Thanks to Rachel Maddow at MSNBC for the tip earlier tonight that a number of newspaper editorial boards have recently spoken out in support of the Articles of Impeachment against Donald J. Trump currently being considered by the House Judiciary Committee. Much of that comment comes on the back of the results of the House Intelligence Committee inquiry
Here are a few extracts from editorials over the past few days from coast to coast. I’ve just updated this post with extracts from excoriating statement by the Editorial Board of the New York Times Editorial of Saturday 14 December 2019.
Impeach. By The Editorial Board of The New York Times. 14 December 2019.
IN THE END, the story told by the two articles of impeachment approved on Friday morning by the House Judiciary Committee is short, simple and damning: President Donald Trump abused the power of his office by strong-arming Ukraine, a vulnerable ally, holding up hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid until it agreed to help him influence the 2020 election by digging up dirt on a political rival.
When caught in the act, he rejected the very idea that a president could be required by Congress to explain and justify his actions, showing “unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance” in the face of multiple subpoenas. He made it impossible for Congress to carry out fully its constitutionally mandated oversight role, and, in doing so, he violated the separation of powers, a safeguard of the American republic.
By stonewalling as no previous president has, Donald Trump has left Congress with no choice but to press ahead to a Senate trial. The president insists he is innocent of any wrongdoing, yet he refuses to release any administration documents or allow any administration officials to testify — though, if his assertions are in fact true, those officials would presumably exonerate him. He refused to present any defense before the House whatsoever, asserting a form of monarchical immunity that Congress cannot let stand.
It’s regrettable that the House moved as fast as it did, without working further through the courts and through other means to hear from numerous crucial witnesses. But Democratic leaders have a point when they say they can’t afford to wait, given the looming electoral deadline and Mr. Trump’s pattern of soliciting foreign assistance for his campaigns. Even after his effort to extract help from Ukraine was revealed, the president publicly called on China to investigate his rival. Asked as recently as October what he hoped the Ukrainians would do in response to his infamous July 25 call with their president, Mr. Trump declared: “Well, I would think that, if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer.”
So far, Republican legislators have shown little sign of treating this constitutional process with the seriousness it demands. Instead, they have been working overtime to abet the president’s wrongdoing. They have spread toxic misinformation and conspiracy theories to try to justify his actions and raged about the unfairness of the inquiry, complaining that Democrats have been trying to impeach Mr. Trump since he took office.
The Republicans’ most common defenses of Mr. Trump’s behavior fall flat in the face of the evidence.
There is, above all, the summary of the July 25 phone call between Mr. Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president. Mr. Trump still insists that summary exonerates him. It doesn’t — which is why White House officials promptly locked it in a special computer system.
Then there is the sworn testimony of multiple government officials, including several appointed by Mr. Trump himself, all of whom confirmed the essential story line: For all the recent claims about his piety regarding Ukrainian corruption, Mr. Trump did not “give a shit about Ukraine.” He only wanted the “deliverable” — the announcement of an investigation into the Bidens, and also into a debunked theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.
ASSUMING MR. TRUMP IS IMPEACHED, the case will go to the Senate, where he will have the chance — on far more friendly territory — to mount the defense he refused to make to the House. Rather than withholding key witnesses, he should be demanding sworn appearances by people like Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, and John Bolton, the former national security adviser.
As recently as a few weeks ago, some Republicans seemed to want to get to the bottom of things. Even Trump’s footman, Senator Lindsey Graham, said, “If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.”
The time for such expressions of public spirit has, apparently, passed. “I’ve written the whole process off,” Mr. Graham said during the impeachment hearings. “I think this is a bunch of B.S.”
Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, says there will be “no difference between the president’s position and our position in how to handle this,” as he told Sean Hannity of Fox last Thursday. Before the House had cast a single vote on impeachment, Mr. McConnell said there was “no chance” the Senate would vote to convict.
For now, that leaves the defense of the Constitution, and the Republic, to the House of Representatives.
Impeach President Donald Trump: Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board. 11 December 2019
Since taking office as president in 2017, Donald Trump has used the unfiltered power of social media to broadcast his daily disdain and mockery of rivals, and to promote his version of the truth.
That he has continued this mockery to the impeachment process — the most serious action Congress can initiate beyond a declaration of war — is of grave concern.
The first article charges Trump with abuse of power for “soliciting the interference of a foreign government to influence the 2020 presidential election” …
But it is the second article – the obstruction of Congress, by his “unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas” — that should have us all frightened … In defying these orders, and through his continued ridicule of the impeachment process and the members of Congress who initiated it, Trump has severely disrespected his office and the document he swore to protect and uphold. Should this process end with a trial and a Senate vote to remove him from office — a prospect that seems highly unlikely — it’s not hard to imagine that he would insist that the process was invalid and refuse to go. Such an act of tyranny is what the Constitution was created to protect against. That is why this impeachment process is urgent and should move forward without delay.
The impeachment investigation has been an attempt to get to the truth about the president’s abuse of power. One career civil servant after another has testified to the same facts confirming the whistle-blower complaint that triggered this investigation. Those facts have not been disputed, even by most of the president’s defenders … And that is why we endorse a vote to impeach the president. While his removal from office is unlikely, his crimes against the country, and the Constitution, warrant that outcome
Trump’s abuses of power are worthy of several articles of impeachment. But two are enough. Los Angeles Times Editorial Board. 11 December 2019.
President Trump’s myriad abuses of power could easily provide the basis for several articles of impeachment. But on Tuesday House Democrats unveiled only two, both related to Trump’s unconscionable attempt to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations that would benefit him politically … The first article alleges that Trump abused the power of his office when he “solicited the interference of a foreign power, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States presidential election.”
The second article accuses Trump of obstructing Congress by ordering “the unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives” pursuant to its power of impeachment.
By emphasizing that the defiance by the White House was “categorical” and “indiscriminate,” the drafters of the article have anticipated an argument by Trump’s defenders that he has the right to assert privilege to block the testimony of key advisors.
But Trump has gone far beyond asserting executive privilege in narrow cases. Rather, he has refused across the board to cooperate with an investigation that his White House counsel has dismissed as a “purported ‘impeachment inquiry’” and a “charade.”
Still, no one should think that these two articles exhaust the case against Trump, whose contempt for the rule of law and for the norms of governance seem to lead him regularly to the brink of what’s acceptable — and beyond.
But with their careful and damning explication of the Ukraine scandal, the articles more than suffice to justify his impeachment.
Impeach the president. Boston Globe Editorial. 5 December 2019.
From the founding of this country, the power of the president was understood to have limits. Indeed, the Founders would never have written an impeachment clause into the Constitution if they did not foresee scenarios where their descendants might need to remove an elected president before the end of his term in order to protect the American people and the nation.
The question before the country now is whether President Trump’s misconduct is severe enough that Congress should exercise that impeachment power, less than a year before the 2020 election. The results of the House Intelligence Committee inquiry, released to the public on Tuesday, make clear that the answer is an urgent yes.
But the president also betrayed the US taxpayer to advance that corrupt agenda. In order to pressure Ukraine into acceding to his request, Trump’s administration held up $391 million in aid allocated by Congress. In other words, he demanded a bribe in the form of political favors in exchange for an official act — the textbook definition of corruption.
Impeachment does not require a crime. The Constitution entrusts Congress with the impeachment power in order to protect Americans from a president who is betraying their interests. And it is very much in Americans’ interests to maintain checks and balances in the federal government; to have a foreign policy that the world can trust is based on our national interest instead of the president’s personal needs; to control federal spending through their elected representatives; to vote in fair elections untainted by foreign interference. For generations, Americans have enjoyed those privileges. What’s at stake now is whether we will keep them. The facts show that the president has threatened this country’s core values and the integrity of our democracy. Congress now has a duty to future generations to impeach him.
Impeach President Trump. USA TODAY’s Editorial Board. 11 December 2019.
“Put your own narrow interests ahead of the nation’s, flout the law, violate the trust given to you by the American people and recklessly disregard the oath of office, and you risk losing your job.”
USA TODAY’s Editorial Board wrote those words two decades ago when it endorsed the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, a Democrat. Now, in graver circumstances with America’s system of checks and balances at stake, they apply to another president facing impeachment, Republican Donald Trump.
The current board has made no secret of our low regard for Trump’s character and conduct. Yet, as fellow passengers on the ship of state, we had hoped the captain would succeed. And, until recently, we believed that impeachment proceedings would be unhealthier for an already polarized nation than simply leaving Trump’s fate up to voters next November.
Approve articles of impeachment
Both articles of impeachment drafted by the House Judiciary Committee warrant approval:
Abuse of power. Testimony before the House Intelligence Committee produced overwhelming evidence that Trump wanted Ukraine’s new president to announce investigations into the Bidens and a debunked theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.
To pressure the Ukrainian leader, Trump withheld a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in congressionally approved security aid, funding that was released only after an unnamed official blew the whistle.
Obstruction of Congress. Trump has met the impeachment investigation with outright and unprecedented defiance. The White House has withheld documents, ordered executive branch agencies not to comply with subpoenas and directed administration officials not to testify.
Our support for Trump’s impeachment by the House — we’ll wait for the Senate trial to render a verdict on removal from office — has nothing to do with policy differences. We have had profound disagreements with the president on a host of issues, led by his reckless deficits and inattention to climate change, both of which will burden generations to come. Policy differences are not, however, grounds for impeachment. Constitutional violations are.
Bill Clinton should be impeached and stand trial “because the charges are too serious and the evidence amassed too compelling” to ignore, the Editorial Board wrote in December 1998.
The same can be said this December about the allegations facing Donald Trump. Only much more so.
The case for impeachment. Washington Post Editorial Board. 10 December 2019
The House of Representatives is moving toward a momentous decision about whether to impeach a president for only the third time in U.S. history. The charges brought against President Trump by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday are clear: that he abused his office in an attempt to induce Ukraine’s new president to launch politicized investigations that would benefit Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign, and that he willfully obstructed the subsequent congressional investigation.
Because of that unprecedented stonewalling, and because House Democrats have chosen to rush the impeachment process, the inquiry has failed to collect important testimony and documentary evidence that might strengthen the case against the president. Nevertheless, it is our view that more than enough proof exists for the House to impeach Mr. Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, based on his own actions and the testimony of the 17 present and former administration officials who courageously appeared before the House Intelligence Committee.
We believe Mr. Trump should receive a full trial in the Senate, and it is our hope that more senior officials will decide or be required to testify during that proceeding, so that senators, and the country, can make a fair and considered judgment about whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office. We have reserved judgment on that question. What is important, for now, is that the House determine whether Mr. Trump’s actions constituted an abuse of power meriting his impeachment and trial.
We take no pleasure in recommending the president’s impeachment and are aware of the considerable costs and risks: further dividing and inflaming our politics; turning impeachment into one more tool of partisan warfare; perhaps giving Mr. Trump unwarranted aid in his reelection effort. But the House must make its decision based on the facts and merits, setting aside unpredictable second-order effects.
That is particularly true because, unlike any previous president, Mr. Trump has refused all cooperation with the congressional inquiry. He has prevented the testimony of a dozen present or former senior officials and the release of documents by the White House, the Office of Management and Budget and three Cabinet departments.
The House Intelligence Committee’s report rightly warns that “this unprecedented campaign of obstruction” poses a serious threat to U.S. democracy. “The damage to our system of checks and balances . . . will be long-lasting and potentially irrevocable if the President’s ability to stonewall Congress goes unchecked.”
Congress prepared an article of impeachment against President Richard M. Nixon for a less comprehensive refusal to cooperate. Mr. Trump’s actions demand that Congress again act to protect a foundation of U.S. democracy.