Dalila Omerovic, Opinions Editor
The White House has officially declared war on the impeachment investigation. In the latest reality show episode that is the American government, the White House sent an eight-page letter to the House detailing one important message: the administration will no longer cooperate with the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
The letter claims that the investigation is partisan, unconstitutional, and violates Trump’s due process rights. A notable quote from the letter reads, “Put simply, you seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen.”
Who’s making the investigation partisan now?
Emails that show the delay of the release of Ukrainian aid after being held up by the White House have been released by The New York Times. The investigation continues to determine whether or not these funds were delayed to put pressure on Ukraine to comply with Trump’s demands for an investigation into his political rivals. People among Trump’s circle who are relevant to the incident have also been barred from speaking with investigators, like Gordon Sondland, a U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Sondland, along with others, was involved in a plan to secure the Ukrainian President’s commitment to pursue Trump’s demands.
More details continue to be released about the nature of Trump’s phone call. A White House official who was listening in described it as “crazy” and “frightening,” and was visibly shaken afterward. I’m sure many of us can relate to those statements and it’s even more clear what the President is doing. Unfortunately for him, he seems to be digging a deeper hole for himself because House Democrats say the failure to comply can be considered as an obstruction of justice, an offense worthy of impeachment in itself.
The release of the transcript has been marred with controversy as well. The transcript released by the White House was only a summary, rather than verbatim, of what went down in the phone call. It could have even been altered in a manner that would reduce the appearance of impropriety or corruption. But, as many officials and analysts have figured, the phone call showed clear signs of a quid pro quo.
Instead of simply refusing to share information on a particular issue, Trump has vowed against complying with all oversight efforts and the impeachment investigation in its entirety. Even Republican party members have been urging Trump to cooperate. The release of a potentially altered phone transcript but the refusal to cooperate leads us to indicate that the current administration is hiding something much worse.
It’s unnerving how many times Trump has lied to the public, let alone to what extent. In this case, however, the extent of his lies is visible. Blockading the White House from complying with Congress and refusing to let officials testify and release relevant documents is a clear abuse of power that must be contained.
Figuring out how to proceed with the investigation inquiry will be difficult for the House, but it’s a job they must do. Allowing Trump to complete his term and potentially get re-elected sets dangerous new precedents for our government. It shows the public that there is no penalty for lying. If there is no penalty for lying, our society, government and democracy are all at risk.