What Happened on Day One at the Impeachment Hearings, and What was Relevant and Important


The long-awaited public impeachment hearings about Trump’s perceived crimes against America and the Constitution began at 7 a.m. PST today. I watched some of it, but it was so boring I could not sit and listen to what I already knew would happen.

Opening statements by House Intelligence Chair, Adam Schiff, and the ranking Republican, Devin Nunes, were so different, they defined the demeanor of these hearings for the days ahead.

Mr. Schiff discussed the importance of these hearing in relation to the Constitution and the future of our Republic. He offered a quote by Benjamin Franklin when questioned about the type of government our founding fathers were creating.

Exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Schiff also made a very valid statement about the balance of power in our form of government.

“Our answer to these questions will affect not only the future of this presidency, but the future of the presidency itself, and what kind of conduct or misconduct the American people may come to expect from their commander-in-chief,” said Schiff at one point.

At another, citing the Trump’s administration’s refusal to allow its senior officials to testify before Congress, Schiff said such a move “is not what the Founders intended,” adding: “The prospects for further corruption and abuse of power, in this administration or another, will be exponentially increased.”

In closing, Schiff asked, “Is that what Americans should now expect from their President? If this is not impeachable conduct, what is? Does the oath of office itself — requiring that our laws be faithfully executed, that our President defend a Constitution that balances the powers of its branches, setting ambition against ambition so that we become no monarchy — still have meaning?”

The truth is that fearing rule by a king or other form of despot, they created the impeachment process to prevent such an occurrence. Congress has slightly more power than the executive and legislative branches.

Nunes continued what he has done for three years, attempt to protect Trump, lie, misdirect the purpose of the hearings, and of course attack those who would be testifying.

He called the hearings a “pitiful finale” to Democratic attempts to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

He described the closed-door testimony offered by Ukraine witnesses a “cult-like atmosphere.”

He suggested that the whistleblower “was known to have a bias against President Trump.”

He derided the “impeachment sham.”

He called the proceedings a “Star Chamber.”

He dismissed the investigation as a “low-rent Ukrainian sequel” to the Mueller investigation.

His contempt for the rule of law is appalling.

Testifying today were Bill Taylor, the top U.S. official in Ukraine, and George Kent, a ranking employee of the State Department. Both of their opening statements were honest, articulate, intelligent, and directly to the point. Both men testified about their knowledge related to Trump and his administration’s efforts in Ukraine to extort information about Joe and Hunter Biden.

Both Democrats and Republicans acted as expected. Democrats sought answers to questions the American people have a right to know. Republicans made a feeble attempt to make a farce of the hearings; making feeble attempts to misdirect the facts and hide Trump’s many Constitutional violations.

A final fact: even if the right thing happens and Trump is removed from the White House, not much will change in America. Trump’s diminishing number of supporters will continue to choose ignorance and believe the orange man’s lies. The rest of us will always know that Trump is an illegitimate president who has harmed our nation. His loyalties are not to the country he was intended to serve; they are to despots; leaders of nations who are enemies of the United States of America, including Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Mohammad bin Salman, and Trump’s guest at the White House today, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Sadly, Trump is more of a symptom than the cause of our nation’s many problems. For the last 18+ years Republicans have failed to serve the American people. They continue to represent special interests with the goal of enhancing their own lives and ignoring the needs and wishes of the majority.

Voting day is November 3, 2020. It will be known throughout American history as the most important election day ever; one which will define the future of our 243-year-old nation. Vote for yourself, your family, and your friends; not for a political party who simply doesn’t care about you.

Op-ed by James Turnage


Image courtesy of DonkeyHotey

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