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Doggett: why I support the articles of impeachment

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By: U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35)
 
Many Caldwell County residents like Donald Trump. I respect their choice, though I respectfully and strongly disagree. But policies and personalities are not at issue in my vote this week to impeach the President. The sole consideration is the preservation of our democratic form of government and our national security under our Constitution.
While most people may have already made up their minds about this, I feel a personal duty to fully inform you why I made this momentous decision. This inquiry has never been a whodunit. Trump confessed he did it. His own appointees confirmed it. Then his chief of staff told Americans to get used to his misconduct.
Lockhart values integrity. “Your word is your bond” still has meaning. You wouldn’t accept less from a mayor or school trustee. The same should apply to the President. We have a clear choice between the sworn testimony of patriotic military and foreign service officers who selflessly risked their careers, versus a President engaged in selfish wrongdoing. 
Truth matters. Despite video of Trump seeking help from Russia, China, and Ukraine—despite official notes showing his request for Ukraine to do a personal, political “favor” in return for releasing desperately-needed military aid—Republican colleagues reflexively support his claim of having done nothing wrong.   
The President’s hand-picked EU Ambassador, Gordon Sondland, who had donated $1 million to Trump, when asked, “Was there a quid pro quo?” responded, “The answer is yes.” Some insist on ignoring all this, contending that Trump’s claim of a “perfect” call represents the sole proof required. 
I think his call and related conduct was perfectly wrong.
If any others had evidence establishing his innocence, Trump would have urged their testimony. Instead, he denied access to both witnesses and documents, relying exclusively upon character assassination and witness intimidation.  
None of those who did testify disagreed on the essential facts. Rather than offering any real defense, Congressional Republicans attacked patriotic public servants, including a military officer who literally bled in defense of our Nation, and Trump’s own appointees, who simply told the horrible truth of what they observed. Meanwhile, Trump branded any fellow Republican who deviated from him as “human scum.”
Three critical issues are at stake. First, can our democracy survive if Trump’s expansive view of his power is upheld? He insists that he is constitutionally empowered to do whatever he wants, that while President he can neither be investigated nor prosecuted for any crime, and, further, that he can ignore any impeachment proceeding. These are the claims of a wannabe-tyrant.
Such a totally unrestrained President would change America forever. Our founders developed a system of checks and balances to protect us from an all-powerful executive. We elect a president, not a king. The standard that we set now applies to all future presidents.
Second, can the President use taxpayer money for personal gain? The White House memo indicates that, in response to the Ukrainian president’s interest in acquiring additional U.S. weapons, Trump said: “I would like you to do us a favor, though.” He wielded the full force of the presidency not to protect America, but solely to advance his reelection. Interfering with our national security—compromising the integrity of our elections—for personal gain represents an abuse of power and betrayal of his oath of office.  
Third, will we adopt a policy of open borders to permit foreigners to decide our elections? Foreign nations have their own agendas, especially adversaries like China and Russia. American citizens should be the only ones deciding our future.
If foreign interference is promoted in elections, we will never again have a truly free election. And without free elections, we are no longer free. 
Rep. Barbara Jordan, explaining her Nixon impeachment vote, said: “My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.”
Neither can I sit idly by.
Whether we agree or disagree about how to resolve this important matter, know that my personal decision is based upon the solemn responsibility to safeguard our national security and our constitutional system of government. Your opinion is always welcome.

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