June 20, 2019
Rep. Chris Pappas
323 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C 20515
Dear Rep. Pappas,
I write to you as a supportive constituent in the 1st Congressional District of New Hampshire. I voted for you and applaud the good work you have done so far in your first Congressional term. I write to you as a U.S. Army veteran and student of history who is concerned that we are in the midst of most damaging Constitutional crisis the nation has experienced since the Civil War.
I petition you to with this request: please step up and publicly support the House of Representatives opening an impeachment inquiry into the almost certain “High Crimes & Misdemeanors” conduct of the president. Opening an impeachment inquiry of this president is morally necessary and Constitutionally required. It is also politically just.
Time is of the essence. We are at an historical boiling point that really has no prior reference point. The most lawless, amoral, corrupt, pathological lying, incompetent and frankly mentally unbalanced president in American history makes a mockery of the Constitution and the rule of law every day.
When is enough enough, Rep. Pappas? You talked last month about gathering more evidence “so we can identify the appropriate path forward.” There is an “appropriate path forward” and it’s in the Constitution, which as the Founding fathers knew, was the last defense from tyranny.
As for evidence, I have read the Mueller Report (twice) and it is a troubling document. We not only have a lawless president (Part 2 on Obstruction) but one who could be very well compromised by a foreign power (Part 1). A sober reading of the report renders Trump’s claims of exoneration absurd and ridiculous. The fact that Special Counsel Mueller went out of his way to say he could not exonerate the president on multiple obstruction allegations is telling. Every day that this conduct goes on unchecked without a serious, collective and sustained effort by the House is another day lost.
Mueller gave Congress one evidentiary road map. The Constitution (Article 1, Section 2 and Article 2, section 4) itself is the compass.
A few days ago, your colleague Rep. Katie Porter of California decided enough is enough. “When faced with a crisis of this magnitude, I cannot with a clean conscience ignore my duty to defend the Constitution,” Porter said on Twitter. “I can’t claim to be committed to rooting out corruption and putting people over politics and then not apply those same principles and standards in all of the work I do.”
I am under no illusions as I suspect you might be as well. It’s likely that impeachment will exacerbate the country’s political divisions and given the unhinged behavior of this president, it will be a messy, daily slog of Constitutional trench warfare. But that should be expected: it’s a political and moral cleansing not a Kumbaya sing-a-long. This process of focused accountability will not be a panacea; it will not offer magic fairy dust of immediate justice. In all likelihood it will not lead to the removal of the most corrupt and lawless president in U.S. history. But it will require every member of the House and the Senate to take a stand. If Republicans want to defend the morally and legally indefensible, which given their current level of absolute subservience they likely will, then let them. Let them be accountable as well.
It will be hard, potentially one of the most difficult processes members of Congress will take. It could cost you your seat. If Speaker Pelosi seeks to protect vulnerable House members by trying to make the 2020 election the accountability project, the contrary is taking place: in a leadership vacuum during a time of absolute crisis, it appears as if too many Democrats are determined to play the role of the ship orchestra as the Titanic goes down. It makes the Democratic Party look weak, feckless, and frankly not up to the historical moment — which may end up accelerating public and voter apathy. It’s worth noting that Ms. Porter represents one of the redder Congressional districts that any Democrat holds. But she has taken a stand. Trust the majority of Americans who oppose this president.
Still the band of opaque accountability plays on while a lawless president continues without pause: he orders subpoenaed witnesses to break the law, he continues to obstruct justice and sanctions levels of personal and administration-level corruption unprecedented in America history. He has created a series of extra-legal detention centers for undocumented immigrants legally seeking asylum.
Ironically, with each passing day, the country’s grievances against Trump become more and more like those against King George III in the 1776 Declaration of Independence. And bordering on madness, the Trump corruption machine creates fantasy legal reasoning such as “Absolute Immunity,” which may exist in a Game of Thrones episode or in the realm of absolute monarchies but does not in a Constitutional democracy.
If impeachment is bypassed, despite the promise of more hearings and oversight, Trump can say with rare, complete honesty: The Democrats didn’t impeach me so what’s the big deal? Imagine the Democratic presidential nominee having to stomach that in a presidential debate?
The House can continue to do the people’s business. It is not an either/or proposition. But let us be frank: much of the good work done in this Congress — on election reform, climate, gun control, veterans, civil rights, immigration, to name a few — has been trash canned by the Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who has his own cynical reasons to deny House Democrats any legislative progress. With each passing day as this crisis unfolds, your good work is being rendered impotent and irrelevant.
When is enough enough, Rep. Pappas?
Both of us at different times in our lives took a similar oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…”
No one wants this fight but this is where we are. Like it or not, we have a president who has become and seemingly delights in being a domestic enemy of the country and the Constitution. To borrow from Shakespeare, Trump and his supporters have unleashed the “dogs of war” and want nothing more than to continue tearing this country apart (as for the latest evidence, I’m sure you took note of the tone of the president’s reelection launch in Florida which, to put it politely, perfectly befitted a dictatorship). Silence is not an option.
Impeachment will be hard but not impeaching this president given what we know (and find out daily) would set a catastrophic precedence of accepting executive lawlessness and, by consequence, being passively complicit. This is meant as no criticism to the House committees doing important oversight and investigative work but history will likely not care about which committee held which hearings. History will ask: did the House stand up as a body and say we will hold this lawless president accountable to the fullest extent possible. This is also the people’s business and given the stakes, it must become a priority.
Please do the right thing and encourage your fellow members of Congress to do the same.
With sincere regards,