In an op-ed for The Washington Post this Wednesday, former FBI Director James Comey declared that members of Congress will “soon have to reconcile President Trump’s behavior with their oaths of office.”
“The Constitution’s command that officeholders commit to ‘support this Constitution’ was so obvious that the Founders considered leaving it out,” Comey writes. “But they decided to include it as a reminder, down through the ages, of the core responsibility of government service.”
According to Comey, the president’s oath of office has always been “slightly different” from Congress because of the “unique responsibilities to the rule of law” the Office of the President holds.
“The president must promise not just to protect and defend the Constitution, but also to ‘faithfully execute the office of president of the United States.’ And there is the problem for Trump, and every senator and representative.”
Comey then directly cited the example of President Trump’s infamous phone call with the president of Ukraine.
“If Congress passes a law giving a vulnerable ally hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid desperately needed to fend off a relentless Russia, and the president of the United States uses that money to coerce the desperate ally to provide electoral dirt on his likely opponent, is the president faithfully executing his office? And if the president conditions White House meetings on acquiring the same foreign dirt to help him get reelected?”
“The answers are obvious,” he declared.
If it indeed turns out that Trump “used the power and money of the United States to coerce a foreign nation into helping him get reelected,” then senators and representatives must act, Comey writes.
“The commitment has not changed; it is as old as this nation. If oaths and promises, the bedrock of the rule of law, are to mean anything, the senator and his colleagues will need to explain how they square their solemn promises with Trump’s actions.”
Read Comey’s full op-ed here.
Featured image via Brookings Institution/Flickr
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