By Naveed Jamali* – Newsweek
12/6/19 – With the announcement by Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday that she instructed key House chairmen to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, the expected outcome of the inquiry has been formalized. But for many Republicans and Trump supporters across America, the question remains: Is this a legitimate impeachment or simply an attempt to undo the 2016 election?
Republicans lawmakers and media figures are throwing everything they’ve got behind the latter narrative, calling the investigation a “sham,” a “circus” and a “power grab.” That’s why Pelosi’s explanation on Thursday and going forward is so critical. If she wants to push more Americans off the fence, she must establish trust in the process and relay the reality of the situation: This impeachment is not about partisanship; it is about Trump’s abuse of power.
And that’s exactly what she has done.
Even when baited, she refused to stray from the facts. The press conference ended with Sinclair reporter James Rosen asking Pelosi if she “hates” the president.
“I don’t hate anybody,” the speaker shot back, returning to the podium.
The impeachment inquiry, she explained, is not about the election. “This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the president’s violation of his oath of office.”
Pelosi forcefully made the case that Democrats’ motivation is not their personal dislike of Trump, but his own actions. Actions that are no longer in question, thanks to a mountain evidence and testimony.
Hearing Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Mick Mulvaney, two Trump appointees, declare that Trump’s push for an investigation into the Bidens by Ukraine was indeed a quid pro quo should make it hard to paint impeachment as a partisan effort by Democrats.
Republicans know the facts prove the impeachment is legitimate, and so they are denying them. In a report released Monday, they argued Trump did nothing wrong in his dealings with Ukraine and has not abused the power of his office.
The sole constitutional scholar they brought to testify before the House Judiciary Committee this week, Jonathan Turley, argued that more time for an investigation was needed and more witnesses should be brought it—ignoring the fact that the president had directed those subpoenaed to not participate.
Furthermore, Republicans kept discussing Hunter Biden and his appointment to Burisma, all the while ignoring the numerous allegations of abuse of office by Trump.
From appointing his daughter and son-in-law to hold government positions, to firing FBI Director James Comey, to violating the emoluments clause and now to pressuring Ukraine to announce an investigation into a political rival, Trump’s presidency has always been defined by what benefits him personally and not the United States.
Instead, Republicans focused on painting the Democrats as motivated for a hate of Trump. It’s why Pelosi’s answer to the question about her motivation was right. This impeachment is not about Trump’s policies, nor does it seek to nullify the election. Rather, it is about whether a president who abuses his position for personal gain should be removed from office.
*Naveed Jamali is a columnist for Newsweek who spent three years working undercover for the FBI against Russian military intelligence. He tells the story in his book How to Catch a Russian Spy. He is a member of Left of Bang, a group of military veterans working to prevent gun violence. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.?????
Annex (By James Walker, Newsweek):
Donald Trump Tweets 105 Times In Single Day, Attacking Impeachment Inquiry and Top Democrats
President Donald Trump put out more than 100 tweets on Sunday, sharing attacks on the impeachment inquiry with his 67 million followers.
The commander-in-chief tweeted a total of 105 times yesterday, or a little more than four times per hour on average, with most of his activity taking place between 10 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. The majority of his posts were retweets of content posted by other Twitter users.
Trump’s tweets and re-posts on the platform were largely aimed at the impeachment process and Democrats leading the inquiry, but CNN and MMA fighter Tito Ortiz were also mentioned by the president.
His attacks on the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry came ahead of key hearings scheduled for Monday that will see Democratic lawyer Barry Berke and his Republican counterpart Stephen Castor present opening statements for and against impeachment before the House Judiciary Committee.
Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman and GOP counsel Castor will then outline evidence for and against impeachment in front of the House Intelligence Committee. The presentations are due to be broadcast live from 9.00 am ET on the House Judiciary Committee’s YouTube stream.
In a tweet about the impeachment inquiry posted Sunday morning, President Trump said: “Less than 48 hours before start of the Impeachment Hearing Hoax, on Monday, the No Due Process, Do Nothing Democrats are, believe it or not, changing the Impeachment Guidelines because the facts are not on their side. When you can’t win the game, change the rules!”
The commander-in-chief also retweeted attacks on impeachment tweeted by GOP congressmen, including one post by Rep. Jodey Arrington calling the process a “charade” and another from House Republican Whip Steve Scalise suggesting the inquiry was a “scam.”
Democrats spearheading the impeachment process against Trump were further targeted during the president’s Sunday tweeting spree, with House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff dubbed “corrupt” and a “criminal” for releasing phone records in the panel’s impeachment inquiry report.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who launched the inquiry on September 24, was also the subject of several retweets from the president.
Posts about the California Democrat shared by Trump included a Mark Levin tweet calling Pelosi’s rule as Speaker “fascistic” and a Trump War Room tweet linking a Guardian op-ed that argued she was “bungling” the inquiry.
The president also took aim at CNN following reports of its poor ratings performance between November 25 and December 1, arguing that the network was a “ratings disaster” that had “lost all credibility.”
Newsweek contacted the White House for further comment but did not receive a response at time of publication. The House Intelligence Committee, Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, Speaker Pelosi and CNN were also approached for comment.
President Trump’s barrage of attacks on impeachment and Democrats leading the inquiry came after the White House sent a letter to Nadler on Friday attacking the impeachment inquiry while a senior administration official told Fox News it would not be participating in hearings
“Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats, and would constitute the most unjust, highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation’s history,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in his letter.
In an effort to draw people’s attention to anything other than the latest impeachment inquiry hearing’s today, Trump tweeted on Sunday that the Inspector General report into the FBI investigation of his election campaign would be released today.
“I.G. report out tomorrow,” the president said. “That will be the big story!”
Earlier in his marathon day of tweeting, the president’s attention was focused on mixed martial arts.
Congratulating Tito Ortiz on his Combate Americas victory against Alberto Del Rio on Saturday night, and beginning a long day of posting, the president tweeted: “Congratulations to @TitoOrtiz on tonight’s huge WIN, a Great American Patriot!”
A chart tracking President Trump’s total tweets per month since from 2016 to November this year, provided by Statista.