More than 300 former national security and foreign policy officials signed a letter released Friday labeling President Donald Trump’s growing Ukraine scandal a “profound national security concern” and praising congressional Democrats for formally launching an impeachment inquiry.
“President Trump appears to have leveraged the authority and resources of the highest office in the land to invite additional foreign interference into our democratic processes. That would constitute an unconscionable abuse of power. It also would represent an effort to subordinate America’s national interests—and those of our closest allies and partners—to the President’s personal political interest,” the letter’s authors wrote.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
“We consider the President’s actions to be a profound national security concern,” the authors added.
The letter was organized by National Security Action, a nonprofit chaired by two former staffers who served in President Barack Obama's administration. While the list of who have signed on to the letter includes many other former members of the Obama administration, it also features officials who served under Republican President George W. Bush.
The letter’s authors said that “our relations with the rest of the world and our policies on the global stage must be based solely on what is in the national interest” and that “the introduction of any other considerations of the President debases our democracy, has the potential to make us more vulnerable to threats, and sends a message to leaders around the world that America’s foreign policy can be dangerously corrupted by catering to a single individual.”
The authors refer to a formal impeachment inquiry as an “imperative” that will help “ascertain additional facts and that they “applaud those Members of Congress, including Speaker Pelosi, who have now started us down that necessary path.”
Pelosi, on Tuesday, launched a formal impeachment inquiry following days of revelations surrounding Trump's apparent push to have the Ukrainian government investigate Joe Biden's son.
On Wednesday a description of a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was made public under pressure from Democrats. Notes of the call showed Trump asked Zelenskiy to look into why that country's top prosecutor apparently had ended an investigation of the business dealings of the former vice president's son, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Then, on Thursday, a whistleblower's complaint about Trump was made public. It said that White House officials were so concerned about what the president said in the July call that they intervened to "lock down" the record of the conversation.
The whistleblower lodged the formal complaint out of a belief that Trump was "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country" in the 2020 election.