Letter to the Editor

Goodbye, constitutional balance of powers

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

This past week the Senate acquitted President Trump of impeachment charges by holding a sham trial without calling any witnesses or producing any documents. The Trump team stated his actions were proper because they were made "in the public interest." Mr. Dershowitz essentially argued the president cannot be impeached for anything! All Republican senators, except Romney, accepted this argument. The whole process shames and belittles the Senate and imprints in history the legacy of individual senators. But, more importantly it tosses our Constitution based upon three equal branches of government out the window. The Senate decision sets a precedent for Trump or any other future president, regardless of party, to do anything as long as it is declared to be "in the public interest" or "for national security." This has disastrous ramifications to be addressed later.

Our two Iowa senators should be ashamed of their actions. Senator Grassley cemented his legacy after voting for impeachment of President Clinton over lying about a sexual dalliance but blindly supporting Trump's Ukrainian bribery scandal and total investigation stonewall to enhance his re-election prospects. Couple this with his disgraceful performance as head of the Judiciary Committee’s handling of the last supreme court justice nomination process and you see what his historical notation will be. (Incidentally, Clinton apologized to the nation for his actions. Do you suppose Trump will do the same? Don’t hold your breath!) The very public pronouncements of Senator Ernst essentially verified Trump's guilt by proclaiming his Ukrainian actions were tied to smearing Biden’s reputation prior to the next election. She has no credibility for her own re-election bid. Obviously both senators put party/cult power or fear of Trump before Constitutional concerns. They showed no conscience or courage.

As Americans, we should be extremely alarmed at the precedent set by this Senate's actions under the scurrilous leadership of Senator McConnell. Essentially, Congress has been removed from the balance of powers set forth in our Constitution. It leads the way for a president to have dictatorial powers! What steps will Trump unabashedly take to further trash our Constitution in the year ahead? If Trump is re-elected and the Senate remains in Republican control, will we expect to see legislation proposed to remove presidential term limits? Will the free press be squashed? Will Russia or other nations routinely "in the public interest" rig our elections? Will voting rights be further curtailed? Wake up America. Our Constitution is under assault like no other time in our country's history. We need to vote out the president, senators and representatives who have allowed this to happen. If we don't, we are facing a very dangerous, dangerous future! Time is running out for us to act if we want to preserve our constitutional democracy.

Terry B. Yarns

Spirit Lake