This article was originally published on Truthout.

This week in the United States, the impeachment hearings made clear that President Trump abused his office and committed a crime against the Constitution. Not only did he attempt to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating his presidential political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in exchange for military aid, Trump also used the power of his administration to pressure loyal followers, such as Rudy Giuliani (his personal lawyer) to claim that Ukraine, not Russia, had intervened in the 2016 election — a position completely debunked by every U.S. government intelligence agency.

In addition, Trump once again displayed his disregard for the law and the separation of powers by refusing to cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry, claiming that the evidence pointing to his use of power to secure political favors from the Ukrainian government was fake news and amounted to nothing more than a witch hunt. Moreover, he escalated his contempt for the proceedings by conducting a smear campaign against investigators leading the hearings by calling them “human scum.” And he threatened Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, who criticized Trump’s policies with Ukraine, and derided media outlets that critically covered the event.

At the same time, Trump made clear his disdain for any viable notion of justice by pardoning three American servicemen accused of war crimes. There is more at stake here than simply a president’s abuse of office for political gain and his authoritarian embrace of unaccountable power and a shameful disregard for the law. Trump has launched a direct attack on the ideological, institutional and ethical foundations central to the functioning of a democracy.

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