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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Call Trump’s impeachable act bribery, not a high crime or misdemeanor

Trump and Zelensky meet in New York.
President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speak during a meeting in New York on Sept. 25.
(AFP / Getty Images)

To the editor: The U.S. Constitution states, “The president … shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” (“Who blew the whistle on Trump? It doesn’t matter,” editorial, Nov. 5)

Treason is not applicable in the current situation, and “high crimes and misdemeanors” is vague. In fact, Trump and his allies are already saying that whatever the president did, it did not rise to the level of a high crime or a misdemeanor. But what about bribery?

Bribery is defined as when a person pays or promises to pay someone to do an act, usually something that is illegal. The federal election code prohibits a candidate from soliciting or even accepting anything of value from a foreign person. It’s obvious from the partial transcript of his “perfect” phone call with the Ukrainian president that Trump was soliciting a “favor,” namely, for the Ukrainian government to state publicly that it was investigating former Vice President Joe Biden.

What was the payment that Ukraine was to expect from Trump? Two things: First, the delivery of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine that was being held up, and second, an official visit to the White House for President Volodymyr Zelensky. So let’s stop talking about high crimes and misdemeanors and focus instead on bribery.

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Joseph Kagel, Huntington Beach

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To the editor: Trump should have handled the Ukraine situation differently, but no one in the world thinks the president will be convicted and removed from office. So, let’s skip the public hearings and have the Senate vote. Then maybe we can get on with some real legislative activity.

In the meantime, the country is in pretty good economic shape, we are beginning to exit no-win military situations, and we are finally confronting China on trade.

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Tom Bond, Studio City

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To the editor: Protection of whistle-blowers was guaranteed by law even before the adoption of our Constitution when the Continental Congress passed such legislation in 1778.

This legislation was in response to the punishment of two naval officers who lodged a complaint against Commodore Esek Hopkins, George Washington’s chief naval officer, for torturing British prisoners of war.

If Trump and his allies have any respect for the wisdom of our founding fathers, they should quit their attacks on the current whistle-blower.

Vitali Mostovoj, Thousand Oaks

The writer is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel.

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To the editor: Paul Rosenzweig, a lawyer who worked with the independent counsel during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, correctly draws a distinction between the crime and the cover-up, but he doesn’t go far enough.

Clinton’s crime consisted of lying under oath about his affair. He did not try to abuse his authority or subvert democratic institutions. Trump, on the other hand, has done all of that repeatedly.

For starters, shortly before the 2016 election, he paid off an adult film star with whom he allegedly had an affair. That right there is grounds for impeachment. He publicly invited Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, attempted to fire Robert S. Mueller III, and suggested the whistle-blower in the Ukraine affair should be charged with treason. The list goes on.

Clinton was a model president compared to Trump

Alex Murray, Altadena


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