The Democrats’ big day has finally come: the final debate and vote over their resolution to impeach President Donald Trump for the “high crimes and misdemeanors” of alleged “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress.”
To kick off the very “solemn” proceeding Wednesday, the Democrat leading the impeachment charge against Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, took to the floor of what she described as “this temple of Democracy” and felt compelled to first remind her colleagues, and everyone else watching, how to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
“My colleagues, this morning and every morning, when we come together members rise and pledge allegiance to the flag,” Pelosi said in her scripted introductory statement. “Every day, all across America, children in schools, members of the military, officials and those, uh, civically engaged also pledge allegiance to the flag.”
“Let us recall what that pledge says,” she continued, placing her right hand above her heart. “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic…” at this point Pelosi paused to point to the sign to her right that read “To the Republic for which it stands…,” and repeated, “to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
NOW: Speaker Nancy Pelosi addresses House ahead of impeachment vote, invoking the text of the Pledge of Allegiance — "and to the Republic for which it stands" https://t.co/VVWBVAn92f pic.twitter.com/G4rtbGNdCH
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) December 18, 2019
The speaker went on to tie the pledge to what she insisted is the driving force behind trying to remove the duly elected president from office: defending the Republic.
“The Republic for which it stands is what we are here to talk about today,” Pelosi explained. “A Republic if we can keep it,” she added, referencing the famous quote by Benjamin Franklin.
“We gather together under the dome of this temple of democracy to exercise one of the most solemn powers that this body can take: the impeachment of the President of the United States,” the speaker continued. “No member, regardless of party or politics, comes to Congress to impeach a president, but every one of us, as our first act as a member of Congress, stood on this historic House floor before our beautiful American flag and raised our hands in this sacred oath.”
Pelosi then reminded her fellow members of Congress what they pledged that fateful day: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
CNN Newsroom has a longer clip of Pelosi’s opening lines (h/t Twitchy):
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi begins impeachment debate with the Pledge of Allegiance.
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) December 18, 2019
As for why exactly the Democrats believe that Trump now constitutes an “enemy” of the Constitution, the Democrats in their impeachment resolution — a resolution that has not only failed to gain any support from Republicans but has also failed to get full support from Democrats — accuse Trump of “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress,” which Republicans and many legal analysts have dismissed as vague and unimpeachable.
Below are excerpts of the Democrats’ resolution, first on their charge of “abuse of power”:
Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election. He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage. President Trump also sought to pressure the Government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official United States Government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations. President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit. In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process. He thus ignored and injured the interests of the Nation.
From the article on “obstruction of Congress”:
The House of Representatives has engaged in an impeachment inquiry focused on President Trump’s corrupt solicitation of the Government of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 United States Presidential election. As part of this impeachment inquiry, the Committees undertaking the investigation served subpoenas seeking documents and testimony deemed vital to the inquiry from various Executive Branch agencies and offices, and current and former officials.
In response, without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas. President Trump thus interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the “sole Power of Impeachment” vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.
This conduct, Democrats claim, demonstrates that Trump “will remain a threat to the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.”