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To the editor:

The Congressional hearings laid open a vast White House conspiracy at the direction of President Trump. The testimony by ambassadors, Foreign Service officers and intelligence staffers established more than sufficient facts and evidence of quid pro quo. The president held up financial aid to Ukraine, an allied nation struggling against a Russian invasion and partial occupation. A president can’t independently hold Congressionally approved funds. It’s a violation of the Impoundment Control Act.

18 USC 201 and 371 outlines conspiracy to commit bribery, a federal crime that carries a 15-year prison sentence. Quid pro quo can be either explicit or implicit. The bribe doesn't have to actually be carried out. Illegally holding up military aid authorized by Congress and using it as a bargaining chip for personal political gain is a flagrant abuse of power and meets the conspiracy statute. Evidence presented this past week at the hearings established Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani conspired to commit bribery. Other officials such as Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo and acting White House Chief of Staff Mulvaney may also be implicated in the wider conspiracy.

The Republicans in the Senate are already rallying around the president to stop his removal for high crimes and misdemeanors. This is a national disgrace and sadly, the world is watching. We say we’re a country governed by the rule of law, and the world has seen the evidence and the facts. We talk about routing out corruption around the globe, but at home, we rally around corrupt officials who commit federal crimes. We put desperate children in cages at our border because they cross the border illegally, but we leave in power a president who commits bigger crimes. What does that say about our justice system or us as a people?

We need our senate to run a trial worthy of our great nation and show the world that we honor our Constitution and the rule of law. We need the president and other key officials to testify under oath and senators from both parties need to seek the truth, consider the facts already presented, and refrain from the mockery and circus-like behavior that we saw from Chris Stewart and other Republicans on the House committees. Evidence of criminal activity is clear. Now we need to hold those responsible accountable.

John Nelson

Wellsville

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