Put Trump under oath

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The Senate Intelligence Committee should call President Trump to testify under oath and explain in detail the evidence he claims to possess that led him to charge that President Obama committed the crime of illegally ordering wiretapping against him in the 2016 campaign, which would mean that the FBI or any federal agency that carried out this alleged order also committed federal crimes.

American democracy, and democracy in Europe, have entered shark-infested waters. After Trump leveled his charge that Obama had committed a crime, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) described the situation brilliantly. “We are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust,” he said, “and the president’s allegations today demand the thorough and dispassionate attention of serious patriots.”

{mosads}It should be unthinkable, unimaginable and unacceptable that Vladimir Putin, a Russian dictator, should engage in a form of warfare against America designed to attack and undermine our democracy, elect an American president who strangely praises him, and according to multiple reports employs the same espionage and dirty tricks to support his favored candidates in upcoming elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany.

It should be unthinkable, unimaginable and unacceptable that an American president would systematically attack and seek to destroy public trust in core protectors of our democracy including our federal judiciary, our free press and our intelligence services while accusing our last president of criminal acts without offering a shred of evidence.

One after another, past and current officials of the Obama and Trump administrations have stated that there is zero evidence that Trump’s charge against Obama is true.

Trump could not rely on executive privilege as a justification for not testifying. He is the only witness to a catastrophic crime that only he claims was committed. If Trump declines to testify he need not be subpoenaed but should publicly admit he fabricated his charge, apologize to Obama and the nation and move on.

Patriotic Republicans and Democrats should draw a clear red line, and enforce it appropriately, if a president falsely accuses his predecessor of committing a crime to divert attention from Congress, law enforcement agencies and counter-intelligence services investigating whether or not there was collusion between anyone associated with him and Russian agents attacking our democracy and supporting his candidacy.

Republican chairmen of congressional intelligence committees should not be contacting the media, at the request of the White House, offering political spin supporting the president’s position about matters they should be fairly, impartially and fully investigating.

There should be an independent select committee and a special prosecutor to investigate this matter fully and fairly. After his false testimony to Congress denying he met with the Russian ambassador, Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from all matters involving Russian attempts to influence our government and elections.

Patriotic Republicans and Democrats should draw a clear red line and unequivocally, and aggressively, condemn Trump’s attacks against leading institutions of our free press suggesting they are enemies of our people — words long used by fascist and communist dictators that no American president should ever speak.

Patriotic Republicans and Democrats should unequivocally, and aggressively, condemn Trump’s comparing American intelligence services to Nazi Germany because they expose Russian attacks against our democracy and Russian attempts to elect him as president.

Patriotic Republicans and Democrats should condemn, unequivocally and aggressively, Trump’s attacks against the federal judiciary, insults against individual judges while they consider pending cases, and praise for a White House staff member who implies on Sunday talk shows that the president is above the law.

It is a sad day for America when our vice president and Defense secretary, to their credit, must visit Europe to persuade our allies that our president supports the democratic alliance and stands on their side against threats to their freedom from a hostile power.

Trump should testify about his evidence against Obama or apologize to the former president. Impartial investigators must uncover the truth about Russian aggression against our democracy, wherever it leads.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then-chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Contributors blog and reached at brentbbi@webtv.net.

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