The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has an over 75 year history of speaking for our Quaker values. Every other year our legislative priorities are determined by a process that begins by asking Quakers across the nation to indicate what their priorities are. All of this input is collated, and then discussed and approved by FCNL’s General Committee when they meet for the annual meeting in Washington, DC. I was blessed to be a member of the General Committee for seven years, and to witness and participate in this amazing process, where a room full of about 250 Friends went through the policy priorities, line by line. Those approved priorities then become the basis for FNCL’s lobbyists and members to lobby our Congressional delegations and for us to speak about in our local communities. This process is an amazing expression of our faith.
FCNL provides many thoughtful and well researched statements and templates to help us be informed and effective as we speak with our Congressional delegations and in our home communities. Following is the recent FCNL Statement on the Impeachment Inquiry of President Trump. A PDF version of the document can be found here: https://www.fcnl.org/documents/1093
FCNL Statement on the Impeachment Inquiry of President Trump
By Diane Randall, October 3, 2019
The Friends Committee on National Legislation supports the ongoing impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump led by the U.S. House of Representatives.
“We hold our government institutions and officials to rigorous ethical standards of fairness, honesty, openness, and avoidance of even the appearance of conflicts of interest. We expect our government to abide by the U.S. Constitution, national and international law, and international treaties. The system of checks and balances among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches is central to our form of government and must be strengthened.”—The World We Seek, FCNL Policy Statement (2013)
In September, Americans learned of a whistleblower’s complaint that outlined deeply troubling actions of the president of the United States, which presented substantive questions of abuse of power. President Trump’s own admission of his conversation with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine asking for support to investigate a political opponent; President Trump’s inability to understand the violation of law as evidenced by his vehement refutation of any wrongdoing; and President Trump’s threats aimed at the whistleblower and members of Congress — all present a cascading set of disturbing behavior that merits this impeachment investigation.
These are not the only actions that lead us to question Donald Trump’s fitness as president and support this impeachment inquiry.
The U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to remove a president from office. If the inquiry leads to articles of impeachment, a trial will be held in the U.S. Senate.
“The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”— U.S. Constitution, Article II, section 4
Congress is now performing its constitutional duty to conduct a fair and impartial inquiry to determine if President Trump’s actions in soliciting assistance from Ukraine and other foreign governments constitute high crimes and misdemeanors that would demand his impeachment.
Throughout this inquiry, we are equally concerned that the profound political rifts that divide our country could prevent Congress from completing the kind of investigation that is called for under our Constitution. This impeachment inquiry must move beyond partisanship and name-calling to ensure our constitutional process of checks and balance.
Institutional systems that assure accountability and transparency are crucial to our public life.
“Democracy does not work properly if the public does not know what its government is doing. Secrecy erodes the government’s accountability to the people. Strong protections are necessary for whistleblowers, journalists and confidential sources who expose government misconduct. Timely and free access to accurate information enables the constitutional process of checks and balances to function well and allows informed participation by individuals in government activities.”—The World We Seek, FCNL Policy Statement (2013)
The mission of the Friends Committee on National Legislation is to influence federal policies to create a world free of war and the threat of war, a society with equity and justice, communities where every person’s potential may be realized, and an earth restored. Making progress towards these goals require all of us who live in this country, especially our leaders, to conduct ourselves responsibly and courageously in the service of the greater public good and our democracy.
As people of faith, we firmly believe that this impeachment inquiry is imperative to preserve our democracy. We support this impeachment inquiry and await the full report of the House of Representatives on the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump.