Commentary: Everyone has a duty to uphold the Constitution

The president of the United States, the vice president, members of the Cabinet, members of Congress, and those employed by the government take oaths of office that contain either “…preserve, protect and defend the Constitution…” or …”support and defend the Constitution… .” These oaths are “sworn” or “affirmed” by the individuals involved. Today we are at a point where perhaps too many have forgotten their oaths.

Things have been revealed during these past two weeks that have shaken many Americans to their cores. Yet, for others, it has had little effect. Dated Aug. 12, 2019, a whistleblower addressed a nine-page report of “urgent concern” to Sen. Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and to Rep. Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. It was sent to the inspector general of the intelligence community who deemed it credible as well as of “urgent concern.”

However, he sent it to acting the director of national intelligence who held it for some time. One rationalization for his delay was that he believed the law about such complaints applies only to internal intelligence community matters. The law does not state nor imply such qualification.

It was not until Sept. 26 that the public learned what the complaint contained. Among several disturbing allegations in the report was one that included President Trump’s “congratulatory” telephone conversation on July 25, 2019 with recently elected Ukrainian President Zelensky. After pleasantries were exchanged the following took place. The “transcript” that the White House released included the following exchanges.

At the end of his third comment to President Trump, Zelensky stated “…we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United State for defense purposes.” (congressional funding assistance for these was delayed by the White House.) President Trump responded, “I would like you to do us a favor though…” and he mentions a “Crowdstrike” investigation.

In Trump’s fifth exchange, he further mentions Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and a (long-debunked) corruption scandal that he wants investigated to use as a weapon against a possible election opponent. Factcheck.org shows that in late fall of 2015 VP Biden and the EU pushed to fire a corrupt prosecutor. Hunter Biden was not the subject of investigation.

One should recall that candidate Trump was videoed asking Russia’s help in finding Hilary Clinton’s “30,000 emails.” Those at his rally cheered at that statement. (He covered his … by repeating that it was a joke.) However, as president, it is absolutely unconstitutional to solicit help from a foreign citizen, foreign government, or government official for personal gain.

On Sept. 24, Speaker Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry to begin immediately. She finally had the first article of a “high crime or misdemeanor.” As if that were not enough, as he was walking toward Marine One, the president doubled down on his “favor” from Zelensky AND then asked China for similar help for his campaign.

As of Aug. 12, 2019, Trump has made 12,000 misleading statements and lies that began in 2011 with his birtherism attacks about Barack Obama. The president has taken many highly questionable actions. He has insulted the leaders of several of our allies whom we count on for mutual support and defense.

He has put refugees into virtual detention centers and separated families; keeping few if any records, much less having plans to reunite them. He has an ongoing trade war with China, which will hurt American families despite his repeated denials.

He believes the word of Vladimir Putin and doubts or denies the validity of America’s loyal security and law enforcement agencies. By withdrawing from the international nuclear agreement with Iran, he has motivated them to increase enriching nuclear fuel. All and more of these actions endanger the U.S. and other nations.

One wonders about his admiration of Putin and other dictators like Xi Jinping and Kim Jung Un. He seems to adopt dictatorial tactics to achieve goals. Per Business Insider on Feb. 17 2017, Trump tweeted “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” This is what many dictators have said when challenged with facts and truth.

In addition, at the Teen Action Summit on July 23, 2019 Trump: “Then I have an Article 2, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.” These statements reflect an autocratic attitude. He does NOT have that right! At Florida’s “The Villages” community on Oct. 3, 2019, he ad-libbed that eight years, or 12 or 16 (of him) would really rattle their cages. People laughed and applauded.

There are a few media sources that devote themselves to rationalizing, even to praising, the president and his actions. We citizens have a responsibility to fact check everything any source produces, especially these few.

It is we who must do all that we can to preserve the democracy (or democratic republic) that our Constitution established for us or we will lose it.

One should recall that A.G. Barr falsely summarized the Mueller Report, giving the impression that the president and his campaign were exonerated from wrongdoing.

However, when the report was published, we learned that while Mueller could not legally prove conspiracy (not collusion) between the campaign and Russia, he found 101 campaign contacts with Russians linked to the government. He also indicted 34 Russians and three companies for meddling. In Part Two, he listed 10 instances of obstruction for Congress to follow up on.

It is conceivable that Congress, in its impeachment inquiry investigations, may discover additional articles of “high crimes and misdemeanors” beyond Trump’s public self incriminations. It is then for each member of the House and Senate to adhere to their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution and our democracy.

It is then for us citizens to act in accord with our pledge of allegiance and vote our consciences for “…liberty and justice for all.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Alan Gaddis is a resident of Dover.

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