Should Trump Be Impeached? Should He Be Convicted?
The Founding Fathers, the framers of the US Constitution, set a high bar for impeachment and a difficult path to impeach a President. http://www.luciensblog.com/blog/2019/9/19/impeachment President Trump is now formally the subject of an impeachment investigation due to his phone call with the President of the Ukraine seeking a corruption investigation of Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. The call linked the effort to gather dirt on his potential opponent for the Presidency in 2020 to the delivery of Congressionally approved funding for the Ukrainian military. For the President this appears to be a repeating pattern as he and his campaign used roughly the same scenario with the Russians in his 2016 Presidential campaign against Secretary Clinton. It appears that Attorney General Bill Barr and Trump’s personal lawyer, New York’s ex-Mayor Giuliani and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may be implicated as well in the President’s efforts. It is possible we are only seeing the tip of an iceberg of his efforts to secure re-election in the face of his personal unpopularity with the American people; these are the types of acts of a desperate man facing a difficult election contest.
Joe Biden in the latest Fox poll is leading President Trump by 15 points. https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/31/politics/trump-democrat-matchups-analysis/index.html President Trump sees him as his most formidable rival for re-election.
In 2016, then Vice President Biden went to the Ukraine to deliver a tough message on ending corruption to the Government of the Ukraine; its Prosecutor General was turning a blind eye to corruption in the view of the US and most of our European allies. The government of the Ukraine eventually replaced the prosecutor with a more aggressive leader on anti-corruption efforts. Hunter Biden at the time sat on the Board of a major natural gas company in the Ukraine. Giuliani and Trump are trying to suggest that Joe Biden was trying to protect his son and the gas company whose Board he sat on from an investigation by the corrupt, do-nothing prosecutor who was removed. There is absolutely no evidence of that, and even if there had been, that would not excuse the President’s conduct.
Congress appropriated about $400 million in military assistance to the Ukraine, which has been invaded by Russia in the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, for self defense. Several days before Trump’s phone call with the newly elected President of the Ukraine, the President ordered his staff not to deliver the appropriated funds.
On the call the Trump reminded the newly elected President of the US’ critical role in funding the Ukrainian military defenses and asked him to do him a few favors. The key favor to which he returned an estimated eight times during their call was to begin a corruption investigation of the Biden’s. He asked the President to work closely with Attorney General Barr and his own personal attorney Giuliani. He also disparaged the US ambassador to the Ukraine who he had abruptly recalled a few months earlier during a period when Giuliani was contacting Ukrainian officials in an effort to gin up an investigation of the Biden’s. The funds were finally released earlier this month.
When a whistleblower bravely called out the President’s actions, the White House and the Attorney General swept the complaint under the rug and refused to release the Inspector General’s findings to Congress as required by law. Now it appears they tried to hide it from public scrutiny as well.
This would be a textbook case for impeachment in the views of our Constitutional framers, as expressed by Madison and Hamilton and many others. https://harvardlawreview.org/20 18/12/to-end-a-republican-presidency/ In terms of Constitutional red lines, it’s like driving down the wrong side of the road, running red lights at 100 miles an hour while drunk (in this case on power). However Congress needs to nail down all the facts first. Impeachment is a difficult and divisive process that diverts Congressional attention from all other important legislative matters. However, this is exactly the same game plan that Trump, his family and associates worked with the Russians in 2016 (remember the President’s plea to the Russians to find the Clinton e-mails and the Trump Tower meeting to get dirt on Secretary Clinton) when they did not have all the awesome powers of the Presidency that they now have at their disposal. It looks as if the President is trying to re-write recent history as well, dispatching Attorney General Barr to Australia, England and Italy to persuade their current governments to revise their intelligence assessments of the connections between the Trump campaign, Russia and WikiLeaks.
While one (including me) might well prefer to have the American people overwhelmingly reject the President in 2020 rather than go through the enormous distractions of impeachment, this is such a severe test of our Democracy and Constitutional framework that lawmakers cannot help but do their sworn duty and impeach the President if the facts are as they now appear. It’s as if the President learned nothing from the Mueller Report other than reading it as a green light to do it again; one really has to question the judgements of Attorney General Barr in misleading the President (and the American people) that he’d been given a clean bill of health by Special Counsel Mueller; he wasn’t. Whether the President would be convicted and removed after a trial in the Senate is an open question given the hard partisan lines that divide the lawmakers from each party, but there is little doubt in my mind that all but his most blinded Senate partisans are aware of the serious violation of the President’s sacred oath of office and the breach of his constitutional obligations to the nation.
The ancient Greeks said it best in recounting the fall from power of the excessively mighty and arrogant “those whom the Gods would destroy, they first drive mad”.
Prepared by: Lucien Wulsin