By EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON
U.S. House of Representatives
It is not without significance that the majority of members in the United States House of Representatives have taken the extraordinary stop of launching an impeachment inquiry into the presidency of Donald J. Trump, focusing on a phone conversation that he had this summer with the president of Ukraine and the activities of those who were allegedly acting on behalf of the administration to conceal the conversation.
I have joined others in asking the president to turn over requested information concerning the phone call to the House Intelligence Committee where the inquiry will be held, and I am hopeful that the president and those around him will be forthcoming.
If the Intelligence Committee determines that the president participated in impeachable offenses, it will then forward its report to the full House where a vote will be taken on whether or not to impeach Trump. If a majority of the House members vote to impeach, the matter will be sent to the U.S. Senate where a trial will be conducted. A president can be removed only if two-thirds of the Senate votes to oust him or her.
Only three presidents in our nation’s history have found themselves facing impeachment. It is a very serious matter. But it was placed in our Constitution by the nation’s founders as a remedy to keep our nation and its government safe.
Specifically, the Intelligence Committee will attempt to determine whether or not during conversations with foreign leaders President Trump made promises or threats that undermined the security of the United States in return for personal gain.
A former official with the Central Intelligence Agency, who has sources in the White House, has alleged that during the phone conversation with the president of Ukraine, President Trump used his authority to solicit information on political opponents that could be used against them in next year’s election. If the official’s complaint is accurate, the president’s conduct was unlawful.
Also, the complaining official, known as a whistleblower, protected by a federal law, has stated that he was told that President Trump and his operatives sought to keep the conversation with the Ukrainian president private by having its contents placed on a separate server in the White House where it would not become public.
The whistleblower’s complaint was passed on to the acting director of national intelligence who described the report as “urgent and important.” He said that the whistleblower had acted in good faith and had followed the law.
This is a sad time for our nation and our government, but we must protect our democracy. Thus, we must move forward!
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives. She also chairs the House committee on Science, Space and Technology.