Impeachment Proceeding is a Necessary Defense of Our Democratic Principles

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Impeachment Proceeding is a Necessary Defense of Our Democratic Principles

The House Intelligence Committee is holding its second week of public hearings in the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

The House Intelligence Committee is holding its second week of public hearings in the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

D. Myles Cullen/The White House

The House Intelligence Committee is holding its second week of public hearings in the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

D. Myles Cullen/The White House

D. Myles Cullen/The White House

The House Intelligence Committee is holding its second week of public hearings in the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

Isabella Graf, Guest Columnist

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The following is an op-ed submitted by senior Isabella Graf, who co-founded the Mock Trial Club. She is also a member of Future Business Leaders of America. Want to share on opinion of your own? Send an op-ed to [email protected]

Isabella Graf Guest columnist

Impeachment was never meant to be political. However, the impeachment scandal currently enveloping our country seems to be anything but non-partisan. The grave mischaracterization behind the motivation of the current impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump has implications far greater than those of impeachment process itself.

During the public impeachment hearings that began last week, Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, acknowledged the true weight of these hearings and the impeachment inquiry as a whole during his opening statement.

“These hearings aren’t just about Trump,” he said. “They’re about how the presidency functions (and should function) within our democracy — and about the checks and balances between the legislative and executive branches built into the Constitution.”

The truth in Schiff’s statement is one that transcends far beyond political contentions and the animosity that has divided our country.

Both sides of the political spectrum have immersed themselves in speculation on increasingly partisan narratives that are dangerously detracting the public from what is truly at stake. While support for the impeachment inquiry into President Trump is largely divided among party lines, the reality is the issue before us has nothing to do with political ideology.

The issue that lays before the United States Congress is not the result of a politically motivated choice, but an American duty, a duty to conduct a formal impeachment inquiry into a President when credible evidence arises that suggest he has abused the power of his office, threatening the very foundations on which America was built.

The House of Representatives did not pass a resolution opening the impeachment inquiry because of their distaste for the president; they are pressing forward with impeachment because unlike the president, who has dismissed the inquiry as nothing more than a “Witch Hunt,” they hold the checks and balances that govern this country, and their Constitutional duty of presidential oversight, above any political agenda. Congress will not stand to witness the Constitution erupt in flames of partisanship, and nor should the American people.

It is our duty to conduct a formal impeachment inquiry into a President when credible evidence arises that suggest he has abused the power of his office, threatening the very foundation America was built on.”

In America we value justice. When a crime is committed, we demand due process. We demand the people responsible for injustice be punished for their wrongdoings in order to set a standard for the society we wish to create for ourselves. We hold every American to this same standard of obeying the law, and the President of the United States is no exception.

Furthermore, it seems inconceivable as to why Americans continue to mock, to criticize, to delegitimize the impeachment inquiry into our president, as it is no different. The president is not above the law. The power vested in the executive branch is not his to abuse, and thus the House of Representatives is simply doing their legal duty: protecting America and protecting justice. Congress is not pressing forward with this inquiry on their own will but by the will of the Constitution.

A common argument employed by those who oppose pursuing an impeachment inquiry is the possibility of setting a dangerous precedent. An article published in the Daily Citizen further exploits this supposed danger by stating that “impeachment has now become a political weapon that can be wielded by the minority party in order to damage the reputation of the current president.” Implying that a dangerous precedent is at risk of being set from the introduction of the inquiry is an attempt to deliberately misconstrue the truth by once again weaving politics into the matter.

It is also intrinsically backwards.

The real dangerous precedent at risk of being set would result from the opposite response: a refusal to partake in the inquiry.

As written in the Constitution, impeachable offenses are defined as “Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors.” The ongoing investigation concerns allegations that the President Trump explicitly pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for long-promised military aid, which  would indefinitely fall under the offense of bribery.

I urge you, look past the petty name-calling, look past the biased opinions, and look past the politics, because it is imperative for the survival of our democracy that we seek justice; that we seek the truth.”

Examining the basis of this inquiry, it is clear that failure to conduct a thorough impeachment inquiry would establish precedent that it is lawful for President of the United States to solicit foreign government interference for his own personal political gain. What is truly at stake here is not the transformation of impeachment into a political weapon, but the transformation of the impeachable offenses delineated in the Constitution into merely words on a page that hold no power.  Refusal to go forward with an inquiry would set the precedent that the President of the United States is indeed, above the law.

As America’s youth, the next generation of American leadership, it is profoundly important that we stay well-informed on the goings-on of our government. This becomes increasingly hard to do when you have politicians, news reporters and adults alike spewing a narrative originating from distorted reality that is fueled by the agendas of partisan politics.

It is imperative that we understand the inherent truth behind what this inquiry is about. It is not about politics, and it is not about Trump; it is a testament to who we are as a country, and what kind of democracy we aspire to uphold. So I urge you, look past the petty name-calling, look past the biased opinions, and look past the politics, because it is imperative for the survival of our democracy that we seek justice, that we seek the truth.

 

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