There are those who are casting Tuesday’s announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as partisan and vindictive. According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others, the Democrats are still just upset that Trump won the 2016 election and are determined to find a way to unseat him.
But let’s review what we know. On Aug. 12, 2019, an intelligence official filed a whistleblower complaint with the Intelligence Community Inspector General, Michael Atkinson. Atkinson is, by all accounts a straight shooter who, according to a former colleague in the Justice Department “is not a political guy,” but is rather “a classic career prosecutor who’s only going to call balls and strikes.”
Atkinson determined that the complaint was both credible and urgent and sent two different letters (one dated Sept. 9 and the other Sept. 17) to the congressional intelligence committees, detailing why the complaint “relates to one of the most significant and important” duties of the Director of National Intelligence.
The complaint, which was released this morning, describes what the whistleblower alleges was an attempt by President Trump to use his office to pressure a foreign power to undermine a political opponent for Trump’s own political gain.
This is a serious and deeply troubling allegation, and one that every American, particularly those who consider themselves to be true conservatives, should demand be thoroughly investigated. We must, of course, withhold judgment until all the evidence is brought to light, examined and a verdict is reached. If President Trump is not guilty of this crime, he will be exonerated. If he is, he must be held accountable. This is how the founders of our nation intended for us to protect ourselves against the abuse of power by our elected leaders.
As a lifelong Republican (who is currently unaffiliated with any political party), I would like the impeachment inquiry to proceed precisely because of my conservative values.
Genuine conservative values include a deep respect for our fundamental democratic institutions, norms and ideals; an absolute commitment to the rule of law and to the processes and systems enshrined in the Constitution; and an abiding appreciation of limits and balances of political power. Genuine conservatives place high priority on social stability, national security and preserving the integrity of our elections. Genuine conservatives believe in justice, an enduring moral order and the need for stable, virtuous leaders.
Our Constitution provides a process — a long and complicated one, to be sure — whereby Congress may charge and then either exonerate or convict and remove from office a civil officer of the government, including a sitting president, who has been accused of serious wrongdoing. That process is called impeachment, and it’s one for which we should all be deeply grateful.
This is a time for unity, not further division. This is a time for all of us — conservatives and progressives alike — who love our country, who honor our Constitution, who are committed to the rule of law, to tear down the bulwarks, erase the battle lines and come together on the common ground of ethics and our shared commitment to our foundational democratic ideals. This isn’t partisan. This is an opportunity for our great democratic processes and institutions to work as they were intended to work. And that serves us all.