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Three days ago (Wednesday, October 9), I wrote, for the first time, to my representative in Congress, Mark Meadows, on the subject of impeachment.
The balance of this document will consist of three sections. The first one is the verbatim text of what I submitted to Mr. Meadows via his website (https://meadows.house.gov/contact/). The second section contains some explanatory notes. The third is a brief conclusion, including a suggestion to the reader.
I am remiss in not having told you this sooner, but I am in favor of an impeachment inquiry.
A more recent development: the White House refusal to cooperate with the inquiry [see Note 1] is itself an impeachable offense. Note that I said "is," not "may be."
So, there is no point in continuing the inquiry [see Note 2]. Instead, the correct course of action for the House is to hold a vote now, not on authorizing the inquiry, but on impeaching the President [see note 3]. If such a vote is held, I would ask that you vote "yes."
Given your statements on related matters [see Note 5], I don't really expect you to do what I ask. Indeed, if you really believe what you have said, then it is, in a sense, appropriate for you to vote according to your beliefs.
I simply regard it as my duty as a citizen to go on record as to what I believe you, and the House as a whole, should do.
/ Thomas Edelson
Note 1: " ... the White House refusal to cooperate with the inquiry ..." This refers to the letter from the White House Counsel of October 8, 2019, which said, in part, "In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the Executive Branch, and all future occupants of the Office of the Presidency, President Trump and his Administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances." "Participate" is a funny word for it, but it seems clear, in the context of events at that time, that the letter is saying: the president will instruct all executive branch employees not to be responsive to impeachment-related requests or subpeonas from Congressional committees.
Note 2: "So, there is no point in continuing the inquiry." I was assuming that the president's order would be obeyed: no further information would be obtainable from executive branch employees, and that without such information, it would be impossible further to strengthen the case for impeachment. I was wrong in the first link of that chain of argument: some persons covered by the president's gag order have already defied it, or indicated that they plan to.
Since I was wrong about that, my own statement that there "is no point in continuing" was quite likely also incorrect. For more on the implications of this, see Note 4.
Note 3: ".. the correct course of action for the House is to hold a vote now [...] on impeaching the President." What I didn't say explicitly here: he could be impeached for his "refusal to participate."
But not just for that. Consider the action which triggered this "formal inquiry" in the first place: the president's urging his Ukrainian counterpart to pursue several lines of investigation, each of which could be expected to be of personal benefit to Trump. Mr. Trump could be impeached for this, too, "now" without continuing the inquiry, and thus developing more evidence for it because no further evidence is needed. The impeachability of those actions is evident in the transcript of the telephone call, as released by the White House itself.
Note 4: I may well have been wrong in saying to Mr. Meadows that there is no point in continuing the inquiry. On the other hand, this does not undermine the argument of Note 3, to the effect that the House would be fully justified in voting out articles of impeachment right now. In short, the decision as to whether to vote now, or to hold more hearings first, is purely a tactical matter: either would be, fundamentally speaking, perfectly appropriate.
Note 5: "... your statements on related matters ..." See, for example, the statement posted on Mr. Meadows' website on September 24, 2019, and available at https://meadows.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=3079. There is no single sentence within this that explicitly states that he opposes the impeachment inquiry, but I think this is clear from the statement as a whole. The first sentence conveys the tone: "From the moment Donald Trump was inaugurated, Washington Democrats have been myopically focused on politically targeting his administration and impeaching him from office."
I originally was going to title this "It's Time to Vote Now." As explained above, I'm no longer so sure about that detail. But of one thing I have no doubt: if you have not already communicated your views on impeachment to your Congressbeing, it would be a really good idea to do so.
This page created: 2019-10-12
This page last modified: 2019-10-12
© Copyright 2019 by Tom Edelson.