The U.S. Senate should have removed President Trump from office. The transcript of his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Zelensky was incomplete but what remained provided ample evidence justifying his removal. In this phone call, President Trump expressed belief in a conspiracy theory universally debunked by U.S. intelligence agencies that Ukrainian oligarchs had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Nobody this gullible should be commander-in-chief. In this phone call, President Trump slandered his ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, a career foreign service officer with an impeccable record of support for U.S. policies. He slandered her because her anti-corruption efforts interfered with the influence-peddling efforts of his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Slandering a U.S. diplomat to advance his attorney’s business dealings violates his oath of office. In this phone call, Trump requested a favor immediately following President Zelensky’s reference to $391 million of security assistance that the U.S. Congress had appropriated for Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression. The favor was for Ukraine to announce an anti-corruption investigation into Vice President Biden, President Trump’s leading political opponent, despite there being no credible evidence of Biden’s involvement in corruption. The implicit linkage of Ukrainian security assistance with doing a political favor for President Trump and a hold placed by the White House on these funds as leverage were subsequently made explicit in sworn testimony by, among others, President Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland. Delaying funds appropriated by congress violated the Impoundment Control Act and constituted illegitimate pressure on Ukraine to do a political favor for President Trump. Finally, President Zelensky volunteered having enjoyed staying at the Trump Tower in New York City, a violation of the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The abuses of power documented in his July 25 phone call with President Zelensky are collectively sufficient to justify President Trump’s immediate removal from office but there are many more, some of them documented in the Mueller Report. President Trump’s abuses of power increased following Attorney General Barr’s interpretation of the Mueller Report, and will almost certainly increase again following the Senate’s acquittal.

William McCarthy

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