Congress has a duty to go through with the impeachment and public trial of President Trump
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America is in a “constitutional crisis,” created by President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE to prevent investigations of himself by the co-equal legislative branch of government. Congress must now boldly invoke its sole authority to impeach the president – the constitutional remedy prescribed for such a constitutional crisis. Only impeachment by the House, followed by a trial in the Senate, would hold this reckless, ruthless, lawless president accountable by striking at his power and his legacy.

Contempt citations, subpoenas, and other mediocre measures will not suffice for a president who must continuously resort to obstruction and perfidy to cover up the impeachable truth. Congress must do what is right for our country and our Constitution or be perceived as a subordinate, inferior, junior branch of government. Without impeachment, the principled political prowess and imbued moral authority constituting the soul of Congress will be lost. Individual reputations will be soiled for failure to defend a co-equal branch of government during an admitted constitutional crisis.

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The Framers put impeachment into the Constitution, not as a catastrophic contingency, but as a lawful deterrent. It is a legal, orderly and peaceful means for removing a corrupt, unfit president who has brought harm to society, without resorting to the catastrophic extremes of revolution and/or assassination. Although House impeachment charges might run aground in the Republican-controlled Senate, which necessitates a two-thirds majority for the removal of a president, a public trial of Donald Trump by the Senate would precede their vote. Such a public trial alone would have a deterrent value for this president and any future president even considering impeachable offenses.

Chief Justice John Roberts, not Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request MORE (R-Ky.) or Senate President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence communications director to leave White House White House crowd sings 'Happy Birthday' to Trump Trump won't say if he'd endorse Pence in 2024 MORE, would preside over the trial. Regardless of his politics, Chief Justice Roberts’s rulings on admission of evidence and request for subpoenas will be made in full view of the public. At the trial, House designated managers would seek justice through opening and closing statements, live testimony and documentary evidence. They would cross-examine witnesses for the president, compelling the president’s lawyers to present real arguments and evidence - not some public relations lawyers’ television spin.

As only the third Senate trial of an American president in U.S. history, it would command public attention and present all evidence of the president’s alleged “high crimes and misdemeanors” in a focused setting. The weight of the evidence against President Trump could compel even Senate Republicans to vote for his removal.

An impactful trial, not limited to the president’s defiance of congressional subpoenas, could also include obstruction of justice, criminal violations of the campaign finance laws, financial crimes and undermining the oversight authority of Congress. It could include violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause that prohibits President Trump from taking anything of value from foreign governments or entities without congressional authorization. The House could charge President Trump with abusing presidential power with bigoted immigration policies such as separating very young children from their parents without a plan to reunite them.

The words of Shakespeare remind us that “...there is a tide in the affairs of men. Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune.” The tide is rising for America, Congress can either seize it at the flood for the good fortune of our country or be swept into the shallows of history.

Green represents the 9th District of Texas. Allan J. Lichtman is Distinguished Professor of History at American University and author of “The Case for Impeachment.”