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'A profound national security concern' — Over 300 former officials endorse Trump impeachment inquiry
More than 300 national security professionals with experience in the Pentagon, State Department, and intelligence communities have said in a letter that the growing Trump-Ukraine scandal is a "profound national security concern," adding that an impeachment inquiry would "ascertain additional facts" as to whether the president committed an abuse of power.
"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," the letter says. "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 comes in response to a formal impeachment inquiry being opened by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the release an intelligence community whistleblower complaint, in which it's alleged that Trump urged Ukraine's president to investigate political rivals to help his 2020 reelection
The letter was organized by National Security Action, a left-leaning organization whose ranks largely include former Obama administration officials. Many of its signers served in the previous administration, but not all.
As The Washington Post notes, Matthew Olsen served first under President George W. Bush and then later served under Obama as director of the National Counterterrorism Center. The letter also includes a number of career diplomats who served across administrations, including Jeffrey Feltman, Nancy McEldowney, and William Burns.
"Having worked across administrations of both parties to uphold and advance those national interests, we consider the President's actions to be a profound national security concern," the letter continues.
"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. 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. If we fail to speak up — and act — now our foreign policy and national security will officially be on offer to those who can most effectively fulfill the President's personal prerogatives."
The letter concludes with caution, saying that the signers do not want to prejudge the president, or get ahead of the Congress on its next steps in the inquiry.
"At the same time, there is no escaping that what we already know is serious enough to merit impeachment proceedings. From there, the facts — and nothing but the facts — should dictate how Congress holds the President to account and signals to the world that our foreign policy and national security are not for sale."
The Pentagon's top spokesman tried to downplay recent revelations by the Washington Post that U.S. government officials have consistently misled the American public about the war in Afghanistan for nearly two decades.
Washington Post reporter Craig Whitlock first brought to light that several top officials acknowledged to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction that the war was going badly despite their optimistic public statements. The report, based on extensive interviews and internal government data, also found that U.S. officials manipulated statistics to create the public perception that the U.S. military was making progress in Afghanistan.
An Army colonel's alleged abuse saddled his wife with ongoing medical needs. Escaping him could bring that care to a screeching halt.
Katherine Burton was sitting on her couch when she heard a scream.
Though she had not yet met her upstairs neighbors, Army. Col. Jerel Grimes and his wife Ellizabeth, Burton went to investigate almost immediately. "I knew it was a cry for help," she recalled of the August 1 incident.
Above her downstairs apartment in Huntsville, Alabama, Jerel and Ellizabeth had been arguing. They had been doing a lot of that lately. According to Ellizabeth, Jerel, a soldier with 26 years of service and two Afghanistan deployments under his belt, had become increasingly controlling in the months since the couple had married in April, forcing her to share computer passwords, receipts for purchases, and asking where she was at all times.
"I was starting to realize how controlling he was, and how manipulative he was," Ellizabeth said. "And he'd never been this way towards me in the 15 years that I've known him."
Taliban fighters attempted to fight their way into Bagram Airfield on Wednesday by invading a medical facility just outside of the base's perimeter, a spokesman for Operation Resolute Support said Wednesday.
J.P. Lawrence of Stars and Stripes and Jim LaPorta of Newsweek first reported that the battle lasted for several hours after using car bombs to attack the hospital, which is near the base's northern corner. Helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft were reportedly used to drop ordnance on the hospital.
Actor Mark Wahlberg will be visiting troops overseas to plug Wahlburgers, a fast-casual restaurant chain owned by the actor and his two brothers, Donnie Wahlberg, and chef Paul Wahlberg.