Commentary: A timeline which adds up to impeachment

July, 2016: The FBI initiated an investigation of possible Russian interference in the upcoming election after receiving alerts from its Australian and European counterparts.

5/23/18: Congress appropriated an aid package for Ukrainian defense from further Russian incursions. $251 million came from the bi-partisan National Defense Authorization Act and $141 million from the State Department. This money would be released in 2019. The administration’s plan for disbursement was initially to be on 2/28/19 but was delayed until 5/23/19.

A www.vox.com/policy-and-politics article elaborates on the delays stating that due to pressure from senators, Trump released part of the aid on 9/11/19. A www.huffpost.com/entry/ukraine-military-aid posting states that as of 11/20/19, $35 million were still being withheld.

Wikipedia has a long article entitled “Timeline of Russian Interference in the 2016 United States elections.” The first three items in the Table of Contents are: Section “1 Relevant individuals and organizations” lists 400 persons and organizations of interest relating to Donald J Trump including investigators, journalists, members of Congress, foreign officials and Trump and Clinton campaign personnel. Section “2 Before Donald Trump’s 2016 candidacy” contains annotated and verifiable facts (not “truths”) related to Trump from 1986 to his Inauguration. Section “3 2016 Presidential campaign” contains dated and footnoted FACTS about numerous references to Russian contacts and other information. This is background information.

8/12/19: A whistleblower report addressed to the chairs of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees referenced a telephone call from our president to the president of Ukraine. The report was directed to inspector general of the Intelligence Community Atkinson who found it of “urgent concern” and “appears credible.” It was passed on to acting Director of National Intelligence McGuire on 8/15/19 who sent it to the Justice Department. The Congressional Intelligence Committees only learned of this report from a Washington Post article on 9/19/19. They finally received it on 9/25/19. It was released to the public on 9/26/19.

9/25/19: The White House released a “transcript” (actually entitled ”Memorandum”) of the president’s call. (search “Ukraine phone call transcript.”) The vital elements of this 7/25/19 call are that President Zelensky was “almost ready to buy more (British-made) Javelin missiles…” for Ukraine’s defense against Russia. Trump’s response was “I would like you to do us a favor though…” There were actually two favors requested. First: “The [DNC] server, they say Ukraine has it.” (Ukrainian involvement has been totally refuted.) Second: “The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’ son, that Biden stopped the prosecution.”

FACT: Vice President Biden worked with the European Union and the IMF in March 2016 to remove the corrupt prosecutor Victor Shokin for NOT investigating corruption in Ukraine. Withholding promised defense funding for Ukraine for an investigation of a potential political opponent would benefit Trump personally. This could be interpreted as a “quid pro quo”/bribe and an abuse of power.

The Constitution Article II. Section. 4 states “The President, Vice President, and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high Crimes or Misdemeanors.” These last “…refer to criminal actions as well as any serious misuse or abuse of office, ranging from tax evasion to obstruction of justice. The ultimate authority for determining whether an offense constitutes a ground for impeachment rests with Congress.” ( www.legal-dictionary.the freedictionary. com/ high+crimes…) Trump’s blocking subpoenaed Administration personnel from testifying or delivering records to the House Intelligence Committee demonstrates obstruction of Congress, also impeachable.

10/31/19: An impeachment inquiry of our president was authorized by the House of Representatives. It was triggered by the releases of the whistleblower report and the 7/25/19 phone call memorandum. The House Intelligence Committee held closed door and televised hearings. Twelve FACT witnesses including nonpartisan, professional, State Department, military and expert advisers testified during hours of questioning open to us citizens. Their input confirmed that the president did withhold funding, that Ukraine knew of this, and that Trump actually manipulated Ukraine for help for his re-election. Add to that, on 9/26/19 he was recorded asking for China’s help as well.

His acting Chief of Staff Mulvaney reinforced the fact of the “quid pro quo” in a televised press conference on 10/17/19.

Presidents swear to “…protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The Congressional, Cabinet, and military oaths include these words “…against all enemies. Foreign and Domestic…” President Trump has violated his oath by seeking foreign help for his own benefit. Many in Congress and this administration seem to be following this president’s path thus endangering OUR security.

Throughout Trump’s campaign, we saw him disparage individuals like John McCain, Gold Star parents, a disabled journalist and others. He has referred to anything factual from mainstream media outlets, publications and journalists as fake. He refuses to respect or believe in the work of our intelligence community and law enforcement. During the public impeachment hearings he intimidated witnesses. For one he tweeted as she spoke.

He speaks racist, misogynistic and homophobic words. He enables the brutal treatment suffered by asylum seekers and refugees and has separated children, even at birth, from families. Even his wonderful Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has left few Americans better off and others perhaps worse off than before it passed.

His tariffs imposed on other countries have bankrupted many farmers despite May’s $16 billion bailout and we are paying more for necessities. Trump ordered and Defense Secretary Esper allowed the transfer of $3.6 billion from military construction projects to his border wall. All of this serves to enervate portions of our population to act in less than civilized ways.

In a 1977 televised interview with David Frost, Richard Nixon stated; “When a president does it, that means it is not illegal.” This apparently is the belief of President Trump and his devotees.

This president has asked Ukraine AND our enemies Russia and China for election help and he continually obstructs Congress. His behavior and policies are damaging to our nation’s security and reputation. Whether by conviction by senators upholding their oath to the Constitution, or by we voters in the 2020 election, he must be removed from office.

Alan Gaddis is a resident of Dover.

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