The question before the country is serious. Are the actions of President Donald J Trump deserving of the ultimate Constitutional remedy? This would be removed from office by the means of impeachment. This discussion is deep and can be divisive. Impeachment, by design, was not supposed to be easy. It was supposed to be hard, but ultimately it is a way to remove a chief executive that has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.
This debate is showing the strains within the Democratic Party. Chairman of the Justice Committee Jerry Nadler (D-NY) announced formally that he started an impeachment inquiry. In fact, it started on March 4 as JustSecurity.Org pointed out:
On March 4, 2019, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler announced an investigation into “the alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by President Trump, his associates, and members of his Administration.
Since then, there has been a national debate going on about whether the committee’s investigation is enough to examine the wrongdoing of President Donald Trump. Is it an impeachment investigation? Is an impeachment inquiry needed? Is a vote needed to begin a formal impeachment proceeding? While the “I” word was not used on March 4, it does not take much imagination to envision what it could lead to if the House Judiciary Committee concludes that Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and/or abuses of power and/or public corruption. Obstruction of justice and abuse of power were the findings of wrongdoing contained in two of the Articles of Impeachment against President Richard Nixon voted by the House Judiciary Committee in July 1974.
The debate has come to an end. We know that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is against impeachment in any form. Why? She learned the wrong lessons from the Bill Clinton impeachment. We know that Clinton was indicted in the House, but the Democratically-controlled Senate did not convict him. The whole matter back then was a shit show and political from the get-go. However, the voters returned I’m to office. She fears the same result as President Trump.
We can argue this is the same situation. However, what Nadler, and others in Judiciary have said, is that this is closer to the Richard Nixon situation. Polling when that started showed the population was not behind the process. They were not because the alleged crimes and misdemeanors were never explained. Nadler argues that the hearings of the Nixon era changed the popular feeling towards Nixon. In the end, even his party turned against him enough where the votes were available in both the House and the Senate. Nixon chose to resign instead of facing months of political crisis, and likely defeat. The process, like now, started before the election. His resignation came after he was elected to a second term. If Nadler is right, and Democrats take the Senate as well, Trump could face removal after reelection. There are many other factors at play, which may indicate he will not be re-elected. Chiefly the economy is starting to turn on Trump.
Nixon was pardoned soon after his resignation by his successor: President Jerry Ford. Therefore, Nixon never faced a trial by jury either. Accepting the pardon meant that he accepted his guilt, which is a fine point most people miss. Then there is the fact that the Oval Office had become a crime scene, ergo not usable by the president.
The House Judiciary Committee has started a process. Whether Nadler is correct, or Pelosi, time will tell. The fact that we are is extremely significant because the process itself can be extremely divisive, and we are already a divided nation. It can be ultimately good, but this is a process. As all Constitutional processes go, it will take time. If enough evidence comes out in hearings, more people will have doubts about the president.
So what is the Judiciary going after? Some of them are Trump’s finances. At play is the apparent enrichment of the president while in the White House. Emoluments are the eighteenth-century term that comes into play. It is in the constitution, and the president is not supposed to get any. All he is supposed to get is sufficient pay and the thanks for his service. These days uncovering the alleged enrichment would betray a level of corruption we have not seen in either modern or older times.
But it’s not just his finances. Yes, Russia is still in the background. Whether we like it or not, the Russian Federation is in the midst of an offensive against this country, and the Western Democracies. Trump’s obsequiousness to Vladimir Putin and the Russian State is still a large question. The president has gone so far as to share intelligence with the Russians and never confront Putin. The question of whether he is an asset, a useful idiot, or both…some people have used the term treason. However, under US laws two witnesses are needed, or admission in open court. Again, it’s not easy, by design.
The Judiciary may go there, but I would not hold my breath.
We all know that the Senate is currently controlled by Republicans. We also know that Leader Mitch McConnell is also getting a critical aluminum plant in Kentucky. I guess this is good for the sake of jobs. There is a catch, one of the co-owners of this new plant is Oleg Deripaska, and the company is Rusal. Deripaska is very close to Putin, and McDonnell played a role in removing sanctions against him and his company. This company is also supposed to supply the US military supply chain.
While the House will not look into this, we should also ask whether McDonnell is compromised as well.
Then there is the issue of changing the Republican Party platform in 2016 to something far friendlier to the Russian Federation. It switched the position of the party regarding Ukraine. For those who do not remember, the Republican Party pre–2016 was still the national security, Cold War Party. This made them a shadow of what they claimed Democrats were, ergo very weak on national security.
We have seen a spectacle of a president hosting the Russian ambassador in the Oval Office. He has refused to turn in the notes of a translator after the meeting at Helsinki, where body language was telling. Then there is Trump’s misuse of intelligence.
As the Judiciary digs in and goes down a rabbit hole or two, they are going to find things. They will be unsavory. As they do, the president will do his level best to distract using his Twitter feed. We know the pattern by now. Nixon did as well. At least his descent into paranoia was confined to the tapes and came out much later.