Opinion | Susan Knopf: Will there be a fair trial or a cover-up in the Senate? | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: Will there be a fair trial or a cover-up in the Senate?

Susan Knopf

If you’ve had some liberal doubts about President Donald Trump’s drone kill of Iran’s Major General Qasem Soleimani, read Mary O’Grady’s Jan. 12 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. I knew Soleimani was a bad dude. I knew the Democrats were just using Trump’s unilateral action for political mileage.

According to O’Grady, Soleimani didn’t just have American blood on his hands, he was the villainous architect of mayhem in South America. O’Grady’s piece reads like a spy novel. Worth your time.

Many still argue whether this kill was an assassination. For the record, Soleimani may have been a beloved political figure in Iran, but he was a military man, the leader of Iran’s powerful Quds Force, which led foreign military action against the United States. Soleimani was in Iraq, in violation of a United Nations travel ban, following destructive attacks on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and an attack on U.S. military personnel stationed on an Iraqi base. 

According to the Pentagon, he was planning increased attacks on American personnel. Even if that intelligence is mistaken, he was considered the architect of the recent attacks on Americans in Iraq. He was in a conflict zone. He was fair game. While that might not make us feel immediately safer, it should ultimately make us safer.

Apparently my opinion is in the minority. According to a USA Today-Ipsos online poll, 55% of Americans believe killing Soleimani makes us less safe. I’m more concerned that 41% of Americans think the president did nothing impeachable.

According to FiveThirtyEight, only 46% of Americans believe Trump should be removed from office. According to Economist/YouGov Poll, black Americans are most likely to believe Trump should be removed with 66% favoring removal. Not surprising, a white male 65 or older is most likely to believe the president should remain in office. The persistent belief that Trump has done nothing wrong appears to be white tribalism.

I am disturbed by the conversations I’m hearing from intelligent, supposedly well-informed people who liken Trump’s corrupt, unethical behavior to Lyndon B. Johnson. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Lee Edwards asserted the FBI spied on Goldwater to assist Johnson’s presidential campaign. It wasn’t exactly breaking news. Nor is this corruption equivalent to what Trump did.

Spying on one’s domestic political enemies, using power of the state for personal gain is illegal, despicable and unethical. If it came out today, it would be actionable. But it didn’t come out then. And the parties are dead now. This is not what Trump did.

Trump publicly solicited the aid of foreign countries to help win election to our highest office. Before the 2016 election, we have Trump, “Russia if you’re listening,” asking Russia to hack the Democratic National Committee. Then we have a clear impeachable offense when Trump tells aides and Ukraine’s president he will hold back congressionally approved aid until Ukraine agrees to announce an official investigation into Joe Biden and his son.

And as if doubling down, he asks China to investigate the Bidens. His strategy is clear, if he acts as if he did nothing wrong and commits these illegal, unethical acts in front of everyone, he will get away with it. It’s strategy long employed by the Trump family. Trump’s businesses have been entangled in an unprecedented 3,500 legal conflicts.

Colorado Congressman Jason Crow is one of seven House hand-picked, well-qualified managers charged with prosecuting the impeachment trial of Trump in the Senate.

Congressman Adam Schiff said Wednesday, “We always felt … urgency about this impeachment given … the president was trying to get foreign help and cheating in the next election. … Mitch McConnell made it clear he didn’t want a trial in the Senate. … (H)e didn’t want to hear from witnesses, he didn’t want documents and this time has given us the ability … to expose … McConnell is working hand in hand with the (president) … also forcing senators to go on record. Do they want a fair trial … fair to the president but also fair to the American people, or are they going to participate in a cover-up? I think it’s been very effective and … additional evidence continues to come to light that … bolstered an already overwhelming case … (and) put additional pressure on the Senate to conduct a fair trial.

The House impeachment is like a grand jury indictment. Schiff said failure to conduct a trial in the Senate is a “cover-up for the president.”

Susan Knopf’s column “For The Record” publishes Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf has worn many hats in her career, including working as an award-winning journalist and certified ski instructor. She moved to Silverthorne in 2013 after vacationing in Summit County since the 1970s. Contact her at sdnknopf@gmail.com.

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