Editor's Note: The following editorial originally appeared in a sister newspaper, the Mankato (Minn.) Free Press.
There is opinion, and there are facts. No amount of opinion from President Donald Trump’s defenders or others can refute a mounting avalanche of facts that show the president has abused his power and threatened national security.
His statement a week ago — encouraging China to now investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son — ought to be the last straw for those who would quietly defend Trump for his tax cuts or other policies.
The president had clearly lost his temper a day earlier, when the facts became known, and by the following day, it appeared he had lost his sensibilities when he called up on our avowed trade war enemy to investigate his rival and interfere in this nation’s elections.
Later came revelations of text messages between U.S. diplomats dealing with Ukraine leaders that indicate the president was intended to withhold $250 million in congressionally approved military aid unless Ukraine issued a press statement that it were investigating Biden and his son without evidence of any wrongdoing.
A “rough” and incomplete transcript of the phone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine was provided to investigators and the public.
Diplomats texted about the content of the phone call before and after it was made.
William Taylor, a senior U.S. diplomat in the Ukraine texted two others when one contended Trump “wants the deliverable.”
Said Taylor: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” he wrote.
After more discussion among the diplomats of this being a “nightmare,” Taylor texted again: “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
These facts came from testimony given Thursday to the House investigators by Kurt Volker, who resigned as special envoy to Ukraine in light of the Democrats' impeachment inquiry.
The facts in the whistleblower complaint show the whistleblower having no doubt that Trump abused his power:
“In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals.”
The winnowing list of defenders say Trump was right to call for the Biden investigation. The facts show the push for then Vice President Joe Biden to call for the ouster of an incompetent and unwilling Ukraine prosecutor was transparent to the world and endorsed by the international community.
The silence of most Republican senators and their unwillingness to defend Trump speaks volumes about his future. They may be thinking Vice President Mike Pence taking over will be their best chance to save some of their power in next year’s election.
Trump’s continued recitation of lies as more facts come to light has turned his presidency from indiscernible to indefensible.
We urge the House Intelligence Committee to continue its probe, which is sure to yield more damning evidence. We urge Republicans to see the seriousness of a situation created by a man many feel was unfit to hold the office of president in the first place.