A letter from Rep. Robin Kelly: ‘We have an obligation to act’

Rep. Robin Kelly (Herald file photo)

WASHINGTON — On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives authorized public hearings in our ongoing impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump. I voted for this measure alongside 231 of my colleagues.

As a student of history, I firmly believe that our Founding Fathers were deeply and rightfully concerned about this exact situation. A President pressured a foreign government to intervene in our domestic affairs for his own personal and political gain.

In our founding document — the U.S. Constitution — they gave us a process to redress these concerns and protect our great nation. The U.S. House investigates and then impeaches, or formally charges the President with a crime. The U.S. Senate then holds a trial and acts as the jury.

Last week, we began enacting this constitutionally enshrined process at a moment of national crisis. President Trump, in his call with the Ukrainian President, actively and aggressively abused his powers for personal and political gain to the detriment of U.S. interests and our national security. This is part of a corrupt pattern with the Trump Administration, from obstructing justice to attempted quid pro quos with foreign governments. This is illegal, immoral and un-American.

As a member of the Oversight National Security subcommittee, I have observed, alongside my Republican colleagues, the classified witness depositions. When the American people hear this testimony in a public forum, as this process lays out, they will know that President Trump attempted to shake down a foreign government for political and personal gain.

President Trump’s actions are a betrayal of our shared American values and a direct threat to our national security. He and his Administration continue to be a corrupting influence on the norms and institutions that have made America great and a beacon of freedom and democracy.

The House of Representative, the People’s House, has an obligation to act. We have an obligation to act and end the President’s abuses, betrayal and corruption; impeachment is the process given to us by the Framers.

When the House completes our process, the Senate, under the control of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, must hold a trial. I hope my colleagues in the Senate remember their obligation to pass this great republic, stronger not reduced, to the next generation.

This is a moment in our history when everyone must put country before party. The foundations of our republic and our national security are a risk.

Will some stand with a power-abusing, corrupt President who consistently betrays our values, norms and national security or will we all follow the example of our Founding Fathers and stand tall, together and united in patriotism?

Robin Kelly has represented Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District, which includes eastern Kenwood and East Hyde Park, since 2012.