A sad and scary time for our democracy

Dear Editor:

This is an open letter to Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King and Rep. Jared Golden on the subject of treason.

For the last two years, I have seen the President repeatedly support Putin’s dismissal of the charge that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and call the investigation into the Russian actions a “hoax” and “witch hunt.” I am a 75-year-old white woman who studied American history in college, went to the courthouse to see Nixon’s aides convicted, watched the Iran Contra hearings and watched the Clinton impeachment hearings. I have the 911 Commission report, have read Special Counsel Mueller’s report, watched the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committee Mueller hearings this week; reviewed the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee July 25, 2019, report on Russian Active Measures Campaigns and Interference in the 2016 Election; and now see the news that Director of National Intelligence Coats is retiring on Aug. 15. President Bush’s Communications Director Nicole Wallace stated that no Republican had disputed any of the Volume 1 or 2 Mueller report findings. When I think back about the Nixon administration Watergate trials, the Clinton impeachment trial and the Reagan administration Iran Contra investigation, they pale in comparison to what has been happening since 2015. This is the saddest and scariest time for our democracy I have ever seen.

Sens. Collins and King, you are both on the Intelligence Committee. Here are parts of your July 25 joint press statement supporting the report released this week: “Over the past two years, the Senate Intelligence Committee has investigated Russia’s relentless efforts to interfere in the 2016 election and its continuing efforts to undermine our democratic institutions … pleased that it remained bipartisan,” said Sens. Collins and King. “Our findings are at once deeply concerning and fully expected. As has been previously and unequivocally stated by the intelligence community, it is clear that the Russians executed a sophisticated and serious attack on our democratic processes. There should be no further confusion about who attacked us: it was the Russians, and we need to protect ourselves because if we remain vulnerable, they or other hostile actors will attack us again … the Senate majority leader again blocked much-needed legislation to improve our electoral infrastructure…”

Sens. Collins and King and Rep. Golden, I believe you all take your oath of office seriously: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

In thinking about the possible impeachment inquiry into President Trump, I have reread the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence. One phrase sticks out. “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes…”

However, according to the U.S. Constitution, treason is the crime of giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States — not a “light or transient cause.” I believe the U.S. House has to use the Mueller report, the other ongoing investigations into Trump’s and his family’s and associates’ financial dealings, as well as the unreleased counter intelligence investigation to determine whether President Trump and his associates have committed treasonous acts, which are “high crimes” and therefore impeachable.

Many other actions he has taken, such as dismissing climate change, mistreating asylum seekers and obstructing justice, also need to be on the impeachment inquiry list.

Pam Person


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