It’s worse than gunning down an innocent bystander on 5th Avenue in New York City and getting away with it. Donald J. Trump and his Republican Party sycophants are about to deal a death blow to the American Experiment of government, built for the people of our country, held accountable by a checks-and-balances system, and defended by patriotic men and women on battlefields at home and abroad for more than 240 years.
The heartbeat of our once great republic is on life support today, thanks in large part to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who announced last night that he does not want to hear from witnesses with first-hand knowledge of Trump’s abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Alexander attempted to justify his lack of courage to stand up to Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bullying tactics. His spineless reasoning should haunt him and his constituents for decades to come.
The Tennessee politician said Trump did something “inappropriate” by demanding that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky announce an investigation of Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden. What Trump did was clearly an illegal act, as defined by the U.S. Constitution. But, Alexander wrote, the wannabe dictator’s actions do not rise to the level of impeachment and removal from office.
In other words, according to Alexander, his GOP cohorts in Congress and rabid Trumpers everywhere, The Donald can do anything he wants and it won’t be illegal. He can kill a country — our country — which he has been intent on doing since he first gained access to the instruments of power provided any Oval Office occupant. There are simply not enough people in Congress who care.
Alexander was one of a handful of Republican senators who were considering voting with their Democratic counterparts to call more witnesses, possibly including Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has direct knowledge of the president’s wrongdoings. In addition to witnesses, Democrats have demanded more documents from the White House to extend the “trial” and prove the truth of charges levied against Trump in the articles of impeachment.
Fifty-one votes are needed to make that happen. There are 47 Democrats in the jury pool of this sham of an impeachment trial, which means just four Republicans would have to show the courage to confront Trump’s bullying and stand up for America.
Susan Collins of Maine announced last night before Alexander’s gutless statement that she would vote with the Democrats. Mitt Romney of Utah has strongly hinted that he will as well.
It was hoped that Alexander would be the third and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska the fourth. Murkowski went home last night to consider her options, but even if she decides to give our country one last chance, it doesn’t guarantee a win for democracy.
A Murkowski “yes” vote would create a 50-50 tie, and unless U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over this sham, agrees to cast a deciding vote, Trump and his lemmings will walk away with a win. The chances that Roberts would engage in a political act — even one this important — is doubtful, according to most legal experts. Instead he would likely allow a tie vote to stand, giving the GOP its victory.
If the impeachment trial ends tonight, as expected, the executive branch of government will have no checks on its actions. Congress will have neutered itself with respect to preventing Trump — or any future president — from soliciting foreign interference in U.S. elections.
Trump will be able to stand on the White House steps and ask any country to help him destroy a political opponent. And if Republicans tire of the bombastic blathering of their current leader, they will be able to find another front man to carry their water by rigging future elections.
Also, keep in mind that the GOP controls most of the judicial system, including the Supreme Court. That means most challenges to gerrymandering or other voter-suppression tactics used by Republicans will likely be defeated.
The American Experiment in democracy could come to an end tonight. It will be painful to watch.
Are there no Republicans who care enough to stand against this rush to take down America? None with the courage to tell Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that the people of the United States want to keep “a more perfect union?”
This is not what Washington, Adams and Jefferson wanted. They would surely be saddened by this spectacle of White House lawyers telling us that this president — or some future president — can do anything he wants.
The Founding Fathers did not want a dictatorship.
Someone please care before it’s too late.