew what he had done was wrong. According to Federalist No. 65, “violation of public trust” is an impeachable offense.
The fact that this is only one of the countless questionable actions taken by Trump is all the more reason to impeach. Earlier this year, Michael Cohen’s testimonies revealed that Trump’s workers lied for him regularly about matters such as colluding with Russia. That means this is the second time Trump has asked for foreign aid in an election, which is hugely concerning. After the Mueller investigation fizzled out, Trump grew confident that he could get away with anything. He even said the words, “I have the right to do whatever I want as president” at a rally. This sort of haughty entitlement is incredibly dangerous in the hands of the most powerful man in the world. After the Ukraine call, it is clear that Trump believes he has unrestricted power, and he will continue to misuse it unless Congress stops him.
Some Democrats fear an impeachment inquiry will only embolden Trump and his supporters, but letting fear obstruct justice won’t help the country. It is Congress’ constitutional duty to hold the president accountable for his actions. Though some in the GOP state an impeachment inquiry will benefit Trump, there is no evidence of this. Polls show an increase in voters identifying as Independents and Republicans favoring impeachment after the whistleblower complaint emerged. Moreover, Trump can feel the effect of this shift because he is growing uneasy. In his panic, he is only getting himself in more trouble. On Monday, Trump stated he was looking to find the name of the whistleblower, which is a violation of laws that protect officials who leak such information. Over the weekend, Trump’s “Civil War” tweet had people saying the president was threatening violence if Congress removed him from office. That tweet itself is grounds for impeachment, according to Harvard Law Professor John Coates. When Trump and his allies are tensed about his future in the White House, it would be cowardly for Congress not to proceed with impeachment.
Trump has many unethical characteristics, but Democrats only want to impeach him based on facts and evidence, which is why this should not be a partisan issue. No matter what party they belong to, if a sitting president attempts to gain aid from a foreign country secretly, they should be removed from office. If Barack Obama had done what Trump has, there is no doubt Republicans would have wanted him out of office immediately. So why are they making an exception for Trump?
This president has demonstrated countless times he is unfit to run the country, and the Ukraine call is the last straw. If Congress ignores this issue, Trump will only grow more dangerous. Impeach him now.