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Opinion | Alabama lawmakers continue to defend an indefensible president

President Donald Trump speaking in 2017 just outside Harrisburg. (Staff Sgt. Tony Harp/U.S. Air National Guard)

Donald Trump was impeached Wednesday night, because he deserved to be impeached. 

Oh, I know that’s news to a lot of people in Alabama, where a conservative information bubble deflects away facts that are inconvenient to the conservative way of thinking. But it’s true. 

Trump deserved to be impeached. More so than any other president. 

Which was fitting, since he received more impeachment votes than any other president. 

The Republicans of Alabama will also be shocked to learn that by the time the vote went down, polling across the country showed that a majority of Americans were in support of Trump’s impeachment and removal from office and some 75 percent of American voters believe Trump did something wrong in regards to the Ukraine bribe. 

That’s a big number — 75 percent. It means the dumb excuses and razor-thin talking points aren’t working on the population overall. 

But they seem to be doing well here, judging by the number of Alabama politicians tripping over themselves to work “sham” into their pre-written statements condemning the votes by congressional Democrats to impeach Trump. 

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Pick a member of ALGOP — seriously, pick any single elected member of the state’s Republican Party — and I can find you a quote from that person bemoaning the “sham” process of impeachment. Bradley Byrne, Jeff Sessions, Tommy Tuberville, Mike Rogers, Mo Brooks, Robert Aderholt — all of them. 

What I can’t find, however, is a detailed defense of the actions that led to Trump’s impeachment. 

The president of the United States attempted to use military aid money destined for Ukraine to coerce that country’s leadership to open an investigation into the son of Trump’s likely political opponent in the upcoming U.S. election. 

Or to put it more bluntly: Trump, again, invited a foreign nation to illegally interfere in an American election. 

That’s Article I: Abuse of Power. 

The Constitution established the U.S. Congress as a check on the power of the president, and specifically created the process of impeachment. But Trump — just as Nixon attempted — has blocked and stalled that process at every turn, going so far as to demand White House staff ignore subpoenas and refuse calls to testify before Congress. 

Trump has refused to turn over pertinent documents, release the actual call transcript (not the from-memory notes version that was released) or provide other key evidence. 

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And that’s Article II: Obstruction of Congress. 

You’ll notice that no one is defending these actions. And you’ll also note that the White House’s defense, as more evidence and key testimony has come out, has moved from “I did nothing wrong, it was a perfect phone call, no quid pro quo” to “that’s not even a crime, it happens all the time, so what.” 

It’s absurd. 

To remain on the side that supports Trump, you have to believe that every witness who testified under oath — including all of those career servants to the country who have risked their careers and livelihoods — are lying and all of the people who refuse to testify under oath are telling the truth. 

You have to believe that in all of those closed-door hearings — where more than 30 Republicans were present and were allowed to ask questions of witnesses — that not a single positive sentence was uttered about Trump in regards to his dealings with Ukraine. 

You have to believe that that putz, Rudy Giuliani, was actually in Ukraine to fight corruption, and not to try to push for a bogus investigation into the Bidens. When all available evidence — and your eyes, ears and common sense — says otherwise. 

You have to believe that Trump — a man who was forced to pay $2 million just last month because he improperly took money from a kids cancer charity and a veterans charity to buy portraits of himself, who operated a fake university, who is barred from operating a charity in all of New York state — was so deeply concerned with corruption in a country he didn’t know existed until three years ago that he withheld military aid without explanation to Congress because of his virtue. 

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You have to believe that Trump released the aid to Ukraine because the decades-long corruption issue in that country was resolved in a matter of weeks, and not because the whistleblower’s complaint about his phone call with the Ukrainian president had been logged the day before. 

These are all things that Alabama GOP lawmakers believe. Or, at least, they say they believe them. 

Which, I guess, shouldn’t come as a surprise. Most of them stood on a stage with Mike Hubbard and then voted him speaker again after he was indicted on 23 felony counts. 

Because there’s just nothing that can break that Republican bond. Not deplorable behavior. Not demeaning words. Not criminal actions. 

And certainly not facts.

 

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Josh Moon
Written By

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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