The time has come! The time is now! Enough about Democrats debating over whether impeachment of Donald J. Trump will result in a political backlash in 2020!
Enough about Republicans continuing to enable this unfit president for fear of being “primaried.” Enough about Congress failing to meet its Constitutional responsibility to remove a president from the office of which he demonstrates, on an almost daily basis, that he is unfit to hold and, in so doing, jeopardizes the safety and security of this nation.
The Mueller Report provided Congress with more than enough justification to place this president in the impeachment club currently occupied by Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon (almost) and Bill Clinton. It is time for the rule of law to be defended and protected as it is the key element of our democracy. “Mueller time” is now and now is the time to move forward with articles of impeachment.
Trump, as promised during the presidential campaign, brought his business model to the White House: Ignore all laws, regulations and long-established protocols that do not suit him.
Sadly, he also brought with him the practice of divide and conquer by using fear, racism, misogyny and, maybe most of all, xenophobia to affect that national divisiveness.
Add to this a historical degree of ineptitude and corruption never imagined in a sitting president, and it is clearly the right time to correct the greatest affront to our democracy ever experienced: Trump! It is time to impeach this president!
Let us begin with the Democrats concerns regarding a potential political backlash in 2020 similar to that experienced by Republicans in the aftermath of the Clinton impeachment in 1998 if they move forward with an impeachment hearing. Since it was a Republican who became president in 2000 and the Republicans held on to the majority in the House of Representatives, it appears the only Republican who experienced a backlash was Newt Gingrich losing his Speakership. Not a great loss.
Moreover, when the very foundation of our democracy is being jeopardized, principles need to outweigh politics.
However, it should also be recognized by Democrats fearful of a backlash that the circumstances in today’s political environment are far different than they were in 1998. Clinton was a popular president with a favorability rating of near 60 percent. Trump has a favorability rating of 39 percent and an unfavorability rating of 57 percent.
Furthermore, Clinton’s impeachment was for lying about personal transgressions. This is far different than Trump’s transgressions as outlined in Mueller Report. The Trump transgressions deal with getting in the way of a formal investigation into a foreign adversary influencing an American presidential election.
The Trump transgressions bordered on jeopardizing our national security; Clinton’s transgressions certainly did not.
An analogy regarding circumstances for a Trump impeachment is closer to Nixon than Clinton. The articles of impeachment drawn up against Richard Nixon included obstruction of justice. The fact that Nixon’s obstruction was captured on tape and Trump’s obstruction was performed quite often in plain sight does not make the obstruction any less an act of obstruction. As the Mueller Report makes clear, “No principle of law excludes public acts from the reach of the obstruction laws.”
Also to be considered are the results of the 2018 midterm elections which served as a referendum on the Trump presidency. The historic turnover in the House of Representatives which placed Democrats in the majority in the House came with it a mandate for Democrats to exercise its House oversight responsibility as envisioned by the founding fathers with the concepts of checks and balances and separation of powers.
The Mueller Report provided Congress with a so-called “roadmap” for impeachment. Now is the time for both Democrats AND Republicans to follow that “roadmap.”
As Mueller states in his report: “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Clearly, the issue of obstruction remains unresolved even if it did not rise to the criminal standard for an indictment. An impeachment hearing will serve to examine if it rose to a “high crime or misdemeanor.”
The expectation on the part of Mueller for Congress to take the “baton” and move forward on the issue of presidential obstruction is made evident with the following statement from the report: “With respect to whether the president can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his power under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has authority to prohibit a president’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice.”
That, ladies and gentlemen, is precisely the situation in which we currently find ourselves with the sitting president. As for impeachment, if not now, when?
If not Trump, then who? If Congress does not hold this president accountable, then it is, in effect, condoning his behavior and his almost continued mocking of the rule of law.
Even now, he continues to mock the rule of law by ignoring subpoenas legally issued by House committees.
Moreover, by condoning the behavior of this president as thoroughly captured in the Mueller Report, we would also be, in effect, condoning the intrusion of foreign adversaries into our elections. That was the main finding of the report as outlined in the first volume. To do nothing is to welcome a recurrence of foreign meddling in our next election.
As the Mueller Report so eloquently concludes: “The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president’s corrupt exercise of the powers of the office accords with our Constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”