Impeachment should not be thought of as a means to remove Trump from office, but as a way to shine a very public light on the fact that the Republican Party have abdicated their constitutional duties in favor of maintaining power at any cost.
By David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, September 24, 2019
From before he even took the oath of office, President Trump was operating like the grifter and conman that he has always been. He has treated the office of the Presidency as if it were his personal office in Trump Tower and has conducted the business of running America, in much the same fashion as he ran his businesses, which is to say poorly.
Republicans such as Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell were all too happy to support the President in his flouting of the law and democratic norms, because they felt that was their best avenue to stacking the courts and cutting taxes. They have either willfully or neglectfully aided and abetted criminal behavior by Trump and his administration time and time again. The list is not only long, it’s shameless, immoral, unethical, abhorrent and criminal.*
Obstruction of Justice
Not long after he took office Trump attempted to get then FBI director James Comey to stop investigating his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. When Comey refused, Trump fired him. He went on to try to fire Comey’s successor Robert Mueller.
Profiting From The Presidency
The Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause prohibits the president from accepting personal benefits from any foreign government or official. Trump has never removed himself from any of his businesses, so that every time a foreign dignitary stays at one of his properties in the hopes of gaining favor, he profits. Every time Trump goes to one of his golf properties and charges the federal government millions, he profits. He’s even gone so far as to suggest that next year’s G7 Summit be held at his Doral resort in Florida.
In the middle of the 2016 election, President Trump’s son took a meeting with a Russian national in the hopes of digging up dirt on his political opponent. Federal law prohibits campaigns from soliciting anything of value from a foreign national.
Advocating Political Violence
From the early days of his political rallies Trump told his audiences to beat up protestors, going so far as to say he would pay their legal fees. He encourages police officers and soldiers to use violence against alleged criminals and immigrants. When white nationals rioted in Charlottesville, he gave them political cover, claiming that both sides has been wrong.
Abuse of Power
President Trump’s decision to pardon Joe Arpaio amounted to an abuse of the pardon power that revealed his indifference to individual rights and equal protections under the law. Joe Arpaio was convicted for contempt of court after ignoring a court order that he stop detaining and searching people based on the color of their skin, which constitutes a violation of their rights. Pardoning this conviction goes against the Fifth Amendment, which allows the judiciary to issue and enforce injunctions against government officials who flout individual rights.
Prosecuting Political Opponents
President Trump has repeatedly tried to use the power of the Presidency to pressure the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute his political opponents, based on nothing more than his desire to look powerful. There is no national security function to this, only power and politics. This is an obvious abuse of power and clear grounds for impeachment
Attacking The Press
One of Trump’s more egregious transgressions is his attack of the free press as fake news and an enemy of the people. This has been nothing more than a blatant attempt to discredit criticism of his administration and the falsehoods he puts out on a daily, even hourly basis.
Violating Due Process
Not only doesn’t President Trump think the law applies to him, he actively and vocally encourages or instructs those who work for him to break the law as well. He has shown contempt for both the courts and the rule of law in multiple instances, including how we deal with immigration and refugees. The catastrophe at the border is completely his doing and represents what many consider to be a crime against humanity.
Violating Campaign Finance
There is no question that in making payouts to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, in order to not incur a damaging political fallout from their discovery, he was violating campaign finance law. The fact that these payments were made with the full knowledge of the campaign, is further damning. Trump has already been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the matter.
But even if all that weren’t all true, the threshold for impeachment doesn’t have to be criminal in nature to be applied. On January 16, 1999, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina stood on the floor of the United States Senate and made a striking claim about what it meant to impeach a president. “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role,” he said. “Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
The reality is, a Republican controlled Senate is not likely to vote to impeach a sitting Republican President, especially at a time when the entire Republican Party has show no interest in standing up for morality, let alone ideology. Their only path forward now, is one that maintains power for white, Christians and restricts the possibility of losing power to an increasingly diverse electorate.
So why impeach?
The rationale for impeachment would be to allow Democrats to hold an investigation in a chamber where they hold power, in order to shine a light on the hypocrisy of the Republican Party and the utter contempt for the rule of law they claim they behold as sacred.
For decades Republicans have held themselves up as beacons of patriotism and defenders of the rule of law, while casting Democrats as soft and unpatriotic. A thorough investigation would prove their entire narrative to be false. A real understanding of the President’s wrongdoing and the Republican leadership’s complicity would show the Republicans to be everything they claim they are not. Unethical. Immoral. Criminal. Treasonous. Americans might actually get to see the man behind the curtain, and the lies they’ve been told to obtain their loyalty. They might actually begin to understand just how badly they’ve been duped by wealthy men in Washington.
Now it’s true, that President Trump really could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue tomorrow and most of his base would cheer the murder. But we don’t need everyone to come around. We need enough of the electorate to see the hypocrisy and shameless pillaging of our country for profit, as unAmerican, irresponsible, and not worthy of leading what was once considered the world’s greatest democracy.
We need Democratic leadership in this country to look to a long-term future for democracy and the rule of law in America. They need to be working to save our democratic institutions and not their own jobs and grasp of power.
They need to begin impeachment proceedings and they need to use the process of inherent contempt to enforce compliance of their constitutional duties.
They need to do it immediately.