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Another whistleblower, more calls to hold president ‘accountable’

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Editor- | Last updated: Oct 8, 2019 - 1:24:04 PM

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The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. House Democrats are continuing an impeachment probe of President Donald Trump after a whistleblower reported a July phone call between the president and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the call Mr. Trump pressed for an investigation of political rival Joe Biden and his family.

WASHINGTON—With each passing day since Sept. 24, new evidence emerges, reinforcing a whistleblower complaint that sparked a House impeachment inquiry of President Donald J. Trump. At least one and possibly multiple additional whistleblowers have now come forward implicating the president in wrongdoing.

The second whistleblower, a member of the intelligence community, has “first-hand” information on Mr. Trump’s Ukraine scandal outlined in the first whistleblower’s complaint. The president was accused of “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”

The calls for impeachment then swelled as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) authorized six House committee chairmen to launch official impeachment inquiries. And public opinion shifted in favor of the impeachment inquiry and a formal impeachment by the House and his possible removal from office after a trial by the Senate.

Over the course of the next two weeks, more and more firsthand witnesses, documents, and even statements and messages by Mr. Trump himself, have helped confirm the allegations in the whistleblower complaint that the president repeatedly pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch a corruption probe into Mr. Trump’s campaign rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

But the first official call to impeach Mr. Trump was made on the floor of the House long before those acts were even committed. In May, 2017, Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) accused the president of “obstruction of justice.” Two years later Mr. Green is happy that a majority of his House Democratic colleagues now support impeachment.

“The truth is it was lonely,” Rep. Green said in an interview.

“But that is not unusual when you are called to be part of the avant garde. But there were many people who were continuously saying to me, ‘This is the thing to do. Don’t give up. Don’t stop. Please continue.’ So I did have a good support system among the masses.

“We have been vindicated that many who have persisted and insisted on a course of conduct that would free our country from a reckless, ruthless, lawless president who recognized racism to get elected and who continues to use it when necessary to maintain a relationship with his base,” Mr. Gr

“So in a sense we have been vindicated, those who could see early on that this president was doing things that were harmful to the society. And so I thank you for allowing me to say that, but I don’t want it to appear as though I am claiming vindication for myself only.”

Among the most troubling new web of revelations involved newly-released texts by State Department officials which make it clear that Ukraine would not get military aid or a meeting with President Trump without committing to investigating an energy company that employed Mr. Biden’s son. Only if Ukrainian President Zelensky can convince Mr. Trump that he will “get to the bottom of what happened in 2016” would he be granted a meeting with Mr. Trump, Kurt Volker, the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine told one of Mr. Zelensky’s staff, in a text.

Critics complain that there is substantial evidence that Mr. Trump improperly withheld U.S. military aid to the Ukraine in order to coerce that country’s leader to dig up dirt on his domestic political rival.

“As I said on the phone,” William B. Taylor, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine said in another recently revealed text to Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

The warning signs were plentiful, and there were reportedly even concerns about the reports of the president’s conduct among senior White House staff.

Presidential impeachments are rare in U.S. history, only three times: Andrew Johnson in 1868; Richard Nixon in 1974; and Bill Clinton in 1998. Mr. Johnson’s trial in the Senate was one vote short of the two-thirds needed to remove him from office.

Mr. Nixon resigned from office, rather than face declining public support and GOP defections against him in the Senate which would have likely resulted in his conviction.

Mr. Clinton’s impeachment received only 45 of the 67 votes needed to remove him.

In Mr. Trump’s case, few Republicans have voiced support for his removal, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has vowed in a fundraising appeal launched after the House impeachment announcement, to single-handedly quash the effort in the Senate.

“I think the impeachment that is closest to what we deal with now is Andrew Johnson, in the sense that this president has weaponized bigotry and hatred, which was what Andrew Johnson was doing,” said Rep. Green, who remains steadfast. “And if we don’t engage (the public) and teach this, there will be no guard rails. Future presidents may behave as he has behaved, and maybe even to a greater extent, worse than him.

“We balance that against the harm that is already being caused to the country that will endure for a good length of time. We have to do our duty. You have to honor the Constitution. If we fail to do so, history will judge.

“Of course, we are at the crossroads of accountability. Either we hold the president accountable or we’ll be held accountable,” said Rep. Green.

een continued.