Impeaching Donald Trump seemed like a distraction from important things we need to accomplish in our country until this week. Now revelations about the president’s bullying of another foreign leader — Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine — have changed America’s to-do list.
Consider these jaw-dropping facts. We now know that the day after Robert S. Mueller III testified to Congress about Russian interference in our election, President Trump got on a phone with another foreign power — this time Ukraine — and insisted they turn up political dirt on his prime political opponent in the next election, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Of course, the transcript of that call will eventually become public. But the facts of the call are not in dispute. The president has already said that he did it. And while he said he did not apply overt pressure to Ukraine’s president, he has also said, it would “have been OK if I did.”
Apparently, this corrupt exercise of presidential power was too much for Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, which first broke the story that an intelligence official filed an official whistleblower complaint about Trump’s outrageous call. According to the Journal, the president requested Mr. Zelensky investigate Biden no less than eight times. Military aid, which was expected by Ukraine and authorized by Congress, was mysteriously held up by the White House for weeks.
Adding the final nail on the coffin, at the beginning of September, Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, went to Kiev to talk directly with Mr. Zelensky. Mr. Murphy reports that Ukraine’s president made it clear he believed U.S. military aid was being withheld because he had not launched an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden — and complained that President Trump insisted he do so.
All allegations of wrongdoing by the Bidens in Ukraine have been utterly debunked. But that hasn’t stopped a furious conspiracy campaign on social media — not unlike the Pizzagate conspiracy pushed during 2016 to confuse voters about Hillary Clinton — to confuse Americans about the facts.
It’s happening again if we let it. But we can’t do that.
Mr. Trump’s “shoot somebody” in the Middle of Fifth Avenue and not “lose any voters” display of criminality regarding Ukraine — in plain sight of the entire intelligence community, Congress, the public and now all foreign leaders in the entire world community — demands our response.
This historical moment was anticipated by the Founding Fathers, who made clear that foreign intervention in America was a threat that must be countered. In fact, this very worry was a driving issue in the conversations of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. It’s why only a natural-born citizen can become president here; it’s why they put in an Emoluments Clause.
Now, 232 years later, the Founding Fathers are calling us to account. It’s a democracy if we can keep it, they are saying. And it’s not just elected political leaders that must act. Americans of every stripe and party, of every political leaning, of every faith and color, every age, every income — each and every one of us must soberly consider whether we want to live in a country led by a president who conspires with foreign nations to affect our domestic elections and governance, or whether we want to live free.
If you, like me, want the right to govern your own country — free of the intrusion of foreign powers — you must speak out for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Nancy Langer (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a human rights activist who has worked on four continents for such entities as the U.S. government, the United Nations, and faith-based groups like Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. A Baltimore native, she is a mother of two boys.