I am the state

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In this Oct. 21, 2019 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House.  Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

In this Oct. 21, 2019 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House. Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual writers in the opinion section do not reflect the views and opinions of The Daily Campus or other staff members. Only articles labeled “Editorial” are the official opinions of The Daily Campus.

DISCLAIMER: I work with and am a part of many organizations on campus and the views I have shared here are not reflective of those organizations. 

Last week in The Daily Campus, there was an article on impeachment.  The article quoted a self-described Republican saying, “President Trump asked Ukraine to continue with the investigation into shady dealings that involved American politicians, shady dealings that should be known to the American public.” This is simply untrue. What pushed me to write this, more than that, is an observed lack of knowledge people have on the president’s actions. This piece is an endeavor to clear up falsehoods and show that a love for this country entails support of impeachment. 

On July 19, congressionally approved aid was withheld from Ukraine. Senior White House officials were told to tell lawmakers the aid was being held up due to “inter-agency delays.”   

Less than a week later, President Trump called Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to congratulate him on his victory. After some self-aggrandizement and a few shallow shots at the German chancellor, President Trump laid out all the ways the U.S. supports Ukraine, which is followed with the president asking, “I would like you to do us a favor though,”. This led Trump to repeat a long debunked rumor that the DNC is hiding their server in Ukraine and he told Zelenskyy that he should look into it. That request was bookended by another request to “look into” Joe Biden as well. There was no investigation to continue. The Burisma probe was long over, and that probe in of itself started long before Hunter Biden got there and was long closed by the time Trump called Zelenskyy.   

Oh, and if someone wants to talk about Hunter Biden and “unethical behavior,” I suggest you first look into the $82 million that Jared and Ivanka made working in the White House last year, or the President’s personal attorney traveling the world to prevent free and fair elections with a company called “Fraud Guarantee.” 

This is where there can be no disagreement. The president of the United States ordered the word-for-word transcript of the call with President Zelenskyy to be moved from the normal data archives to a secure server. The secure server in question is to be used only for code word classified material. The nature of code word classified material is that if this information was disseminated, then it would endanger the national security of the United States.  By moving the transcript there, the president is saying the transcript, if released, would endanger the country. The transcript does not contain any such information, as proved by the Trump administration’s declassification of the document as soon as its existence was revealed.  What the transcript does contain is the president of the United States asking the president of Ukraine to investigate the DNC and Joe Biden, both of which are his political rivals. The president of the United States moving politically damaging information to this server is saying-what is damaging to me, is damaging to the country. That is tantamount to saying, “I am the state.” In moving this transcript, the president is showing everyone what he has always thought.  And this is exactly what the founders intended to prevent against.   

Impeachment should not be looked at as a means to an end. The consideration of impeachment should not be based around whether or not it will be successful in the other house of Congress, but based in a fundamental question: If the president is the state, then where are the people? Impeachment should be a moral and constitutional question posed to each and every lawmaker in this nation. The founders empowered the “people’s house” with the sole authority of leveling charges. They didn’t just give the House of Representatives this an an option, but a responsibility to check an authoritarian in the White House. John Jay wrote Federalist Papers 2-5 on the threats foreign influence poses to our democracy and Federalist 65 specifies the necessity of the impeachment clause. Impeachment is not a win for Democrats and not a siren call for Republicans; impeachment is our opportunity to tell the world and future generations that this kind of behavior is not acceptable, and will not be tolerated. The House answered this question in 1974 with the Nixon tapes, will this House do the same?  


 Walter Dodson is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at walter.dodson@uconn.edu.

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