Quantcast
Connect with us

Ukraine isn’t nearly enough

Published

on

- Commentary
Thanks for your support!
This article was paid for by reader donations to Raw Story Investigates.

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.

Impeachment isn’t just about the presidency of Donald Trump. It’s about the role of Congress in our republic.

Many Congressional Democrats want to see a narrow, specific bill of impeachment—just three or so articles focusing on Trump’s illegal efforts to enlist the government of Ukraine in his 2020 re-election effort. It’s easy. It’s fast. And it’s something that can be explained to the public in a relatively straightforward manner.

ADVERTISEMENT

It’s also wrong-headed. Rather than narrow the scope of their indictment of Trump’s presidency, the House Judiciary Committee should present to the full House of Representatives a long list of Trump’s transgressions against our form of governing. His insults of Congress and the judiciary, his repeated failures to fulfill his oath, along with his efforts to usurp the power of sovereign states and impose his will over the lives of individuals.

‘High crimes and misdemeanors’ are what Congress says they are. And Trump’s crimes are there in plain sight.

Impeachment is a political act so Congress should break out of the mindset that it must focus only on clearly criminal individual acts. Congress is not a prosecutor’s office; it’s the most powerful legislative body in the history of the world. Endless hearings and evidence are not crucial. “High crimes and misdemeanors” are what Congress says they are. And Trump’s crimes are there in plain sight.

Limiting the articles of impeachment to just the Ukraine matter will signal to all future presidents that Trump’s other unconstitutional and un-presidential actions are OK. Presidents acquire power incrementally, one unchecked action at a time. Over the decades, Congress has relinquished to the executive branch so many of its powers that, before Trump, the president as the principal embodiment of the government was already a fact. Now we are witnessing the end game of the Imperial Presidency, not as played by Augustus but by Caligula.

ADVERTISEMENT

Republican Principles

The writing of the impeachment bill of particulars gives Congress the opportunity for a great, bold re-statement of the republican principles underlying the Constitution and a re-affirmation of the Founders’ clear belief in the primacy of Congress in the structure of the government. The House can use the articles of impeachment to proscribe conduct befitting the presidency and to make clear to this president and, more importantly, to all future presidents what conduct is unacceptable.

A long list may win more support in the House than a short one. Republicans and wavering Democrats may feel the Ukraine matter has sufficient ambiguities that they can resist supporting impeachment. If the House votes with the intention of limiting the actions of future presidents, however, a list of transgressions reaching back to the 2016 campaign would provide sufficient cover for even some of Trump’s most ardent supporters to vote for some of the articles. We won’t see 435 votes in favor of any article, but some might garner 300 or more votes, a strong statement of Congressional resolve.

While there are plenty of Republican representatives who would support Trump if he did shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, there are other more independent representatives who, within a wide array of charges, may find some that they feel they can support, especially if they feel that the Republicans in the Senate will save Trump’s presidency.

ADVERTISEMENT

An article that says, for example, “He has indiscreetly and without counsel or forethought, endangered the security of the nation by releasing secret information that reveals the sources and methods by which the United States conducts its clandestine foreign affairs” would be fairly easy for any independently-minded representative to support. There is no argument that Trump didn’t reveal secrets, only his assertion that because he’s the president he can. A yes vote on such an article says his action and his judgment are both unworthy of the presidency, and his “because I can” assertion is prima facie an abuse of power.

So in order to support the article, any wavering Democrat or persuadable Republican need only ask of him- or herself: “Do I want a future president doing this?”

Congress Asserts Its Power

The same argument will hold with the Senate, where, at this moment, there is virtually no chance that any article will win 67 votes. Democrats should be doing everything they can to expand the rift that’s already opened with Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) defense of the whistleblower and try to get more Senate Republicans on board, couching impeachment as Congressional assertion of its power and proper role in the government.

ADVERTISEMENT

A broadly written bill of impeachment cataloging Trump’s unconstitutional transgressions will win some, perhaps quite a few, Republican votes. Ukraine? Easy to vote against. Trump’s wholesale disregard for the Constitution? Less easy. A redline for all future presidents? Much, much harder.

This impeachment is bigger than Donald Trump. It’s about what kind of government we will have in the future. At the writing of the Constitution, when it was understood that the presidency was being designed for George Washington, Founding Father Benjamin Franklin noted, “The first man put at the helm will be a good one. Nobody knows what sort may come afterwards.”

Well, now we do. We’ve had nincompoops and scalawags, statesmen and visionaries. We’ve had a few great presidents, some good ones, plenty of mediocre ones and a few really bad ones. But we have never had a Donald Trump.

ADVERTISEMENT

It is up to Congress to decide: Will he be the last utterly unworthy president? Or the first?

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Kellyanne Conway accused of violating Hatch Act at least 50 times this year — on Twitter alone

Published

on

According to a report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway has "surpassed 50 violations of the Hatch Act on Twitter alone this past year."

Explaining the numbers, the report states, "CREW’s report on Conway’s continued violations outlines five categories of tweets that violate the Hatch Act: attacking or mocking Democratic presidential candidates, attacking the Democratic Party, promoting President Trump's re-election, promoting the Republican Party, and attacking President Trump's political adversaries. Conway has multiple violations in each category," before noting that Twitter's Terms of Service indicates one of Trump's closest aides is in violation and should have her account suspended.

Continue Reading

2020 Election

GOP giving up trying to reclaim House seats as 2020 wipeout looms: report

Published

on

Faced with a ticket likely headed by an unpopular president and watching the Democrats rake in campaign cash ahead of the 2020 election, the Republican Party is conceding they will not win back the House by reclaiming seats they lost in the so-called 2018 "blue wave" election.

According to a report from Politico, Democratic candidates have been stockpiling massive amounts of cash to wage war in what is expected to be a high turnout election with Donald Trump as the face of the Republican Party and seats that the GOP thought they might have a shot at now appearing unattainable.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump supporters cry bitter tears after bus company they never bothered paying leaves them stranded

Published

on

Hundreds of Trump supporters this week were left stranded by bus company U.S. Coachways after the organizers for a "March for Trump" rally in Washington D.C. failed to pay them.

The Daily Beast's Will Sommer reports that the Trump supporters had expected U.S. Coachways to pick them up and bring them to D.C. where they were set to rally against House Democrats' impeachment inquiry. After the buses never showed up, however, Trump supporters claimed that the bus company was part of a "deep state" conspiracy aimed at silencing their voices.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image