Of all the authoritarian things Donald Trump has done so far, undermining justice in the armed services ranks as one of the worst.
Yesterday the Navy Secretary Richard Spencer was fired by Trump's Secretary of State. Trump had just reversed the demotion of three servicemembers accused of war crimes, including a Navy SEAL who had been accused of killing a prisoner of war and convicted of another crime.1
The Navy wanted to press ahead with disciplinary action against that SEAL. They understood the importance of maintaining order and ensuring that our armed forces follow the law. Instead, Trump wanted to let him off the hook.2
The message from Trump is clear: His military should be above the law and able to commit war crimes. This is a horrific development that reminds us of the worst abuses of dictators and authoritarians across history. And we need to stop it.
Tell Congress: Don't let Trump get away with firing the Navy Secretary and enabling war crimes. Include his authoritarian abuse of power in the impeachment investigation - NOW.
Right now the impeachment investigation and hearings have focused on Trump wanting to undermine the 2020 election by blackmailing Ukraine's government. Those actions alone warrant Trump's impeachment.
But this is even worse. Trump is sending a signal that he will enable and even encourage soldiers and other government officials to break the law and violate the rules.
We've seen throughout history where this can lead, and it's chilling.
This has wider implications beyond the military. As reports pile up about abuses in immigrant detention centers,3 Trump has already said he'd pardon immigration officials if they were ever sent to jail for the suffering and pain his policies have inflicted at the border.4
The rule of law is critical in helping contain authoritarianism and protecting human rights and human lives around the world. Trump is directly attacking the rule of law, especially in the military -- where order and the rule of law are especially important.
We need to use the rule of law to stop Trump. That means impeachment, and Congress needs to make sure they are including his authoritarian abuses of military power as part of their impeachment work. The eyes of the nation are on these hearings, but right now Congress is narrowly focusing on Ukraine and not including Trump's other crimes. Will you send a message?
Sign the petition: Tell Congress to stop Trump's authoritarianism by including it in the impeachment investigation.
1. CBS News, "Navy secretary fired over SEAL controversy says he was ordered to violate "sacred oath"," November 26, 2019.
3. Guardian, "He was undocumented. Now he's exposing detention center abuse," October 29, 2019.
4. CNN, "Trump told CBP head he'd pardon him if he were sent to jail for violating immigration law," April 12, 2019.