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Disappointed

Representative Fred Keller has so far been doing an exceptional job so far, with constituent outreach, a strong and sincere interest in keeping Pennsylvanians in his district informed, and seems to be working hard in Congress on issues of interest to residents of this district.

I was therefore disappointed to read his column of Nov. 3 in these pages, concerning the impeachment inquiry. I believe it contains several misstatements of fact.

He states several times that the Democrats in the House have “done nothing” legislatively but chase impeachment. Mr. Keller knows, or should know, that the Democratically run House has passed over 280 bills since January and sent them to the Senate, where Mitch McConnell tables them. He refers to the “Russian collusion hoax which failed.” If he read the Mueller report, he should know that verified obstruction aside, there were many documented contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russian operatives, including the campaign manager, Paul Manafort, meeting with a Russian oligarch close to Putin, not once, but several times, to discuss Midwest campaign strategy, and that at one of these meetings, Manafort turned over RNC in-house polling data to the Russian. Pretty much the textbook definition of collusion/conspiracy. He states that the actions of the Democrats in the House are “meant to deny the will of the American people.” The will of the majority was expressed in a popular win for Trump’s opponent, not a real popular candidate, by three million votes. The Electoral College was won by 77,000 votes split between Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, where, by the way, voters viewed pro-Trump or mostly anti-Clinton Russian propaganda messages on social media an estimated 120 million times during the campaign.

He goes on to state that Speaker Pelosi announced the start of the investigation without a floor vote. Mr. Keller should be aware that House regulations do not call for such a vote as a necessary starting point. What the House’s role is in impeachment is similar to a prosecuting attorney’s role, investigating and interviewing witnesses. The actual trial will, if the House approves articles of impeachment, happen in the Senate, where Trump will in fact receive “due process.”

The House Democrats are following committee rules laid down by the Republicans several years ago, as Rep. Keller should also know. He states in his column that Republicans have been kicked out of meetings. Well, yes, because they were not members of those committees, and were breaking the rules of the House, again, set by Republicans. Each of these committees has ample Republican members who do attend the hearings and have equal time to interview witnesses. Transcripts have now been released, in order, and the Democrats have promised to release them all. Public hearings begin on Wednesday, Nov. 13. It’s disingenuous to claim a closed-door process, but, if you’re defending the indefensible, what else can you do? Please note that nowhere in Rep. Keller’s column does he attempt to explain or defend Trump’s actions, but tries, like the right wing media, to just make baseless attacks on the process of the investigation, and the motives of the Democratic leadership.

As an aside, Speaker Pelosi’s defense of the Constitution and the rule of law seems to have united her caucus, not divided them, and an objective observer would agree that any alienation of their political opponents is being done by the Republicans, with stunts like their “invasion” of a hearing, where some of them were actually members, who had been in attendance.

Notwithstanding, I believe Congressman Keller has the potential to be an excellent Representative. He needs to stop following the dictates of his party’s leaders, however, and stand for facts and objective truth. I encourage him to be on the right side of history in this matter.

Lawrence Ross

Loyalsock Township

Submitted via email

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