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Press: An attack on American principles

Press: An attack on American principles
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They are perhaps the most chilling words spoken to any American president — four words whispered by White House chief of staff Andy Card into the ear of President George W. Bush on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. Wanting to inform the president that a second plane had struck the second World Trade Center tower, yet not wanting to spook the schoolchildren gathered in front of Bush or alert the watching press corps, Card leaned over to Bush’s ear and whispered: “America is under attack.”

Today, it’s not terrorists from outside the United States who are attacking America. It’s not someone telling the president that America is under attack. It’s the president himself who’s attacking America’s democratic process and principles — deliberately and relentlessly.

In its most recent manifestation, President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE urged Georgia’s secretary of state to commit election fraud.

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For the last nine weeks, Trump has devoted every minute of every day to trying to destroy the very foundation of our representative democracy: the right of we, the American people, to choose our own leaders under a system spelled out in the Constitution and observed for over 240 years.

No matter what Trump claims, every step of that system has been faithfully followed in the 2020 presidential election. On Nov. 3, a record number of Americans voted, choosing Joe BidenJoe BidenBudowsky: A Biden-McConnell state of emergency summit DC might win US House vote if it tries Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman inks deal with IMG Models MORE over Donald Trump by a margin of almost 7 million votes. By Dec. 9, all 50 states and the District of Columbia had certified their election results. On Dec. 14, the Electoral College awarded Biden 306 electoral votes, 36 more than he needed to win the presidency and 74 more votes than Trump’s 232.

To state the obvious: This election was over two months ago. Biden won, Trump lost. Period. At noon on Jan. 20, Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. There is no way Trump can stop it. America has decided.

Yet, ever since Nov. 3, Trump has claimed massive voter fraud, with zero proof. He and his supporters filed some 60 lawsuits challenging state vote counts; all but one were rejected for lack of evidence. He invited state officials to the White House, begging them to disqualify their state’s election results. On Jan. 6, he’s asking Congress to violate the Constitution by overriding the will of 81 million Americans in order to keep him in the White House — which, shamefully, a dozen Republican senators and as many as 140 Republican House members, with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyCheney spokesperson on Gaetz: 'In Wyoming, the men don't wear make-up' Biden attends first church service as president in DC, stops at local bagel shop House GOP leader says he has 'concerns' over Cheney's impeachment vote MORE’s (R-Calif.) blessing, have agreed to.

And now this outrageous phone call, where Trump practically orders Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” 11,780 votes in order to make him, not Biden, the winner. That’s worse than Tammany Hall. It may be criminal. But it’s definitely unconstitutional and immoral: using the power of the presidency to pressure a state official to commit a crime.

On Jan. 6, members of Congress face the most important vote of their lives. A vote that far transcends politics. It’s no longer Republican vs. Democrat. It’s a question of principle over party, democracy over autocracy, country over madman. The question facing them is: Do you believe in America or do you believe in Donald Trump? Any senator or House member who votes to support Trump’s attack on America is not worthy of the office they hold.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”