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McConnell—you're the last straw! 

The oath required of all U.S. senators prior to an impeachment trial is, "I solemnly swear that all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, now pending, I will do impartial justice according the Constitution and laws: So help me God."

Recently, in an interview with Fox News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "Everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president's position and our position ... . We will be working through this process, hopefully in a fairly short period of time, in total coordination with the White House Counsel's Office." Since he is the senator in charge, will this senatorial proceeding actually be impartial as is required by the Constitution?

The evidentiary trail is now overwhelming for the impeachment and removal of Trump, but it looks like the outcome will be flawed, led by McConnell in the Senate.

First, Dr. Fiona Hill testified that she repeatedly expressed concerns about the Ukraine policy led by Rudy Giuliani and White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. National Security Advisor John Bolton stated that the policy was similar to a "drug deal" and Giuliani was similar to a "hand grenade who was about to blow everyone up." All of what Bolton said he believed harmed national security and foreign policy.

Next, Ambassador Gordon Sondland's emails and testimony showed that he kept top White House officials and the president apprised of the blackmail of officials and the effort to investigate Joe Biden in Ukraine. Biden is Trump's main political rival in the upcoming 2020 election. Ukraine faced a hot war with the Kremlin with a million refugees fleeing the war zone and more than 13,000 people killed. This made them "easy pickin's" for the president's bribery scheme. The scheme helped only Putin and Trump and definitely not our national security.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman had first-hand information about the president's infamous call to Zelensky, and he testified, "I was concerned by the call ... what I heard was inappropriate." What he said he heard was a U.S. president demanding a foreign state to launch an investigation against a U.S. political opponent. The list of witnesses goes on and on and confirms all the facts.

All of the many witnesses—and the president's own statements and those of his chief of staff—have laid out a picture of a president willing to bribe and hold back millions of dollars in military aide to the leader of another country, who was in desperate need of help, to further the U.S. president's own personal political agenda and re-election.

To have a fair trial in the Senate, we need more witnesses, but McConnell has refused to have any at all. Most notably, we need to hear from John Bolton about his close connection to the president. The House wants to have at least four or five more witnesses

McConnell, as leader of the U.S. Senate, your pretrial behavior shows not only that you are the last straw, but that your behavior is despicable and a disgrace to all of our brave patriots who have defended American values in both times of war and peace. With your pretrial statements, you are creating a sham trial for Trump. Americans need to remember that a verdict in a sham trial means nothing. It does not clear the president or any other person.

But where do the American people stand on the issue of witnesses testifying before the Senate? The latest polls show that more than 70 percent of Democrats want to hear from witnesses in the Senate trial. And more important for McConnell, a number of American Republicans want to hear from more key witnesses. So when all the congressional members are home for the holidays, it is time for us all to speak out so McConnell gets the message loud and clear. Let's have a fair trial for the benefit of our great constitutional republic.

With the upcoming sham trial, it is now time for all Americans to stand together and make their voices heard. A national conversation about what a fair trial consists of is needed. We all deserve more than McConnell's Kangaroo Court. Let your representative know your position on the upcoming trial. If McConnell is successful, as it looks like he will be in his blockade, then we all need to get out and vote in the upcoming 2020 elections to get rid of both McConnell and Trump as well as all the other cronies! Δ

Ken McCalip is a North Santa Barbara County native. Write a response and send it through the editor at clanham@newtimesslo.com or respond in the paper with a letter to the editor. Email it to letters@newtimesslo.com.

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