WASHINGTON – Nearly 300 former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials have signed a statement warning that President Donald Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine are a “profound national security concern” and supporting an impeachment inquiry by Congress to determine “the facts.”
“To be clear, we do not wish to prejudge the totality of the facts or Congress’ deliberative process,” said the statement, released Friday. “At the same time, there is no escaping that what we already know is serious enough to merit impeachment proceedings.”
The collection of signatures was set in motion by National Security Action, an organization founded and largely populated by officials from the Obama administration to call attention to Trump’s “reckless leadership.”
Many of the signers are former Obama officials. But the list includes others who served as career officials in both Democratic and Republican administrations, including Matthew Olsen, head of the Justice Department’s national security division under President George W. Bush and director of the National Counterterrorism Center under President Barack Obama.
Career diplomats also include William Burns, former assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, undersecretary for policy and ambassador to Russia under Bush, and deputy secretary under Obama; Nancy McEldowney, former Bush ambassador to Bulgaria and deputy chief of mission to Turkey; and Jeffrey Feltman, who served in senior State Department positions beginning in the George H.W. Bush administration and for nearly six years as undersecretary general at the United Nations until his 2018 retirement.
Former officials from the intelligence community, the Defense Department, the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security also signed the statement.
“As national security professionals, many of us have long been concerned with President Trump’s actions and their implications for our safety and security,” the statement said. “Some of us have spoken out, but many of us have eschewed politics throughout our careers and, as a result, have not weighed in publicly.
“The revelations of recent days, however, demand a response,” it said. “. . . 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 statement continued: “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.”