EDITORIAL: Trump’s impeachment crisis now forces Republicans like Cory Gardner to act

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Republicans in Congress have finally reached the end of a long and treacherous road when it comes to President Donald Trump.

Credible, compelling, consistent and growing allegations against Trump extorting Ukraine for his own political gain have reached a tipping point.

Republicans like Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, congressmen Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn and Scott Tipton can no longer hide behind transparent partisan expediency.

Trump is about to be impeached.

The choice for Republicans in Congress is painful but unavoidable. They must step up and take part in the grave process of extracting and weighing damning evidence against Trump.

Tuesday brought testimony by a respected former military hero-turned-diplomat. It added an eyewitness to the catalogue of credible government officials alarmed by Trump’s pressure against Ukraine to investigate the son of Joe Biden.

On Thursday, Democrats will force a vote in the House to formalize impeachment proceedings, wisely making the process public.

Gardner and others have run out of excuses to sidestep Trump’s impeachment or to dismiss it as a partisan ploy. Republicans who deny that they would be at least equally outraged if the Ukraine allegations were committed by a Democratic president are dishonest or delusional.

The nation is now faced with reviewing the most accurate account of how Trump systematically conceived and executed a scheme to leverage his office and millions in aid to Ukraine in exchange for his own political gain.

The Washington Post, The New York Times and others consistently report that there is a large and growing community of congressional Republicans who privately disdain defending Trump’s Ukraine scheme. Like Gardner, they offer either double-talk or silence 

They are cowards.

They are as malignant as Trump himself for being cowed by the president and his perceived base of political thugs.

Any Republican who chooses to defend Trump’s actions in the Ukraine scandal has the right and responsibility to do so.

There have been a few who try to make a cogent argument that there is no national harm in Trump’s pressing the Ukraine into undermining the Bidens, and therefore, no grounds for impeachment. 

That case has been easily and widely discredited by a growing community of security experts from across the political spectrum, all agreeing that Trump’s actions undermined United States’ national security on several levels.

Trump himself has now offered honest Republicans a way out of having to defend an indefensible, lying, untrustworthy and incompetent president. Trump has admitted his “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Democrats are documenting them and making the unequivocal case for impeachment. Gardner and others can now finally step out from under the pressure to appease Trump’s misguided base of supporters. But to do that, they must commit to representing the voters in their district, not the delusional, fear-driven scheme of Republican Party leaders.

This is the way out for Gardner and other Republicans of becoming complicit with a duplicitous president. The nation is about to see Trump’s malevolent scandal exposed, and all voters will see which Republicans have the temerity to spurn or defend it.

The nation and history are watching what happens next.