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Should state delegation be called 'Spineless 6?'

Article 1 of the Constitution vests the power of impeachment and impeachment investigation solely in the Congress. That's a fundamental part of the system of checks and balances that the founders of our nation brilliantly implemented, making our Constitution a model for the rest of the world. The Constitution says that if the president might be exceeding his constitutional powers or shirking his constitutional responsibilities, it's up to the Congress, and no one else but the voters, to figure that out and hold him to account.

Since the Constitution itself empowers and requires the Congress to hold the president to account, President Trump's assertion that his "executive privilege" precludes Congress from investigating his apparently suspicious actions and documents is therefore contrary to the Constitution, as every competent lawyer readily concludes from reading the constitutional text.

President Trump claims the House impeachment inquiry is illegitimate, and he forbids some of his appointees to testify before Congress. What nonsense! Some of our Arkansas congressional delegation (not Gov. Asa Hutchinson) have mistakenly agreed. Our delegation (including U.S. Rep. Steve Womack) should read the Constitution first, and then consider whether by refusing their constitutional duty to investigate, they are violating their oaths of office to defend the Constitution.

Conservative commentator George Will characterized members of the GOP who fear to perform Congress's constitutional duties as "invertebrate" (spineless). I doubt our congressional delegation would like to be remembered in Arkansas history as our "spineless six." I understand U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton's Trump-defensive position, since he yearns to be the GOP nominee for president against Vice President Mike Pence if Trump resigns or is impeached and convicted. Sen. Cotton, a highly intelligent lawyer who fully understands the unconstitutional nature of President Trump's arguments, needs the Trump-supporting GOP right wing to become the GOP nominee in 2020 or 2024, so he cynically ignores the Constitution in furtherance of his personal aims -- standard political strategy. But none of our congressional delegation's other members has that excuse of ambition or politics. Rep. Steve Womack and the rest of them should man up, do their duty as members of Congress, and support the impeachment investigation of the president's alleged misdeeds.

This letter concerns only the unconstitutional implications of President Trump's actions, not the chaotic multiple resignations of Trump-appointed federal officials or President Trump's apparent betrayal of our Kurdish allies in Syria. This letter does not represent the views of the University of Arkansas, my employer.

Robert B. Leflar


NW News on 10/19/2019

Print Headline: NWA Letters to the Editor

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