To the editor: In his op-ed article, former Republican Party strategist Scott Jennings fails to address the root cause of Donald Trump’s impeachment: The president abused his power by illegally withholding military aid to Ukraine that had been allocated by Congress.
Instead of addressing the issue, Jennings misleadingly compares the Obama administration working with U.S. allies to remove a corrupt prosecutor with the secret effort of Trump to have Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden for his own political benefit. These two cases couldn’t be more different.
Most Americans, including many Republicans, want witnesses to be called to testify in the Senate trial. The president’s defenders claim he didn’t abuse his power, so why are they so worried about people with direct knowledge of the events testifying under oath?
Of course, the back-up argument from Trump’s defenders is that it is not impeachable for a president to abuse his power. I don’t buy that, and neither do the vast majority of Americans who want witnesses called.
David Bendall, Aliso Viejo
To the editor: Jennings makes the case for Democrats by his own hand.
He’s disgusted with House impeachment manager Rep. Adam B. Schiff’s (D-Burbank) reckless representations during the Mueller investigation but is silent on Trump’s 16,000-plus lies since taking office.
Jennings sees as unfair the sins of Hunter Biden not rising to the level of a Trump impeachment but omits several key facts. Hunter Biden did not join the board at the Ukrainian company Burisma until April 2014, two years after the investigation into that company’s owner was initiated by Ukrainian Prosecutor Gen. Viktor Pshonka.
Viktor Shokin, who became prosecutor general in 2015, inherited the investigation but did nothing to further it. It was an international coalition that demanded his resignation.
Lastly, Jennings states that every president before and including Trump has asserted executive privilege and resisted congressional oversight. To be clear, Trump has never formally invoked executive privilege in this investigation. And yes, the House could have been more patient and tenacious about subpoenas for witnesses and documents.
As a former criminal defense attorney, I appreciate a good procedural argument, but as a taxpaying citizen, I am more interested in the truth.
Laura Hoffman, Upland
To the editor: As a Democrat, I agree with much of what Jennings writes.
Democrats cannot get over having someone so wildly unqualified become the most powerful person on the planet. And, given that Trump has been in violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, was a conspirator in violating campaign finance laws and openly sought Russia’s help in getting elected, yes, he should have been impeached long ago.
Jennings is right that Republicans are not hypocrites. The GOP now stands for nothing other than increasing its wealth and holding on to power, and losing Trump as their leader would be devastating to that cause.
Their behavior is exactly in keeping with their values.
John Bauman, Los Angeles