THE ARCANE TOOL OF IMPEACHMENT

Time to Wake up & Go Back to Sleep

I have found this impeachment process to be silly and unworkable. If the Founding Fathers ever thought they needed to get rid of a President, they would have just challenged the man to a duel and ended his problematic behavior. That is how Aaron Burr canceled Alexander Hamilton. Burr was a known traitor who was never convicted of either trying to steal land in Louisiana from our government or killing Hamilton. Death by dueling was not a crime in New Jersey at the time and no one could ever prove that Burr intended to hurt his country. Now we have the fate of Donald Trump laid upon the table. Sadly, it was predictable.

For all the nit picking done on both sides of Trump’s trial in Washington last week, the true goal, as stated by Mr. Trump’s wonky defense team, was preventing him from ever becoming President again. It’s a good goal, but perhaps a better one would be finding a way to prevent the return of his mob. It’s unreasonable to think that eliminating the Donald from political life will change the minds of his rabid fans. Trump may support their hate, hyper Nationalism, anti-Semitism, Neo-Nazi values, homophobia, xenophobia, misogynistic beliefs and white supremacist dogma, but their actions are all on them.

We can blame Trump for a lot of things, but they’ll all probably be wrapped up into a big, smelly bag of impeachment shit and ignored. He lied more than 30,000 times in five years, so what is the punishment for that? He stood by as his horrible immigration policies ripped families apart at the border, and he gets a pass for that? He gave rich people more money, ignored poor people and blocked growth for middle class Americans. Most importantly, he never took a stand against harmful domestic terrorists, and that led to the Capitol Hill riot. He’s guilty of inciting the insurrection, but that’s okay with Republicans because they would rather acquit the sinner than risk the loss of his base. Just like Trump wanted, they opened their states early and as the COVID killed people they chalked it up to the “cost of doing business.” Hey, the truth hurts.

So, what have we learned? Well, elections matter and saying that an election was fraudulent or rigged when it wasn’t is treasonous behavior. Trump said whatever he wanted, listened to no one else and cannot fall back on the Ronald Reagan excuse of not being aware of what others were doing around him. The Iran-Contra scandal taught us that a President can “forget” what he knows, lie about facts and insolate himself from any blame no matter how bad the crime. Trump can’t use that excuse, however, because we know the bad and harmful ideas were either his or had his strong endorsement. He’s proud of breaking the law, and to this day believes he’s smarter than everyone and untouchable — Teflon Don.

Donald’s niece, Mary L. Trump, said in her fantastic book that Trump will never run for office again. Let’s hope she’s right, because the man’s oversized prostate of an ego might lead him to take the risk. Think about what could happen if he lost another election. Why put our country through the potential of another uprising? Besides that, why would the Republican Party want a loser to lead their party? Trump’s former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley soundly threw her former boss under the bus, “I don’t think he’s going to be in the picture [2024 Election] I don’t think he can. He’s fallen so far.” She’s absolutely right, but how long will it take the Trump sycophants to figure it out? Are they so removed from reality that they can never progress to a common wisdom?

The impeachment article was focused on the insurrection itself and some say the President’s lack of response after the Capitol building was breached cannot be included as part of the charge. The incitement of the riot, however, is surely a crime and should be examined by a civil court at some time. And we must not focus on the riot only. Much else happened over the last four years. Trump executed many actions that slowly but surely tore holes in the fabric of our democracy. To disregard the sum of all the damage done would be a severe disservice to this country. If we all allow Trump’s trail of treason to be forgotten, then we are all to blame as well.

Should you feel depressed that Donald Trump wasn’t held accountable by the Senate, take heart in what the New York Times published on the final day of the trial, “If this was a conspiracy, Trump was the leader,” said Jonathan Zucker, the lawyer for Dominic Pezzola who is a member of the far-right Proud Boys group and charged with obstructing police officers guarding the Capitol. “He [Trump] was the one calling the shots.” If Mr. Trump was, in anyway, part of the conspiracy, he too may have to face federal charges in this matter. In other words, this isn’t done yet.

Donald Trump has no place in the ongoing American story. Any thinking person should realize that he knows more than he and his attorneys admit and he had been planning not to leave office no matter the results of the election. He’s the spoiled kid who screams and rants until his parent’s cave in just to shut the little monster up. Did the Republicans refusal to convict Trump enable future bad behavior from him and his gang? I hope that isn’t true; we’ll have to wait and see.

Is Donald John Trump the victim he likes to portray himself or is he an exploitation trickster? His martyr syndrome seems out of synch with a guy who was gifted a multi-million-dollar fortune when he was ten years old. He’s never had to work a day in his life and, according to Tony Schwartz, his ghost writer on the Art of the Deal, Trump never worked much at all. He just sat at his desk, made phone calls, lunched, played golf and toured projects, but it was all his minions that did the dirty work. That’s pretty much what he did during his time in the White House too.

Ready To Testify

He hired lawyers like Michael Cohen to pressure people so he would never have to get close to the dirt. He used another large team of lawyers to pound his enemies with litigations. Trump and his organization have been involved in 3,500 lawsuits, being the plaintiffs in 1,900 and the defendants in 1,450 legal actions. They were also on the losing end of 150 bankruptcy cases. On top of all that, Trump was personally named in at least 169 suits in federal court. The Donald is one vindictive son-of-a-bitch and obviously a lawsuit magnet.

We now sit and wait to see what happens next. Will Trump announce his campaign for President for the 2024 Election? Will he buy full page newspaper ads to celebrate his victory and denounce the “deep state” that was always out to get him? Will he continue to claim he won the 2020 Election by a landslide and that it was stolen from him? Will Susan Collins come out and say that Donald Trump has learned his lesson? Sheesh, I hope not.

According to CNBC, “Minutes after voting ‘not guilty’ in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the former president is clearly to blame for the deadly Capitol riot. There’s no question that Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”  McConnell endorsed the view that “President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office.” And the minority leader added, “He didn’t get away with anything, yet. We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being [held] accountable by either one.”

New charges are probably on the way. The end of the impeachment trial is the beginning of deep investigations that uncover more and greater evidence of this man’s deceit and depravity. I’m almost certain he will be charged, but let’s not be certain that he will go to jail. It’s a sad reality that there are different laws for rich people.

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#UnIndictedCoConspirator

Trump Loyalty vs. Real Loyalty

Not only did Donald Trump have a bad day yesterday (8-21-2018), but America had a terrible day as we learned of corruption at the top. We are now faced with the task of repairing the republic.

On these pages we have previously pondered the possibility that someone like Donald Trump might take actions leading to a Constitutional crisis. Well we may have one soon.

There is a notion and policy in the Justice Department that a sitting president cannot be indicted. We aren’t sure if this was what the framers of the Constitution had in mind, but both Republican and Democratic lawyers have used it as a guideline over the years. What some will point out is not what is said, but rather what is written in this case.

In Section 4: Impeachment: The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. The President, Vice-President, Cabinet Secretaries, and other executive officers, as well as judges, may be impeached by the House of Representatives and tried in the Senate.

Any official convicted by the Senate would be immediately removed from office. The Senate could also choose to bar the removed official from holding any federal office in the future. No other punishments may be inflicted, pursuant to the impeachment proceeding, but the convicted party remains liable to trial and punishment in the courts for civil and criminal charges. If Donald Trump was not the President right now, he would have been named a coconspirator in the crimes of Michael Cohen.

So, the notion is that, while in office, these people shall be judged by Congress and could be impeached. Once out of office, the courts can have at them. A president can be charged, according to the Constitution, if they commit treason, take bribes or commit other “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The capitalizations are from the founders.

Garrett Epps in The Atlantic magazine in 2018 wrote a great article called, The Only Way to Find Out If the President Can Be Indicted: Scholars disagree on existing precedents—and the question won’t be settled until evidence leads a prosecutor to try it. In that article, he points out “that the Constitution suggest that the president is subject to laws like any citizen, but never discusses prosecution in office.”

In 1973, the then-Solicitor General Robert Bork, wrote an opinion that a Vice President should not have the same protections against prosecution while in office that a president would have, but that was just an opinion, not law. Also, the article reminds us that a 1998 opinion, written by a lawyer in Kenneth Starr’s Office of the Independent Counsel investigating President Bill Clinton, clearly stated that a sitting president could be indicted. Of course, he was trying to lock up Clinton for lying under oath about affairs.

Only the Best People?

Yesterday in court, we had President Donald J. Trump being accused in the pleading and allocution of Michael Cohen that candidate and client, Donald Trump “directed him” to commit election fraud. Cohen testified under oath and said that he knew it was against the law. That would mean that citizen Donald Trump is an Unindicted Coconspirator in a felony. This is a federal crime.

Epps’ article points out, [Bork’s] memo considers the Constitution’s text and finds no answer. It says, correctly, that there is no “airtight separation of powers, but rather … a system of checks and balances, or blending the three powers.”

And there is this famous line from then Vice President Gerald Ford, “Impeachment is whatever the Senate says it is.” Remember that Nixon was told to resign from office by his party leaders, long before Congress got to the destructive action of impeachment. Barry Goldwater and other Republicans at the time knew that if a trial took place Nixon would have been the first president to be removed from office.

Even more troubling, if a president has committed “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” and ends up on the outside, the new president could easily pardon him. It happened with Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon. Pence would likely do the same thing with Trump. Why? It’s been said that it would look bad if a former leader of the free world wasn’t free. Huh? We don’t want to look bad? When did the judicial system ever worry about how we look?

Donald Trump wanted to disrupt Washington and the whole of government. All he has done is waste a lot of time on things that don’t matter. He may have pulled the U.S.A. out of a bunch of treaties and agreements, but he hasn’t made better deals. Trump has gotten everyone’s attention in the world on trade, but with no short or long term guarantees that he has done more good, than damage. Trump has moved the Republican party to the far-white-right, but few are complaining in the G.O.P. Were they racists and isolationists all along? Do they care more about re-election than they do about America?

People must decide if they will be loyal to Trump or loyal to our country. Do we uphold the laws of the land, or do we choose to look the other way? It’s time for us to indict a sitting president and see where that goes. If the Supreme Court reasons that the founders and the Constitution say that impeachment is the only way to deal with a crime committed by a president, then let’s impeach the bastard. But if the Congress and the Supreme Court say that a sitting President is above the law, then it’s time to change the laws. Trump is a self-serving anarchistic pea brain with absolutely no redeeming qualities.

The more we learn the worse it gets. Let’s unite this country now and throw Trump out of office.

 

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