Photo by Shealah Craighead

The President has put out a tweet and the Speaker of the House has put a letter committing to their positions on the impeachment inquiry ahead of testimony from Alexander Vindman

As the impeachment inquiry crawls forward, both camps are digging in. Yesterday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter announcing a vote to affirm the ‘ongoing, existing investigation that is currently being conducted.’ The letter also emphasizes that a vote is not necessary to legitimize the inquiry. The White House has argued that the impeachment inquiry “lacks the necessary authorization for a valid impeachment proceeding.” This argument, she says, has no merit. The House will, nevertheless, pursue a vote to take this false argument from the White House’s arsenal. 

On the other side, Trump has issued another tweet thread in his defense. Included below:

Despite the different levels of sophistication, the arguments from the President and The Speaker of the House are rhetorically similar. Both begin with the assertion they’ve done nothing wrong, then move on to soliciting confirmation for their position. 

This fortifying comes before more testimony from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine expert and army officer, who overheard the Ukraine call. His opening statement was released yesterday. In it, Vindman says: “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”

The rhetorical similarity between the Speaker and the President’s arguments doesn’t mean their argument are equally good or weighty. Speaker Pelosi has “over three hundred legal scholars,” and federal court precedent behind her, while Trump only has the force of his personality.

Trump’s personality, though, can’t be underestimated. And we are, by virtue, forced into a real choice between these falsely equivalent options. What Trump and Pelosi both know is that the only way this impeachment inquiry will be resolved without damaging the nation is if the outcome of the investigation accords with the verdict of public opinion. The facts are out, the record of the call is out, regardless of the number and cooperativity of the upcoming testifiers, the most important evidence has already been uncovered and accepted by both parties. It is the American people who must choose what to do with the facts. 

The gamble the Trump team has taken is to not deny the evidence against them—they believe that the American people will trust the President more than they trust their own eyes. It is hard to trust one’ eyes these days, four years of constant misinformation have eroded our trust in our senses. And so far, every time Donald Trump has bet on the gullibility of the American public, he’s won big. Let’s change that. Those of us who believed in a fair America, governed ultimately by the rule of law have had our understanding of the nation shaken these past four years. We ought now to return that favor to the President, shake his understanding. Trump believes that America is his casino—let’s shake up that picture.

Jonathan Compo

Jonathan is a Generation Z voice at the Pavlovic Today. He is studying Theatre and Biology at Georgetown University. His interests include healthcare, arts, culture and the environment.