Imagine the following: Kevin McCarthy is still a CSUB student and taking a class from me that he must have to graduate. Sadly, we are now at the end of the term and it is clear he will not pass. He thus stops by my office and asks if he can do extra credit to pull his score into the passing zone. My response: “We can probably work something out. I need you to do me a favor, though.”

Would anyone not see this as an attempt to extort him? I am obviously seeking a quid pro quo: “I’ll help you if you do my bidding.” Note that I don’t have to explicitly threaten him, nor does he even need to see it as coercive. The power imbalance, plus his dire need for something that only I can give him, are sufficient for it to be extortion.

It also doesn’t matter what the requested favor is; it could even be something legitimate. It is blackmail regardless. But add that my request is in fact for something nefarious – in Trump’s case to dig up dirt on Biden and to investigate a thoroughly discredited conspiracy theory – and we have our current impeachment state of affairs. And despite his attempts to redirect, it is all right there in the call’s transcript! Trump’s own words directly implicate him in precisely the sort of behavior the Framers had in mind when they designed the impeachment clause. All the evidence one needs is in black and white, with the hearings reinforcing it a thousand fold.

Members of Congress, do your duty and remove him.

Christopher Meyers, Bakersfield