It’s a surreal moment for the nation.
Within days, perhaps hours, the US House of Representatives will begin impeachment proceedings against Donald J. Trump for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” He’ll be the third president impeached in the history of our republic.
It has been a slow and painful process, and that is for the best. A deliberative and thoughtful set of hearings before the House Judiciary Committee unearthed new and damning evidence of this president’s malfeasance. It has long been suspected that Trump directly sought to use his office to interfere in our upcoming elections.
The two charges expected to be formally made by the House on Dec. 18 include “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress,” both related to his well-documented attempt to use his office to “solicit and pressure a foreign government, Ukraine, to investigate his domestic political rival” and to try to prevent key witnesses from offering testimony about that abuse before Congress.
One of our two delegates in the House — Ayanna Pressley— was beating the drumbeat for impeachment as early as last April. At that time, she cited the indictments and pleas of misdeeds related to the 2016 campaign, much of it outlined in the Mueller report.
But not all Democrats were as gung-ho at the time. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was far more cautious and resisted calls from some in her party to impeach the president during the Mueller cycle. Dorchester’s other House delegate Stephen F. Lynch took heat over the summer from more left-leaning constituents who wanted him to join the impeachment bandwagon. According to the Brockton Enterprise, Lynch faced some boos during a town hall forum held in Braintree in August when he publicly lamented the risks of impeaching Trump, only to hand the president a political victory in the form of an acquittal.
This week, however, Lynch issued a full-throated statement backing a House resolution to impeach the president. His statement reads, in full: “After carefully considering the weight of the evidence and listening to witness depositions, I firmly believe there is clear and convincing evidence, beyond any reasonable doubt, that President Trump, aided by others acting at his direction, conspired to pressure a foreign power to interfere in our 2020 democratic elections. The evidence also plainly demonstrates that President Trump used the power of his office to obstruct a duly authorized Congressional inquiry into his conduct and repeatedly caused others to refuse to cooperate or comply with properly authorized subpoenas, all in violation of the law and Constitution.
“For these reasons and holding myself bound by my oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution,” I intend to support the Articles of Impeachment soon to be offered before the House of Representatives.”
In voting to put the president on trial this week, Lynch and Pressley will be on the right side of history, notwithstanding the final vote in the Republican-controlled Senate. Inaction in the face of such overwhelming evidence showing this president’s reckless attempt to use the Oval Office for petty, personal gain would set a terrible precedent for our nation. Trump’s dangerous bombast — his frequent misogynistic, xenophobic, and downright racist remarks— and his ill-advised policies might have been fodder for a year-off election. But, this is another matter altogether. This is about preserving the integrity of our republic at its very nucleus— the sanctity of our democracy and the highest office in the land.
Let’s get on with it.
– Bill Forry