Actually, the Case for Impeachment Is as Strong as Ever

Now that the country has had a few days to digest Robert Mueller’s report, it’s time to plot next steps. Republicans may argue, as they always have, that Donald Trump can’t be nailed on anything, but that’s a total smokescreen for the damning determinations of the report.

What shouldn’t be lost in the media spin is that the case for impeachment is as concrete as ever. Sure, Trump wasn’t charged with any crimes, but that’s because Mueller did not believe he had the authority to indict a sitting president.

Trump can say “no obstruction” until he’s blue in the orange face, but Mueller outlines a myriad of ways that Trump actively tried to obstruct justice. Between intimidating witnesses, suppressing information, trying to bury Michael Flynn’s misdeeds and repeatedly trying to end the investigation by firing Comey, Mueller and others. To be clear, the fact that his subordinates refused to follow through on some of his requests does not make him any less guilty of obstructing.

While it’s exceptionally hard to prove a criminal conspiracy, the Trump campaign’s 100+ meetings with Russian officials, and knowledge and encouragement of this foreign adversary’s hacking and espionage is beyond troublesome. The Trump campaign did not report Russia’s actions to the authorities, under the belief that it would personally benefit from these attacks on our democracy.

Getting in bed with a menacing foreign power like that is not only totally out-of-line for the commander in chief, but it’s treasonous in the sense that most Americans understand the world. While Trump has tweeted he’s untouchable because impeachment requires being charged with “high crimes,” most political scholars say the Constitution leaves plenty of ground for impeachment to address predicaments like the one Trump has introduced the country to.

Take it from a senator during the impeachment process of Bill Clinton: “If [Congress] determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds… Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”

That senator, by the way, is Lindsey Graham, a supporter of President Trump, who now says he is not moved to act against the president following Mueller’s report, despite many analysts considering the report a “road map” for further Congressional investigations and action.

Then there’s Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who just two decades ago said, “We must decide whether perjury or obstruction of justice are high crimes and misdemeanors. Based on the Constitution, the law and the clear Senate precedents, I conclude that these offenses are high crimes and misdemeanors.”

McConnell is currently trying to quell impeachment talk, which makes the Huffington Post’s conclusion that “the only thing standing between Trump and impeachment is brazen Republican hypocrisy.”

The main reason that Congress needs to move forward on impeachment proceedings is to avoid the message it sends if it doesn’t. To shrug off a president actively impeding an investigation, let alone one looking into an assault on our democratic institution, is to say that pretty much nothing matters. The presidency has its privileges, but it is not entirely above the law – nor should it be above standards of integrity and decency.

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128 comments

Susanne R
Susanne R17 days ago

It appears that the Executive (trump) and Judicial (Barr) Branches of government have joined forces to undermine the Legislative Branch (those who represent our citizens). To disrespect the rule of law in such a blatant manner is unprecedented and unconstitutional.

Everything you said makes sense: the two major parties will always be in opposition to one another --especially when it comes to "who's in power" --but breaking the law is not acceptable. And no-one, from either party, should stand back and let this happen. This is no longer just a "party" issue. It's become a "constitutional" issue. Americans need to decide what's more important to them. Unfortunately, many of them are being influenced by self-serving and/or foreign influences. THAT is very unfortunate.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld18 days ago

Susanne R.,
Agreed. Instead of cooperating, our two parties have become diametrically opposed to each other. There seems to be little logic involved, except to say we are against it, because they are for it. This has been gaining momentum for decades; Democrats oppose everything Trump, Republicans opposed everything Obama, Democrats etc. Years ago, there was overlap between the two parties; some Democrats leaned right and some Republicans leaned left. Today, there appears a chasm between the two that none shall cross. Just look at the Democratic field for the next election. They are falling over each other to see who can oppose Trumo the most.

My belief (and I may be alone in this) is that we need an influx of moderates to control the two extremes, and bring them back into the fold, so that the people can have faith in government once again. It is not just at the top. Although Trump has muddled through with a negative 10% disadvantage to advantage rating, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell are actually viewed more negatively. Indeed Congress, as a whole, has a greater than 40% disadvantage to advantage rating. Biden is one of few viewed in a positive light, and may be able to move Washington towards friendlier relations, or at least less animosity towards each other. Thus far, he has my vote.

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Susanne R
Susanne R18 days ago

Dan B. - AG Barr is following rules that were created to protect trump. That's not exactly "politics as usual." As you know, there are three separate, distinct, and equal branches of government. One of them is being ignored and disrespected, and it just happens to be the one that represents you and me and every other U.S. citizen.

Your reply would have been a great one under normal circumstances, but these circumstances are far from normal. Our government has become dysfunctional and corrupt, and it has to be fixed.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld19 days ago

Susanne R.,
It is called politics. It is dirty and unpleasant, and what the Democrats and Republicans have fallen to in recent years. Barr already testified before the Senate justice committee. No one has the right to ignore a subpoena to testify. However, none has been issued to date, although Democrats have threatened to issue one should he fail to show. Look what is going on; both political parties are jockeying for leverage heading into the 2020 election. That is what is right before your own eyes. Politics at its worst.

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Brian F
Brian F20 days ago

How do you feel about the corrupt Democrats unfair super delegate rule which allows party insiders to determine elections. Even the Republicans don't have that unfair rule. The only reason the Democrats have their unfair super delegate rule is to keep non corporate honest progressives like Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard from winning.

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Susanne R
Susanne R20 days ago

Dan B. - How do you feel about AG Barr refusing to testify before the judicial committee tomorrow because he doesn't want to face an attorney? Or that he feels he has the right to ignore subpoenas? Or that he is refusing to hand over the unredacted Mueller report? For a man who was hand-picked by trump for obvious reasons and has been in office for only five months, he certainly isn't afraid to throw hiw weight around. Why does he feel so emboldened? Because the man at the top gave him a job to do and has his has back. Anyone who can't see what's going on isn't looking--or chooses to ignore what's right before their eyes.

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Brian F
Brian F20 days ago

The Democrats hate Bernie Sanders because he is honest and would try to end their corruption. So the Democrats will try to push another corporate establishment sellout like Hillary. This of course will probably cause this crook Trump to win. The Democrats only care about the millions they get from their corporate donors, and are so corrupt, they would rather lose to this crook Trump, than win with an honest non corporate candidate like Bernie Sanders.

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Brian F
Brian F20 days ago

The lesser of two evils is still evil. Hillary may not of lied as much as Trump, but her lies still were bad. Hillary sold 20% of our uranium to Russia. Bill Clinton took $500,000 from a Russian bank. Not all the Republican attacks against Hillary are true, but many are. We know from the WikiLeaks emails that Hillary was too close to Wall Street for the 22 million dollars they paid her, and she colluded with the corrupt DNC to rig the primary for Bernie Sanders to lose. Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs don't pay Hillary 22 million and expect nothing in return. So it may not be illegal to take money for speeches, but it should be, and it makes Hillary look corrupt. Bernie Sanders doesn't take money from speeches because he is honest. The Democrats also still have their unfair super delegate rule which is cheating. So the Democrats are just as corrupt as Trump and the Republicans. It won't solve our problems if Trump is replaced by a corrupt corporate establishment Democrat like Joe Biden. It will solve our problems if this crook Trump is replaced by an honest progressive who takes no corporate money like Bernie Sanders.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld20 days ago

Susanne R.,
No doubt that the seriousness of the lies told by Trump are more alarming than those told by Clinton. However, the justice system does not work along similar lines. Lying in general is not a crime (if it were, all politicians would be in dire straits), while lying under oath is perjury. Yes, he is rather slippery. But until there is concrete evidence upon which a conviction can be made, nothing will happen. Even so, there was concrete evidence against Clinton. All Democrats voted to acquit, so the Senate had no chance of mustering the required 2/3 needed for conviction. I suspect a similar result would occur today. That is one reason why I claim they are both political.

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Susanne R
Susanne R20 days ago

Dan B. - You said in an earlier post on this thread: "No doubt that the impeachment of President Clinton was purely political. Is that not the same with Trump. You say that he has broken laws, but what laws has he broken. Many claim obstruction of justice, but that is the same law for which Clinton was impeached. Same difference?"

That's when I realized that although you try to walk a straight line, you're actually leaning to the right. "Same difference?" Not by a long shot! The only phrase that tells us less is "It is what it is." Using either one of them is a pat answer that serves to detract attention from the real issues. Do you really think the "crime" that led to "Clinton's lying under oath" and subsequent impeachment are comparable to what trump has been accused of? Yes, "obstructing justice" is a crime, but when you delve into the facts, there are many levels of seriousness of the crime. Lying under oath is wrong. But consider the seriousness of the lie before you say "same difference." Let's wait until trump is forced to testify under oath about his "alleged" crimes. With over 10,000 lies under his belt in just 27 months, I'm not expecting the truth to find its way past his lips. Personally, I find such answers (i.e., "same difference"; "it is what it is") to serious questions to be insulting and a cop out.

I enjoy our interactions, but I don't always agree with you just as you don't always agree with me.

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