While the impeachment hearings featured non-partisan career diplomatic and national security professionals presenting the facts, Republicans were frantically trying to deflect attention to what are totally debunked Russiangenerated claims that not Russia but Ukraine cyber attacked the DNC in 2016.

The Republicans could not discredit the factual evidence that President Trump violated his oath of office, abused his presidential powers and weakened the national security of the United States and our ally Ukraine.

Trump withheld congressionally authorized, vitally needed military aid to Ukraine to force the Ukrainian president to announce he was investigating Trump's potential opponent in the 2020 election. Apparently Trump believed he could not win re-election on his own.

Voters should have taken to the streets after the findings of impeachable offenses were published in the Mueller Report. Immediately after that Trump attempted to extort the Ukrainian president to intervene in the 2020 election on his personal behalf, not that of the United States.

This is while Ukraine is under armed attack from Russia. This is after indisputable evidence of Russian hacking and media propaganda in the 2016 campaign, and after Trump admitted he would accept dirt on a political opponent if it came from a foreign government. This is after Trump has played into Vladimir Putin"s hands time after time without any benefit to the United States.

In the face of Trump's criminal acts, voters should demand that Congress uphold the Constitution, preserve the rule of law, and protect the integrity of our democratic elections. This can only be accomplished by Trump's impeachment and removal from office.

Don Strasser

Mankato

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