From what has already been revealed during the course of the public impeachment proceedings in the US House of Representatives so far, it is clear that Donald Trump is unfit to be President. If he has an iota of shame, he would quit immediately. But because he is so brazen, so crude, he will continue unless physically ejected from the Oval Office. Never before has the world’s most powerful nation been so shamed by its president as it has been by Trump from the day he was inaugurated on 20 January 2016. He has disgraced the President’s office. Indeed, you did not require the impeachment proceedings to confirm his unsuitability for that office. He makes it amply clear every day by his erratic and often idiotic behavior. The impeachment proceedings merely reveal the shocking lows he could plumb in his private quest for retaining power. The televised proceedings so far have spotlighted how Trump sought to leverage urgent military aid to Ukraine, a beleaguered nation fighting Russia-backed insurgents on its eastern border, for serving his private ends. Keen to embarrass his potential Democratic rival in next year’s presidential poll, he linked the release of aid worth $400 billion to Ukraine launching phony investigations against former vice-president Joe Biden and his son Hunter and pronouncing them corrupt. To this end, he subverted the long-standing US policy to bolster Ukrainian military against Putin’s Russia, supported corrupt elements in the Ukrainian establishment and delegated the conduct of US diplomacy to his own private lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the former New York Mayor, bypassing the accredited US Ambassador in Kiev. All this became stark clear from the first day’s open hearings itself. A senior US diplomat, Trump himself had appointed in Kiev, disclosed how Trump told his hand-picked Ambassador to the European Union that what mattered most to him was the investigations by Ukraine against the Bidens and not fate of Ukraine. The complaint by an anonymous whistleblower following Trump’s phone call to President Volodmyr Zelensky of Ukraine in which he explicitly sought a favour from the latter and suggested that he meet Guiliani triggered the impeachment process. Since then more details damning Trump as a reckless president bent on acting on impulse in the pursuit of his private interests, and in the process jeopardizing well-established tenets of US diplomacy, have virtually left Tump defenceless. But he continues to behave like the killer, who caught with the dagger in his hand with his clothes splattered with the victim’s blood, continues to soto voce insist on his innocence. On the second day of the hearing, the former US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in what was a very sincere and honest account, spoke how she was hounded out from Kiev because she would not play ball with the corrupt elements Guiliani conspired with to launch investigations against the Bidens on wholly false charges. Yovanovitch’s testimony spoke of institutional damage done by the President, and the failure of the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to protect upright and competent diplomats. Trump, on his part, impulsively tweeted just when she was testifying that she was a failure. The tweet was read out to her during the course of the proceedings. She found it intimidating, while the Democratic Chairman of the committee characterized it as witness intimidation, potentially an additional ground for impeachment.
Further compounding his problems, the White House released a transcript of Trump’s first conversation with the Ukrainian President upon the latter’s election in April. It attracted derision and criticism in equal measure when the press statement issued of the conversation in April and the transcript bore no resemblance. Trump never talked of supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia-backed insurgents or against corruption. It was Trump’s intention to blame Ukraine instead of Russia for the interference in the 2016 US election. Besides, Trump was never enthusiastic about bolstering Ukraine’s territorial integrity against Russian aggression. That game unraveled thanks to the fight put up by the American professional diplomats. Meanwhile, it must be emphasized that what happens to Trump is important for the entire democratic world. He has already destabilized the post-Cold War order, upsetting the European allies, befriending the likes of Putin and generally riding roughshod over what were till then the firm pillars of the US foreign policy. He has also quarreled with India over trade, as he has with his allies in North America and Europe. Therefore, what happens to Trump should be of great interest to every democratic country. His continuance is a threat to decency in American public life and is a source of uncertainty and generates a sense of foreboding globally. He must go sooner than later.