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When Attorney General William Barr issued his letter summarizing the Mueller Report, the headlines should have read: “President Not Exonerated!” You see, I’m a lawyer, and I understood that Barr would feel that to meet his ethical duty to accurately describe the substance of the Report he need only briefly describe the findings unfavorable to the President. Barr didn’t misrepresent the report, we misread his letter!

Donald Trump Impeachment

The only thing worth looking for in Barr’s letter was whether or not the President had been exonerated. Once the statement that the President has “not been exonerated” has been made, an impeachment inquiry should follow because the President may have committed “high crimes” against the public interest. We were misled and now face a President who has again done the exact thing we accused him of doing in the first place, colluding with a foreign nation to influence our election.

It’s simple. If you don’t stand up to a bully, he will keep bullying you. If you don’t prosecute a criminal, he will continue to commit crimes.

It’s simple. If you don’t stand up to a bully, he will keep bullying you. If you don’t prosecute a criminal, he will continue to commit crimes.

There’s a pattern of conduct that needs to be considered. The President has used the power of the State as an instrument of criminality. It’s not just Ukraine: he’s done this before and more.

The most disturbing thing in the Mueller report is that Trump encouraged a foreign nation to commit espionage against the United States and its institutions while at the very same time that espionage was actually happening. At the same time that Donald Trump, Jr. was looking for “dirt on Hillary Clinton” from foreign agents, and candidate Donald Trump was asking Russia to release Clinton's emails, Russian agents were hacking into Democratic Party and Clinton campaign servers and working to release stolen emails.

After seeking to benefit from Russian espionage, high-level officials in the Trump campaign lied and attempted to cover up their contacts with Russian agents and many went to jail. President Trump then attempted to obstruct the investigation into the very criminal activity he had encouraged and sought to benefit from.

Thank God for the federal employees and whistleblowers who stood up to Donald Trump even while we failed them. Without their commitment to democracy and the rule of law, we wouldn’t have known what Trump was planning. We were sheep headed to slaughter!

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Now we have a second chance to hold this President accountable. When democracy is under attack we stand up and fight back! When the President commits impeachable acts we stand up and fight back!

Democracy is something we have to fight for. There are plenty of countries that have elections but are not democracies. Democracy is not simply showing up to vote every once in a while, though that is the bare minimum.

When we can’t stop our government from taking children from their parents and imprisoning them indefinitely, we are not far from authoritarianism. When our Presidential candidates can publically incite violence and tell police officers to rough people up all in a context of multiple incidences of police brutality and the killing of black and brown people by police, we are not far from fascism. When our President can call on foreign nations to interfere in our elections right out in the open on national television, we are not far from a dictatorship.

This is and always has been about fighting for democracy! It’s about defending the Constitution, that grand experiment with self-rule and the promise of something better than the authoritarian rule of kings and dictators. Many people around the world, like the protesters in Hong Kong look to us for the ideal of democracy just as some may look to the socialist democracies of Europe. It’s democracy and respect for civil and human rights that are at stake now.

We cannot allow our President to be above the law and expect to preserve our democratic institutions at the same time. To allow the President to be above the law is tyranny. If we fail to hold this President accountable for his crimes while hundreds of thousands of Americans are doing time for lesser crimes, we are welcoming fascism and dismantling our democracy.

We have to stand up to a ruler who believes he is above the law. We need to fight back against a President who abuses his power. We need to impeach a President who undermines our democracy.

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Rich Procida

Rich Procida is an attorney who studied constitutional law under Jamie Raskin at American University, Washington, DC. He is the author of a small textbook on foreign comparative constitutional law. He currently writes about religion and politics for LAProgressive.com, blogs at Modernlectionaries.blogspot.com, and produces a podcast called "Bible Study for Progressives."