In the current Senate impeachment trial, Republican senators are transforming their party into a Russian rubber-stamp party. Their oath to “do impartial justice” has been completely ignored, along with their oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the constitution. They are willing to ignore relevant witnesses and put President Trump above the law.

Over a dozen House witnesses testified under oath that Trump held up congressionally approved aid to Ukraine, then under attack by Russia. Withholding Ukrainian defense funds directly benefitted Russia. Trump was solely withholding this aid to blackmail the Ukrainians into publicly announcing an investigation into one of his political rivals, Joe Biden.

According to excerpts from his pending book, former Trump national security advisor John Bolton would verify this under oath. Although Trump denies knowing Rudy Giuliani operative Lev Parnas, a just released video proves Trump is lying. That video shows Trump asking how long the Ukrainians could hold out against the Russians without U.S. aid.

Trump’s Senate defenders now claim he should not have been impeached because only Democrats voted for impeachment and because few witnesses had direct knowledge of his extortion. Yet House Democrat efforts to obtain direct witness testimony and documented evidence was blocked by Trump.

Senate Republicans are now blocking these same efforts. Trump appointee Gordon Sondland actually testified that there was a “quid pro quo” and that Trump was blackmailing the Ukrainians, yet House Republicans unanimously voted against impeachment.

Only Russia and Trump attorney Giuliani are claiming Ukrainian involvement in election hacking and Biden crimes, yet Trump still tweets these lies. Only Republican senators oppose testimony of more witnesses with direct knowledge of Trump’s motivations.

After the House vote to impeach Trump, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell announced that he would meet with Trump’s attorneys to make sure that the Senate will not convict Trump in the upcoming Senate. McConnell steadfastly opposes the testimony of any more witnesses with direct knowledge of Trump’s abuse of power.

Trump’s crimes will continue to seep out. We deserved better from our representatives and now deserve better from our senators.

MICHEL WILCOX

Cochranton

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