Congress must start impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump without delay. Here’s why in a quick succession of morning ideas.
First, test your common sense. Check your loyalty to democratic principles. Have you read the [redacted] Mueller report? Have you listened with an open mind to analyses? Ask yourself: At any other time with any other President, would there be any hesitation to impeach? Your fair and honest answer must be “No.” For me, it is a “Hell no!”
I lived through the ludicrous attack on Bill Clinton and the hypocritical outrage over his blowjob with a consenting adult. The GOP managed to catch Clinton in a lie and bring on impeachment; they couldn’t convict. These sanctimonious Senators are still around. How dare they look the other way when Trump lies daily while shredding our democratic processes. How dare they shrug while he ignores the proof of a prolonged Russian military attack on the people of the United States. How dare they remain silent while Donald Trump sidles up to and praises the enemy who launched that assault. How dare they defend the man who engaged in repeated, documented efforts to thwart this federal investigation into that campaign of cyber warfare and his campaign’s complicity.
Trump is unbound now. He has his Roy Cohn, a rogue Attorney General who presents a grave danger to the system of law and order. Barr could delay or otherwise block ongoing criminal cases related to Mueller’s findings – those 14 referrals mentioned in his report. Some of these cases likely affect Trump, his cronies, Trump family members or Trump’s suspicious financial dealings with foreign powers.
In addition to the danger Barr presents with the cases moving forward, Trump still has his pardon power to weaken this very significant leverage of prosecutors. There is little doubt that he will wield this in an abuse of power to protect himself.
Timing is everything.
Trump is disempowering the Department of Homeland Security, charged with protecting our federal infrastructure from cyber attack, and with helping to fortify state electoral systems.
Mueller’s detailed expose on Russia’s attack on the U.S. makes clear our vulnerability. Rather than strengthen our cyber defenses via DHS, Trump has weakened them. He has refused to replace the Acting Defense Secretary with a permanent appointment, another pernicious way to weaken our defenses.
Trump is diverting the country’s resources and attention away from the significant threats of foreign interference with his fake border emergency. Troll armies are reinforcing this fake emergency. And what is being done to protect America from our real enemies?
We are under attack at this moment. The question is whether our electoral systems can withstand such an assault in 2020 from an emboldened foreign adversary. Do we dare chance it?
If Congress decides to forestall impeachment in lieu of the 2020 vote, and if our electoral systems are compromised, we are screwed.
Another four years of Trump will bring untold harm to our country, our resources and our people. Trump in his dotage may cede more power to likes of Stephen Miller and Jared Kushner. He will transform the Executive, delegitimize the Legislative branch and solidify his hold over the Judicial system. America will enter dark times.
We may be unhappy with Mueller’s lack of an indictment against Trump. We have to accept what he did provide. Mueller printed a roadmap for Congress, detailing specific instances of obstruction complete with evidence. His gift is wrapped in a gleaming bow and addressed to the House Judiciary.
Robert Mueller defined the options for presidential abuse of power. First, there is the political remedy: impeachment. Once removed, the offending president must face criminal prosecution.
Mueller spells it out. He tells Congress that he cannot indict a sitting president for his crimes. However, Congress has an option to deal with the criminality. This is impeachment followed by prosecution. Mueller admits that removal by Congress is a “drastic and rarely invoked remedy.” Yet the remedy allows for justice. Impeachment removes the cover of immunity from a criminal president, and lets justice take place.
Make no mistake. Mueller has not vindicated Donald Trump. On the contrary, his final statement is a clear pronouncement of guilt. He “does not exonerate” Donald Trump.
One final note related to the above. If Trump is guilty of criminal conduct, as Mueller implies, there is a five-year statute of limitations attached. If he is reelected to a second term, and then leaves office, that term will have ended. He will not face criminal prosecution.
Speaker Pelosi no doubt prefers voting Trump out of office rather than engaging in an impeachment battle with Senate Republicans. Her decision was tactical and preceded the release of the [redacted] Mueller report.
Pelosi assumed several things:
- The Senate GOP will never vote to impeach Trump,
- Our election system will be free from compromise and all votes will be counted,
- The vote will not be split by third party candidates as it was in 2016, and
- A Democrat will win the presidency.
Every one of these presumptions is shaky. Let’s look at the first one because it appears the least likely to fall.
Implicit in assuming that the GOP Senate will not convict Trump in an impeachment trial is an underlying premise. Pelosi does not believe the American people will demand impeachment. She does not have faith in the outrage of the citizenry. Is she correct?
I am not sure.
Imagine a publicly televised Senate impeachment trial. Day after day, Americans will see witnesses from Trump’s administration – his people – tell of his temper tantrums, his threats, his demands that Mueller be fired or Sessions “un-recuse”, hear how he belittled and damned cooperating witnesses, showered love on criminals who kept mum; Americans will learn how he corrupted Congressional Republicans like Nunes and Burr, how he lied over and over and over again, how he threatened family members of a key witness, how his memory left him when thorny questions arose; how he fired the FBI Director, exulted when the Acting FBI Director was fired. We’ll hear the White House Counsel tell of Trump’s obstructive demands, listen to his former campaign manager talk about Trump’s crazy requests.
Day after day, the nastiness, the abuse and the criminality will pour out of smart phones and TV sets and live streams. There won’t be interludes or diversions, no tweet tirades or Giuliani obfuscation.
There will be unending intrigue, high drama, the kind of hypnotic courtroom reality that sticks. Republicans and Democrats, third party voters, even the Trump cult will all be exposed.
It is this unending potency of reality TV that we need.
The trial drama may be just the thing to shake apathetic Americans out of inertia.
And, if America rises up in one voice to say: IMPEACH THE MUTHAFUCKER! then this is what will move the recalcitrant Republicans. Don’t forget: Bill Weld is now offering a choice for GOP voters with his primary challenge to Trump. The landscape is changing. It is always changing.
Trump must go. He is a criminal and a thug. The high irony is that the office of the presidency protects his criminality. We must remove that protection. Congress must impeach Donald Trump. He must face prosecution.