(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HILL NEWS)
This week the Democrats laid out the case for impeaching and removing President Trump from office. House impeachment managers serving as prosecutors did a masterful job of weaving a damning narrative against Trump as they described in pernicious detail how Trump abused the power of the presidency, obstructed Congress, attempted to cover it all up and in the process put our national security and the integrity of our elections at risk — all for his personal political benefit.
The presentations were eloquent, impactful and exacting. They summarized what has been weeks of investigation, testimony, press coverage, documents, emails and texts from former administration officials with firsthand knowledge of Trump’s infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his plot to withhold military aid to Ukraine until Zelensky publicly announced an investigation into the Bidens in an effort to hurt the person Trump saw as his greatest political threat.
In the end, however, the question for all of us must be, does any of it matter? In this age of a “see no evil, hear no evil” Republicans who acquiesce to a delinquent president for their own political self-preservation and who fall back on lies, defamation of character (see Sen. Marcia Blackburn’s (R-Tenn.) shameful smear of decorated veteran Colonel Vindman) and promulgation of debunked conspiracy theories to justify their support of Trump, does truth and right still matter?
Of course it does. It must.
Videos, quotes, texts, testimonies and Trump’s own words paint a picture of a president obsessed with harming former Vice President Joe Biden and using the powers of the presidency to do it.
We also see that Republicans really aren’t arguing the merits of the case. They simply either argue with lies such as that Trump was concerned with our national security or rooting out corruption, or they argue that what he did may have been inappropriate but it doesn’t rise to the level of impeachment. (Sadly, very few Republicans have even acknowledged that what Trump did was inappropriate).
I agree with lead impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) who, in his moving closing remarks Thursday night, stated that when the Democrats are done prosecuting the case against President Trump there will be no room for doubt as to Trump’s guilt.
So, if Trump is guilty of what he is charged with, does that warrant his removal from office?
Schiff argues that it does. He makes the case that Trump not only put our nation at risk, but that he also put our whole value system in jeopardy. Frighteningly, if he gets away with it, we can be sure that he will do it again.
So, if Trump is guilty, and everyone knows he is capable of repeating these abhorrent actions, his removal becomes not only necessary but the only way out for a party that is already in peril of becoming a shell of what it once was.
Schiff’s questions for Republicans are: Does the truth still matter to them? And does doing the right thing still matter to them?
As Schiff says, it must. It must for all of us. The most frustrating thing is that we all know there are many Republicans who are repulsed by what Trump is, what he represents and the damage he has done to their party and to our country. Many have said so in private, but most dare not say anything in public.
As Chairman Schiff said so eloquently and emotionally on Thursday, “No constitution can protect us if right doesn’t matter anymore.” We have all learned that we cannot trust that Trump will do what is right for the country. We can only trust that Donald Trump will do what is right for him.
Now is the time for Republicans to step up and do right. That doesn’t necessarily mean coming out with how they really feel about Trump, as it would be political suicide. But it’s time for them to vote with the Democrats to have witnesses and more documents come to light. Most Americans believe that is critical. It is the only way to have at least a semblance of a fair trial and not a coverup.
With witnesses on the stand and additional documents out in the open, it is very possible that the truth will shine so brightly that it will be impossible for any sensible Republican senator to ignore. Maybe even impossible for 20 of them to ignore.
We shall see. Truth and right have a way of overcoming efforts to eradicate them. Sadly, that is where we are in the United States, the greatest democracy in the world. At least it will be once again, either when Republicans see the light and do right, or when voters hold them to account in November.
Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.