Of the president's misconduct were very different from one impeachment to the next. The Republican Party of Nixon's time broke into the DNC and the president covered it up.
Nixon to abuse the power of his office to gain an unfair advantage over his opponents. But in Watergate, he never sought to coerce a foreign power to aid his re-election, nor did he sacrifice our national security in such a palpable and destructive way as withholding aid from an ally at war. And he certainly did not engage in the wholesale obstruction of Congress or justice that we have seen this president commit. The facts of the present Clinton's misconduct pale in comparison to Nixon and do not hold a candle to Donald Trump.
Lying about an affair is morally wrong and went under oath. It is a crime, but had nothing to do with his duties in office.
The process being the same. The facts of President Trump's misconduct being far more destructive than either past president. What then accounts for the disparate result in bipartisan support for his removal?
What has changed? The short answer is we have changed, the members of Congress have changed for reasons as varied as the stars, the members of this body and ours in the House are now far more accepting of the most serious misconduct of a president. As long as it is a president of one's own party and that is a trend most dangerous for our country.
50 years ago, no lawyer representing the presidents would have ever made the outlandish argument that if the president believes his corruption will serve to get him reelected, whether it is by coercing an ally to help him cheat or in any other form, that he may not be impeached. That this is somehow a permissible use of his power. But here we are. The argument has been made. And some appear ready to accept it. And that is dangerous, for there is no limiting principle to that position.
It must have come as a shock. A pleasant shock to this precedent that our norms and institutions would prove to be so weak the independence of the Justice Department and its formerly proud Office of Legal Counsel. Now mere legal tools at the president's disposal to investigate enemies or churn out helpful opinions not worth the paper they are written on the FBI painted by a president as corrupt and disloyal. The intelligence community not to be trusted. Against the good counsel of Vladimir Putin.
The press portrayed as enemies of the people.
The daily attacks on the guardrails of our democracy so relentlessly assailed have made us numb and blind to the consequences. Does none of that matter anymore? If he's the president of our party? I hope and pray that we never have a president like Donald Trump in the Democratic Party. One that would betray the national interest and the country's security to help with his re-election, and I would hope to God that if we did, we would impeach him and Democrats would lead the way.
But I suppose you never know just how difficult that is until you are confronted with it. But you, my friends, are confronted with it. You are confronted with that difficulty now and you must not shrink from it. History will not be kind to Donald Trump. I think we all know that not because it will be written by never Trump-Cruz, but because whenever we have departed from the values of our nation, we have come to regret it. And that regret is written all over the pages of our history.
If you find that the House has proved its case and still vote to acquit, your name will be tied to his with a cord of steel and for all of history.
But if you find the courage to stand up to him, to speak the awful truth to his rank falsehood, your place will be among the Davids who took on Goliath. If only you will say enough.
We revere the wisdom of our founders and the insights they had into self-governance. We scour their words for hidden meaning and try to place ourselves in their shoes.
But we have one advantage is that the founders did not for all their genius. They could not see. But opaquely into the future. We, on the other hand, have the advantage of time of seeing how their great experiment in self-governance has progressed. When we look at the sweep of history, there are times when our nation and the rest of the world have moved with a seemingly irresistible force in the direction of greater freedom, more freedom to speak and to assemble, to practice our faith and tolerate the faith of others, to love whom we would and choose love over hate more free societies walls tumbling down.
Nations reborn. But then, like a pendulum approaching the end of its arc, the outward movement begins to arrest the Golden Globe of freedom, reaches its zenith and starts to retreat. The pendulum swings back past the center and recedes into a dark unknown. How much farther will travel in its liberal direction? How many more freedoms will be extinguished before it turns back? We cannot say.
But what we do here in this moment will affect its course and its correction.
Every single vote. Even a single vote by a single member can change the course of history. It is said that a single man or woman of courage makes a majority. Is there one among you who will say enough? America believes a thing called truth. She does not believe we are entitled to our own alternate facts. She recoils at those who spread pernicious falsehoods to her truth matters. There is nothing more corrosive to a democracy than the idea that there is no truth.
America also believes there is a difference between right and wrong and right matters here. But there is more truth matters, right matters, but so does decency.
Decency matters. When the president smears a patriotic public servant like Marie of onwhich in pursuit of a corrupt aim, we recoil when the present mocks the disabled, a war hero who is a prisoner of war or a gold star father.
We are appalled because decency matters here. And when the president tries to coerce an ally to help him cheat in our elections and then covers it up, we must say enough. Enough. He has betrayed our national security and he will do so again. He has compromised our elections and he will do so again. You will not change him. You cannot constrain him. He is who he is. Truth matters little to him. What's right matters even less.
And decency matters. Not at all.
I do not ask you to convict him because truth or right or decency matters nothing to him, but because we have proven our case. And it matters to you. Truth matters to you, right? Matters to you. You are decent. He is not who you are.
In Federalist 55. James Madison wrote. That there were certain qualities in human nature, qualities I believe, like honesty, right, and decency, which would justify our confidence in self-government. He believed that we possessed sufficient virtue that the chains of despotism were not necessary to restrain ourselves from destroying and devouring one another.
It may be midnight in Washington, but the sun will rise again. I put my faith in the optimism of the founders.
You should, too. They gave us the tools to do the job. A remedy as powerful as the evil. It was meant to constrain impeachment. They meant it to be used rarely. But they put it in the constitution for a reason. For a man who would sell out his country for a political favor, for a man who would threaten the integrity of our elections, for a man who invite for. And it's a fear. It's in our affairs for a man who would undermine our national security and that of our allies.
For a man like Donald J.
Trump. They gave you a remedy. And they meant for you to use it. They gave you an oath. And they meant for you to observe it. We have proven Donald Trump guilty. Now do impartial justice. And convict him. You're back.