NY Times editorial: impeach the Party of Trump

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Update to Impeaching The Party of Trump: ‘A Clear and Present Danger to Our Free and Fair Elections and to Our National Security’.

The New York Times today in an editorial makes the same point that I have been making for weeks: impeach the Party of Trump. This dangerous personality cult of Donald Trump, a hallmark of authoritarian tyranny, needs to be removed from office en masse and held accountable for their anti-democratic, anti-American descent into crypto-fascism. These “Rootin’ for Putin” Republicans are a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to ur national security.

The survival of American democracy is at stake and will be determined in the crucible of impeachment and the ugliest presidential campaign in American history in the coming year. Every patriotic American needs to stand up and be counted in defense of democracy with your vote.

The Times editorializes, Trump Has Been Impeached. Republicans Are Following Him Down.

On Wednesday evening, the House of Representatives impeached the president of the United States. A magnificent and terrible machine engineered by the founders, still and silent through almost all of American history, has for only the third time in 231 years shifted into motion, to consider whether Congress must call a president to account for abuse of power.

So why does it all seem so banal? The outcome so foreordained?

Most people say they know what’s going to happen, and who are we to say they’re wrong? The House voted to impeach Donald Trump by a party-line vote, with the exception of three Democrats representing Trump-friendly districts who voted against at least one article of impeachment. In the next month or two, the Senate will almost surely acquit him, also on a party-line vote.

It isn’t supposed to be this way. There’s plenty of blame to go around for the intense — really, infantilizing — degree of polarization that has overwhelmed American politics across the past 40 years. But the nihilism of this moment — the trashing of constitutional safeguards, the scorn for facts, the embrace of corruption, the indifference to historical precedent and to foreign interference in American politics — is due principally to cowardice and opportunism on the part of Republican leaders who have chosen to reject their party’s past standards and positions and instead follow Donald Trump, all the way down.

It’s a lot to ask of Republicans to insist on holding their own leader accountable, just as that was a lot to expect of Democrats during the Clinton impeachment inquiry. But while many Democrats then criticized President Bill Clinton and some voted to impeach him, Republican lawmakers would not breathe a word against Mr. Trump on Wednesday.

Instead, they competed with one another to invoke the most outlandish metaphor of evil — from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ — and suggest that Mr. Trump is enduring even worse.

Senate Republicans are preparing to follow the example of their House colleagues, though many know better. Not so very long ago, several of them — including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, even the majority leader, Mitch McConnell — warned that Donald Trump was wrong for the country. Lindsey Graham memorably called Mr. Trump “a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot” who was “unfit for office.” Now these senators seem eager to endorse the very sort of behavior they feared.

It is not too much to wonder how much of this cynicism and betrayal of principle any democracy can handle.

Every president from George Washington onward has been accused of misconduct of one kind or another, and many have faced calls for their impeachment. But Congress has resorted to the ultimate remedy so rarely because of the unspoken agreement that it should be reserved for only the most egregious and inexcusable offenses against the national interest.

Mr. Trump himself drew this distinction in 2008, arguing that President George W. Bush should have been impeached for lying about the reasons for the Iraq war, while at the same time rejecting the Republicans’ impeachment of Mr. Clinton for lying about sex as “nonsense,” done for something “totally unimportant.”

Of course, a serial sexual predator credibly accused of sexual assault and rape would say that, projecting his own defense.

By any reasonable measure, Mr. Trump’s own conduct in office clears the bar for impeachment set by the founders. The case against him is that he solicited foreign interference to help in his 2020 re-election campaign, that he used hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to do it, that his administration tried to hide the evidence and that he then blocked Congress from performing its constitutionally mandated role of checking the executive branch. Multiple government officials, some appointed by the president himself, have confirmed all of these facts.

There may be no better illustration of what the Constitution’s framers considered to be impeachable conduct. And that’s leaving to the side strong evidence that Mr. Trump has committed other impeachable offenses, including taking foreign money at his personal businesses, obstructing justice and violating campaign-finance laws — the latter two of which are also federal crimes.

Through it all, Mr. Trump has had the opportunity to rebut the charges. By his account, he could have extinguished both articles of impeachment by allowing top administration officials to testify under oath. If he really did nothing wrong, the testimony of these officials would exonerate him of the charge of abusing his power, and simply their appearance under oath would dissolve the charge of obstructing Congress.

And yet when given the opportunity to defend himself, the president has refused to participate, defying all of the House’s subpoenas for witnesses and documents, effectively declaring himself unaccountable.

His defense has consisted of sending all-caps tweets accusing the Democrats of perpetrating a “hoax” and trying to overturn an election. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump delivered an unhinged, error-ridden six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in which he called the impeachment inquiry “an illegal, partisan attempted coup” and claimed that the Salem witch trials provided more due process. Tell that to the women and men who were hanged in Massachusetts.

The president’s letter demonstrated again his complete failure to offer a substantive defense. His refusal to admit he did the slightest thing wrong, or to offer witnesses who could affirm his innocence, left the House with no choice but to impeach him. By the sworn testimony about his actions, and by his own public statements calling on China and Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, he has shown not only that he tried to cheat to win the 2020 election, but that he is continuing to do so.

The case now moves to the Senate for a trial, which will be presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts. The chief justice will have the power to rule on any disputes that arise, but his rulings can be overturned by a majority of senators. Though he may be reluctant to be dragged into what might seem political disputes, Chief Justice Roberts has the authority and the duty to make this process more than a partisan farce.

Ideally, many of those disputes would be hammered out by Senate leaders before the trial begins, and would include rules that allow for compelling the production of documents that the White House has withheld, as well as requiring the testimony of witnesses whom Mr. Trump blocked from appearing before the House, including John Bolton, the former national security adviser; Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff; and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

7 in 10 say Trump should allow top aides to testify in Senate impeachment trial:

Roughly 7 in 10 Americans said in a new poll that President Trump should allow top administration aides to testify in a Senate impeachment trial.

The survey, conducted by ABC News and The Washington Post, found that 71 percent of respondents said Trump should allow his aides to testify while 22 percent disagreed.

Almost 8 in 10 Democrats — 79 percent — said that Trump should allow aides to testify in a Senate trial, compared to 72 percent of independents and 64 percent of Republicans.

And How can Republicans get away with not forcing Giuliani to testify? Or his two indicted henchmen, ‘Lev and Igor’ Who Fueled the Trump Impeachment Flames? Or former National Security adviser John Bolton, who was in the loop on all of Rudy’s misdeeds and Called Rudy Giuliani “a hand grenade who is going to blow everybody up”? Or Vice President Mike Pence, who may have purposefully misled the impeachment panel about the contents of his Zelensky call?

Republicans do not want to know the truth — they can’t handle the truth.

Unfortunately, the Senate is led by [“The Enemy of The People”], [“Moscow Mitch”] McConnell.

Mr. McConnell, who like all senators will swear an oath to “do impartial justice” at the start of the trial, has already vowed to violate that oath. “I’m not an impartial juror. This is a political process,” Mr. McConnell said on Tuesday. “The House made a partisan political decision to impeach. I would anticipate we will have a largely partisan outcome in the Senate.” He has also vowed to coordinate directly with the White House on all aspects of the trial.

This is jury rigging, a felony crime in any other context, and constitutes obstruction of justice. “Moscow Mitch,” like Donald Trump, apparently believes that by declaring out loud in public that he is committing a crime means that it is somehow not a crime because he is not doing it in secret.

No one is suggesting that House Democrats are above playing politics, but at least they held hearings, considered evidence and did their best to get at the truth. Mr. McConnell won’t even promise that much.

The bottom line is that impeachment in the House is unlikely to protect the country from Mr. Trump’s abuse of power, because his fellow party leaders prize their power more than the principles they say they stand for. The only way to protect American democracy is for those who value it to put it to work, and vote these [Republicans] out.

“Rootin’ for Putin” Republicans are coordinating their talking points with the Kremlin. Putin: Trump impeachment ‘far-fetched,’ Senate will acquit:

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the U.S. impeachment process “far-fetched” Thursday, making a seemingly obvious prediction that Donald Trump will be acquitted in the Senate.

Putin said Thursday at his annual news conference in Moscow that the move is a continuation of the Democrats’ fight against Trump.

“The party that lost the (2016) election, the Democratic Party, is trying to achieve results by other means,” Putin said.

He likened Trump’s impeachment to the earlier U.S. probe into collusion with Russia, which Putin downplayed as being groundless.

Putin noted that the impeachment motion “is yet to pass the Senate where the Republicans have a majority.” He added that “they will be unlikely to remove a representative of their own party from office on what seems to me an absolutely far-fetched reason.”

These disloyal “Rootin’ for Putin” Republicans have betrayed the Constitution, their oaths of office, and their country. What they are doing is “morally treasonable to the American public,” as President Teddy Roosevelt once said. They all need to be removed from office, and the Party of Trump consigned to the ash heap of history.




4 COMMENTS

  1. Nancy should take a page from Moscow Mitch McConnell’s book of dirty tricks and not send the Impeachment to the Senate.

    Thus depriving Trump and the Cult of Trump (formerly the GOP) their fake acquittal dog and pony show.

    At least delay it for awhile, and let Trump commit a few more crimes, forcing the GOP to act like they care about America again.

    • Constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe in an op-ed last June wrote, “Impeach Trump. But don’t necessarily try him in the Senate.”, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/impeach-trump-but-dont-necessarily-try-him-in-the-senate/2019/06/05/22d83672-87bc-11e9-a870-b9c411dc4312_story.html

      “The House, assuming an impeachment inquiry leads to a conclusion of Trump’s guilt, could choose between presenting articles of impeachment even to a Senate pre-committed to burying them and dispensing with impeachment as such while embodying its conclusions of criminality or other grave wrongdoing in a condemnatory “Sense of the House” resolution far stronger than a mere censure. The resolution, expressly and formally proclaiming the president impeachable but declining to play the Senate’s corrupt game, is one that even a president accustomed to treating everything as a victory would be hard-pressed to characterize as a vindication. (A House resolution finding the president “impeachable” but imposing no actual legal penalty would avoid the Constitution’s ban on Bills of Attainder, despite its deliberately stigmatizing character as a “Scarlet ‘I’ ” that Trump would have to take with him into his reelection campaign.)

      The point would not be to take old-school House impeachment leading to possible Senate removal off the table at the outset. Instead, the idea would be to build into the very design of this particular inquiry an offramp that would make bypassing the Senate an option while also nourishing the hope that a public fully educated about what this president did would make even a Senate beholden to this president and manifestly lacking in political courage willing to bite the bullet and remove him.

      [T]he House would be doing the right thing as a constitutional matter. It would be acting consistent with its overriding obligation to establish that no president is above the law, all the while keeping an eye on the balance of political considerations without setting the dangerous precedent that there are no limits to what a corrupt president can get away with as long as he has a compliant Senate to back him. And pursuing this course would preserve for all time the tale of this uniquely troubled presidency.”

      • Professor Laurnce Tribe follows up in recent op-ed, “Don’t let Mitch McConnell conduct a Potemkin impeachment trial”, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dont-let-mitch-mcconnell-conduct-a-potemkin-impeachment-trial/2019/12/16/71a81b30-202f-11ea-a153-dce4b94e4249_story.html

        “[A]nother option seems vital to consider: voting for articles of impeachment but holding off for the time being on transmitting them to the Senate.

        This option needs to be taken seriously now that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has announced his intention to conduct not a real trial but a whitewash, letting the president and his legal team call the shots.

        Such an approach could have both tactical and substantive benefits. As a tactical matter, it could strengthen Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) hand in bargaining over trial rules with McConnell because of McConnell’s and Trump’s urgent desire to get this whole business behind them. On a substantive level, it would be justified to withhold going forward with a Senate trial. Under the current circumstances, such a proceeding would fail to render a meaningful verdict of acquittal. It would also fail to inform the public, which has the right to know the truth about the conduct of its president.”

        • “It would also fail to inform the public, which has the right to know the truth about the conduct of its president.”

          That’s always the GOP plan.

          I usually keep my political donations local, but I may give some of what little we can give to Amy McGrath.

          Moscow Mitch is the bigger danger to our democracy than even Trump.

          Thanks for the work you and the others do on this blog.

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