By Ralph Nader
Dear Madam Speaker:
More than 240 years of heroic sacrifices by our forbearers to plant the seeds of a government of the people, by the people, for the people are not being furthered by your shortsighted eagerness for an abbreviated gravely historic second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. The trial has thus been shorn of “smoking gun” witnesses and full exposure of his daily wrecking ball against the Constitution allegedly justified by Mr. Trump’s unprecedented, brazenly monarchical pronouncement on July 23, 2019, “Then I have Article 2, where I have the right to do anything I want as president.” Mr. Trump was as good as his word.
He usurped the congressional power to tax and spend.
He defied hundreds of congressional subpoenas or demands for testimony or information to disable oversight and to substitute government secrecy for transparency.
He turned the White House into a crime scene with serial violations of the Hatch Act.
According to former national security advisor John Bolton, fortified by the Mueller Report, he made obstruction of justice “a way of life” at the White House.
He appointed principal officers of the United States without Senate confirmation in violation of the Appointments Clause.
He transgressed both the letter and spirit of the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses.
He flouted his obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed by dismantling enforcement of environmental, safety, consumer protection, and labor laws.
January 6, 2021 was but the predictable culmination of Mr. Trump’s unalloyed contempt for the
Constitution and rule of law. If Article 2 crowns the president with limitless power, then to incite the use of force and violence against the legislative branch of government to prevent the Vice President from counting state-certified electoral votes falls squarely within that vast domain.
We submit you will be guilty of a dereliction of constitutional duty if you do not immediately demand to subpoena witnesses in the pending second impeachment trial. Senator Benjamin Cardin informed Scott Simon of NPR a short time ago that the House possesses that power.
The subpoenas should be issued to at least the following: Donald Trump, Mike Pence, William Barr, John Bolton, Christopher Krebs, Brad Raffensperger, Jeffrey Rosen, Rudy Giuliani, Jeffrey Clark, and “BJay” Park.
Your immediate call for witnesses critical to fortifying the impeachment evidence will be the definitive test of your resolve to convict Donald J. Trump and your understanding of the serious and gravity of the impeachment charges. A trial without key witnesses possessed of crucial incriminating testimony diminishes the seriousness of the proceedings and the huge stakes for the future of the American Republic.
The haunting question that history will raise will be this: Why didn’t Speaker Pelosi call the witnesses?