I have endured the impeachment hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives and would ask that all members of the House and U.S. Senate public reaffirm to the American people the oath of office for which they undertook:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."
I think many are forgetting or ignoring the oath that they took.
Impeachment could pose greater danger
Trump's looming impeachment threatens us in ways that have been largely overlooked.
First, Trump's impeachment means that he cannot be pardoned for any crimes his impeachment covers. This means that any future president, Pence, for example, cannot pardon Trump for what he is impeached for.
Second, Trump surely faces a host of investigations and indictments at both the state and federal levels for criminal violations while he was in office. Once out of office, he cannot claim "executive privilege" or immunity to prosecution.
Third, assuming that he is defeated on Nov. 3, 2020, Trump will still hold office until Jan. 20, 2021. This "lame duck" period leaves Trump 88 days in which he can exercise the full powers of the presidency knowing that he will lose the protections his office now affords.
For these reasons, if he is defeated in 2020, Trump's lame duck period could pose a great threat to our democracy. A president Trump who knows he cannot be pardoned, who faces multiple indictments at the end of his term, and who will lose prosecutorial immunity will be tempted to challenge our institutions in ways unprecedented even for him.
Trump's impeachment and electoral defeat may put our freedoms in as much danger as they ever have been.
David C. Redheffer, Ringgold, Georgia
Walden grocery plan still faces challenges
Not so fast.
The controversial Walden supermarket project is far from a done deal.
The developer's talk about starting construction is premature. The Walden ordinance approving the rezoning sets forth various conditions applicable to the proposed development.
One condition addresses the significant issues relating to wastewater treatment. Middle Creek, located just behind the proposed supermarket site, is part of a fragile ecosystem with a thin layer of topsoil resting on top of limestone which is laced with mine openings and air shafts belonging to a number of abandoned coal mines.
The developer must provide the town with a complete soil analysis showing that onsite sewage treatment is possible and also provide the town the required permit 45 days before "soil disturbance of any kind." The developer must also prove to the town that wastewater will not impair the headwaters of Middle Creek or any other receiving waterway
Significant challenges lie ahead for this proposed development.
Elizabeth Willingham Schmidt, Walden, Tennessee