The Enablers

Published: September 30, 2019

By Jim Lichtman
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On July 23, 1974, Republican Congressman Lawrence Hogan held a press conference to explain why he was calling for the impeachment of Richard Nixon.

In a story that would easily garner a place in John Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, had it been written later, Hogan spoke with passion and commitment to a higher principle.

“I want with all my heart,” Hogan said, “to be able to say to you now that the president of the United States is innocent of wrongdoing, that he has not committed an impeachable offense, but I cannot say that.”

While his name is now forgotten, Hogan’s stand on principle is an example to current Washington lawmakers.


Because he took the following oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

“…support and defend the Constitution… against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same… without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion…”

It is indeed sad to think that today’s politics has realigned so many partisan legislators that their actions reflect, not their allegiance to the Constitution, but to their party, and… a chief executive who has allegedly abused the powers of his office.

As the whistleblower’s complaint makes clear:

“The White House officials who told me this information were deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call [between the president and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky]. They told me that there was already a ‘discussion ongoing’ with White House lawyers about how to treat the call. …

“I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced – as it customary – by the White House situation room.”

And the response by Republicans to the alleged abuse?

“They don’t want answers, “California Representative Devin Nunes said. “They want a public spectacle. And so we’ve been treated to an unending parade of press releases, press conferences and fake news stories.”

According to the non-partisan Intelligence Community’s Inspector General’s letter, “…in the ICIG’s judgment, alleged conduct by a senior U.S. public official to seek foreign assistance to interfere in or influence a Federal election would constitute a “serious or flagrant problem [or] abuse” under 50 U.S.C. § 3033(k)(5)(G)(i), which would also potentially expose such a U.S. public official (or others acting in concert with the U.S. public official) to serious national security and counterintelligence risks with respect to foreign intelligence services aware of such alleged conduct.”

Would you define the alleged actions as “fake news”?

“Representative Kevin McCarthy of California,” The New York Times writes (Sept. 27), the Republican leader, complained that the whistle-blower ‘has no primary sources…’ ”

Okay, Mr. McCarthy, you have the power to subpoena the sources listed by the whistleblower as well as the whistleblower, himself or herself.

Reaction from other Republicans:

As reported by CNN (Sept. 26), “ ‘this remains deeply troubling,’ Romney said during an interview… ‘We’ll see where it leads…’ ”

“Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse… ‘This (is) going to take a long time but there’s obviously some very troubling things here. But I think the partisan tribalism that’s always insta-certain is a terrible idea. There are real troubling things here. Republicans ought not just circle the wagons and Democrats ought not be using words like ‘impeach’ before they knew anything about the actual substance.’

“[Pennsylvania Republican] Sen. Pat Toomey, called Trump’s conversation with Zelensky ‘inappropriate’ …

“GOP Ohio Sen. Rob Portman… ‘It was exactly what I expected.’ ”

A “credible” and “urgent” whistleblower complaint, confirmed by the I.G., and all we get from GOP senators is, “deeply troubling,” … “real troubling things here.” … “..exactly what I expected.”

I don’t even know what Portman means. Did he mean that his opinion of Trump is low enough to believe such an allegation, or is he dismissing it as “fake news,” or something else.

All of these Republicans… ALL of them are not living up to their duty to “…defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic [and] bear true faith and allegiance to the same…”

All of them… ALL of them are acting more like enablers than principled representatives whose duty is to call for a complete investigation in the House and Senate.

None are worthy of occupying the same chamber as Republican Congressman Lawrence Hogan.

“Hogan, whose district was primarily Prince George’s County [MD],” The Washington Post writes (Sept. 29), “was immediately accused of playing politics. Nixon’s staff and their Republican allies said Hogan was just trying raise his profile across Maryland in the governor’s race.

“And at first, his vote did just that.

“… Hogan’s face was instantly recognizable as he visited neighborhoods shaking hands. …

“But the governor’s race was still in the primaries. Hogan’s opponent, Louise Gore, used his impeachment support as a dagger, saying that the lawmaker had turned the proceedings into a ‘television circus.’

“Nixon had resigned. But Hogan lost. …

“The Republican’s impeachment vote derailed his political career but not his hopes of one day seeing a Hogan in the State House. His son, Lawrence J. Hogan Jr., became governor of Maryland in 2015. Two years later, the elder Hogan died at age 88.”

Hogan may have lost is political career, but his integrity remained intact by not blindly adhering to his party’s leader.

All of us want to do the right thing. All of us want to succeed in our personal endeavors. However, sometimes we need to make a choice between what we want and who we want to be.


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