On this very page, we closed 2018 by noting it would be remembered as the year it became increasingly clear the president of the United States "repeatedly puts personal gain over all else, the rule of law be damned."
As 2019 comes to a close, we've seen more than enough to take that a step further: History will forever remember 2019 as the year Donald Trump became just the third president in our nation's history to be impeached and 2020 should be the year he becomes the first to be removed from office.
As this edition of the Journal went to press, House Democrats and Senate Republicans were engaged in a standoff over the potential rules of a Senate trial, with Democrats trying to use what leverage they have to push Senate leadership to hold an actual trial with actual witnesses, rather than a mere charade designed to unearth no new facts and keep the president exactly where he is. Democrats are right to hold firm and we urge all Senate Republicans to take a look in the mirror and think long and hard about how they want history to remember them.
There are myriad ways in which Trump is thoroughly unfit for office and his character has been laid more than bare over his three years in the White House. He's shown himself to be a racist, ableist troll who mocks war heroes and widows, alike, while praising war criminals and dictators, and takes a transactional approach to life. He's been credibly accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault by at least 17 women. There's also plenty of evidence he has engaged in criminal conduct. Just this year, he became an unindicted alleged co-conspirator in the crime that his former personal lawyer is now serving a prison sentence for — for those who have lost track amid the sea of his associates' guilty pleas and verdicts, that's Michael Cohen's paying off a porn star to keep quiet about an alleged affair just days before the 2016 election — and he admitted he'd defrauded his own charity and agreed to personally pay a $2 million settlement.
One could argue all of that is more than enough reason to remove a president but this Ukraine affair is cut from a different cloth entirely.
With Ukraine, Trump didn't merely cheat the system to get elected or try to line his own pockets, he allegedly used the power of the presidency and of the U.S. Treasury to aid his bid to stay in power while jeopardizing an ally and our own national security. That's the picture painted by testimony from eight witnesses — all Trump appointees — during the House impeachment inquiry.
Now there's a lot of noise out there right now about process, a lack of fact witnesses and bloodthirsty Democrats who have wanted to see Trump impeached since the moment he took office. That's because the people making those arguments are afraid of the facts and would simply rather not talk about them.
After all, if Senate Republicans really felt Trump did nothing wrong — either because there's no problem in leveraging $391 million in congressionally approved security assistance and a White House visit to pressure an ally to publicly announce investigations into a political foe and a debunked conspiracy theory created to raise doubt about whether Russia intervened in 2016 to help Trump get elected, or because he didn't actually do it — wouldn't they be champing at the bit to subpoena acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, former National Security Advisor John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey because their testimony would exonerate the president? Of course they would.
But fact-witnesses can't exonerate a guilty man, which is why Trump ordered federal officials not to comply with subpoenas in the House inquiry. From the testimony of those who have defied Trump's orders, the picture is clear and damning.
A U.S. ally came to Trump to ask for help in the form of a White House visit that would send a clear message to the world that our nation stands with Ukraine in the face of a Russian invasion. The president responded by not only asking Ukraine to smear the Democratic candidate who was then the frontrunner to challenge him in 2020 and to further a Russia-created conspiracy theory designed to deflect blame for 2016, but by also withholding bi-partisan Congressionally approved aid.
The president of the United States didn't hesitate to use the vast power of his office and this nation to further his own interests while ignoring our national interests. If not removed, he'll do it again.
The time is now.
Jennifer Fumiko Cahill is the Journal's arts and features editor and prefers she/her pronouns. Reach her at 442-1400, extension 320, or Jennifer@northcoastjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @JFumikoCahill. Thadeus Greenson is the Journal's news editor and prefers he/him pronouns. Reach him at 442-1400, extension 321, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @thadeusgreenson.