Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher who lived from 533 B.C.E. to 483 B.C.E., said, “A man’s character is his fate,” and, “Justice will overtake fabricators of lies and false witnesses.”
Character = behaviors when no one is looking.
Sen. Lyndsey Graham (R) of South Carolina, a “prosecutor” in the U.S. House of Representatives in the late ‘90s during the impeachment and trial of Democrat William Jefferson Clinton, said the process was about the cleansing of the office, honor and integrity. Today, he has completely flipped and sees no reason for concern that the Republican President tried to extort a favor from a foreign leader to help his re-election campaign. False witness? A fabricator of lies?
Last week, the President of the United States confessed to delaying military aide to pressure Ukraine and its new president, Volodymyr Zelensky. The president then asked Mr. Zelensky to lend credence to a debunked Putin-generated conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election and investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter – a favor. This is a violation of the oath of office by weaponizing the office to serve not our national interests but Trump’s personal re-election in 2020.
A whistleblower has come forward with an “urgent” national security complaint that was forwarded to the newly Trump-appointed acting Head of the Department of National Intelligence (DNI), who showed it to the president and the attorney general, William Barr, both of whom were in the complaint, who instructed the DNI not to forward the complaint to Congress as prescribed by law.
Many are calling this complaint, Trump’s admitted “Godfather style” phone calls to Ukraine’s president, a high crime – abuse of power.
One pundit compared this scenario to a hypothetical FDR acknowledging that Winston Churchill needed military assistance with German Luftwaffe attacks in Great Britain, only if Churchill would help find “dirt” on Wendell Willkie, FDR’s opponent in 1940.
Let us not forget who we are dealing with here. Donald Trump was a reality show host and Volodymyr Zelensky was an actor playing a president of Ukraine with a make-believe political party that was formalized when he ran for president. You can’t make this stuff up.
The Constitution gives the House of Representatives “the sole power of Impeachment” (Article I, Section 2) and the Senate “the sole power to try all impeachments” (Article I, Section 3) U.S. Constitution.
In the process, the House serves as Grand Jury and charges the officer “with Treason, Bribery, and other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The House Judicial Committee initiates the activity on the formal articles of impeachment. Further, the House prosecutes the case against the Officer in the Senate with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court acting as Judge.
“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 and Misdemeanors.” (Article II, section 4)
There have been 19 federal officials impeached – two presidents, one senator, one cabinet secretary, and 15 judges. If the House impeaches Donald J Trump, that many expect, it will be the first time that an official has been accused of “betrayal of the country.” (Professor Lawrence Tribe, Harvard)
Our Founders knew that this impeachment process was not perfect. Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 65 knew that having a political body serve as a court creates the possibility of politically motivated trials. He supported this best option available anyway. He further stated that the Supreme Court would be inadequate because of its small size and the prospects the same judges may try an official again once removed from office.
Many believe that this is a “Moment of Truth” for our Republic. Webster defines this as “a critical moment that tests and reveals one’s true self (character) and makes one face the truth”.
The President’s oath: “I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
I think our “Better Angels” will demand our leaders be held accountable for their behaviors.
Hence, our “character is our fate.”
Marshall Ward is a Murray resident who is a member of the Democratic Party. He may be reached at email@example.com.