Letter, 12/3: Our real strength is rule of law

Letter, 12/3: Our real strength is rule of law

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Former White House national security aide Fiona Hill, second from left, and David Holmes, a U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, stand behind their chairs as they arrive to testify Thursday before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents.

The Impeachment Clause was included in the Constitution in order to create another check against abuses by government officials and to give Congress the ability to remove from power an unfit officer who might otherwise be doing damage to the public good, not necessarily a legally defined criminal offense.

Much of the controversy surrounding the Impeachment Clause has revolved around the meaning of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” a phrase that is unique to the impeachment context. The clause seems to rule out the possibility of Congress impeaching and removing officials simply for incompetence or general unfitness for office. Impeachments are not a remedy for government officials who are simply bad at their jobs. It is a remedy for abuses of public office.

This is, in my opinion, the bottom line. Trump has abused his powers in an attempt to benefit himself in a future election. He has opened the door for future autocratic presidents to follow his abuses.

The most powerful tool the United States of America possesses has nothing to do with its military might. Our most powerful tool is our integrity for the rule of law, the leadership to implore the democratic process through transparency and truth, and the ability to govern by mandate of the people without interference of injustices brought through corruption.

How can we lead the world with our process of unabridged democratic governing and then ask another country to engage in a corrupt attempt to undermine what we are supposed to emulate?

Robert Hegler, Cortland

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