Fear of Polarization Is Keeping Legislators From Pursuing Impeachment

In case you had any doubt, President Donald J. Trump is eminently impeachable. In terms of potentialconditions for impeachment, legal experts have had an embarrassment of riches to choose from– from collusion with a foreign powerand election law violations to his many, many crimes as a private citizen and sleazy billionaire.

From the momentthat Trump took his oath of office — refusing to first divest from or move his businesses into a blind trust – he was in violation of the emoluments clause, which prevents a president from using his office to benefit financially — e.g., giving a boost to the steel sector when you own steel stock. And this isn’t a minor technicality, given thathe’s been blatantly violating this fundamental law ever since.

ButI specifically want to discuss the political case for impeachment. WithDemocrats taking control of the House, it will be possible to start all kinds of investigationsinto history’s most corrupt American president.

That said, the Senate remains in GOP control, so even if impeached by the House, Trump could be protected should the Senate choose to acquit him.

Perhaps for this reason, Democrats — as well as decidedly non-Democrat Trump critics — have been very careful to avoid the “I” word. It might be too politically polarizing to bring up the elephant in the room, and I’ve heard all kinds of rationalizations for this.

After the Watergate scandal broke, Richard Nixon eventually stepped down — though only once he felt impeachment was a certainty. After Ford assumed office office, he pardoned Nixon from all known and possible future discovered crimes related to his time in the presidency.

This wasn’t because Ford was a fan of Nixon. The decision wasdescribed as necessary to protect the nation’s collective psyche from dragging the presidency through the mud more than it already had, in an attempt to simply put the matter to rest.

James Comey offered a similar argument related to the mental health of a somewhat anthropomorphized American public. In an interview about his book, “A Higher Loyalty,” the former FBI director told Stephen Colbert that he thoughta legal solution removing an actively treasonous president from office would be bad for democracy.

For — I don’t know what exactly, closure, maybe — Comey thinks thecountry needs the chance to vote Trump out and repudiate him directly.

I have some counter-arguments, here. First, Nixon produced a new low for the American presidency at the time. But he wasn’t continuing to act against the country’s best interests with foreign powers every additional day he remained in office — or, after leaving office, every additional day he wasn’t in prison.

Nixon’spolitical life was over, and heposed no real threat to anyone. Trump, however, is a very different story.

In an era of American politicswhenTrump manages to find a new low each month, the damage– not only to the reputation of the presidency but also to political norms, the country’s reputation on the world stage and policies and government programs that real people depend on on a daily basis — continually worsens. Nixon was a mess, but Trump is an ongoing kitchen fire that is not contained.

In response to Comey, as well as the Democrats and never-Trump Republicans who are afraid to publicly call for impeachment, what message does it send when youignore yourconstitutionally-chargedduty to protect the country and its laws? The separation of powers is intended to keep those who would be king in check.

So here’s the political question: While you are playing it safe, what happens if the years-long delay in taking legal action on a guilty criminal allows even more horrific things to happen than already have?

Will being non-confrontationalstill seemlikethe smart move? Or will those who refused to act in both parties go down in history as the aiders and abetters of the criminal who destroyed not only the presidency but the rule of law itself?

Both the office of the president and the national psyche are taking hits daily. The real reason we’re not talking aboutimpeachment is because it might be polarizing. So let’s address that.

Take Action!

Sign this Care2 petition, andask the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach Donald Trump immediately.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here aresome guidelines to help you get startedand soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.

Photo Credit: The White House/Flickr

71 comments

Susanne R
Susanne R2 days ago

Paul B. - Here's some back-up material from Newsweek:
Title: "TRUMP IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES: HERE ARE ALL THE WAYS THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF VIOLATING THE CONSTITUTION"
https://www.newsweek.com/trump-impeachment-articles-president-constitution-720430

From the NY Times
Title: "Donald Trump’s High Crimes and Misdemeanors" https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/22/opinion/donald-trump-cohen-impeachment.html

From Politico
Title: "Trump vs. the Constitution: A Guide. It may be true that Donald Trump has read the Constitution. But it’s unclear if he understands it."
Excerpt: "It would be one thing if Trump merely displayed a lack of knowledge of the Constitution. Ignorance can be corrected. However, the problem is not just that Trump is ignorant of the Constitution; it's that he doesn't care. His political philosophy, to the extent that he has one, is the demagoguery that the Founders designed the Constitution to protect us against."
https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/08/2016-donald-trump-constitution-guide-unconstitutional-freedom-liberty-khan-214139

SEND
Susanne R
Susanne R2 days ago

Paul B. - You don't think Mueller has anything of substance? Here are some of the impeachable crimes of which trump is guilty:

1. Obstructing Justice
2. Violating the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution
3. Conspiring with Others to Commit Crimes Against the United
States, and Attempting to Conceal Those Violations
4. Advocating Violence and Undermining Equal Protection Under
the Law
5. Abusing the Pardon Power
6. Engaging in Conduct that Grossly Endangers the Peace and
Security of the United States
7. Directing Law Enforcement to Investigate and Prosecute Political
Adversaries for Improper and Unjustifiable Purposes
8. Undermining the Freedom of the Press
9. Cruelly and Unconstitutionally Imprisoning Children and their
Families

For more detailed explanations of these offenses, see: https://www.needtoimpeach.com/impeachable-offenses/

SEND
Paul B
Paul B3 days ago

Susanne, well this article was about Trump impeachment.
The crisis is the extreme political divide we find ourselves in today.
No Mueller isn't finished, but IMO that is simply a delay tactic to avoid publishing "nothing of significance." Of all the documents released and charges filed against anyone involved, nothing involving collusion or any impeachable offense has been identified. I am not sure where you get the idea he has anything of substance.

SEND
Susanne R
Susanne R4 days ago

Paul B. - You said: "I don't read anything in that letter, read in full, that specifically addresses anything regarding impeachment of Trump." I never said the letter was about "the impeachment" of trump. Funny you should come to that conclusion.

Mueller hasn't released his full investigation yet, and if trump has his way, he never will. So did you really think the letter would address anything as specific as impeachment? I think the ex-senators summed up their concerns, without naming names or getting into specifics or getting ahead of themselves, in one nicely-worded sentence:

"At other critical moments in our history, when constitutional crises have threatened our foundations, it has been the Senate that has stood in defense of our democracy. Today is once again such a time."

Can you name any other "constitutional crises" to which they might be referring?

SEND
Paul B
Paul B4 days ago

SUsanne,
I don't read anything in that letter, read in full, that specifically addresses anything regarding impeachment of Trump. All they are calling for is an end to the highly partisan nature of Congress and politics today. I agree. We should end this huge divide. We aren't enemies as one would assume given today';s climate. We want the same ends, just prefer different means to get there. It will take cooperation to get anywhere.

SEND
Susanne R
Susanne R5 days ago

(Continued...)

The URL was cut short. I'm repeating it for those interested in learning about the concerns of our former senators, many of whom had reached a high level of prominence during their tenures in the senate. As mentioned in my previous post, names and other pertinent information are included.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-are-former-senators-the-senate-has-long-stood-in-defense-of-democracy--and-must-again/2018/12/10/3adfbdea-fca1-11e8-ad40-cdfd0e0dd65a_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a46cebb9d53b

SEND
Susanne R
Susanne R5 days ago

Forty-four ex-senators wrote, signed and sent this warning to our current senators via the Opinion Page of the Washington Post earlier today:

We are former senators. The Senate has long stood in defense of democracy — and must again.

Dear Senate colleagues,

As former members of the U.S. Senate, Democrats and Republicans, it is our shared view that we are entering a dangerous period, and we feel an obligation to speak up about serious challenges to the rule of law, the Constitution, our governing institutions and our national security.

We are on the eve of the conclusion of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation and the House's commencement of investigations of the president and his administration. The likely convergence of these two events will occur at a time when simmering regional conflicts and global power confrontations continue to threaten our security, economy and geopolitical stability.

It is a time, like other critical junctures in our history, when our nation must engage at every level with strategic precision and the hand of both the president and the Senate.
(To see the letter in its entirety and the names, political affiliations and states these senators represented, please access the following link:)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-are-former-senators-the-senate-has-long-stood-in-defense-of-democracy--and-must-again/2018/12/10/3adfbdea-fca1-11e8-ad40-cdfd0

SEND
Joan E
Joan E6 days ago

Steve F, Democrats can count. It's not just the number of Dems that matters. So far the Repubs have not done anything except protect and lie for Trump. You need some Repubs to vote for impeachment, too, as Republicans did when Nixon was caught doing criminal acts like Trump is now, and Trump's actions are even worse.

SEND
Joan E
Joan E6 days ago

Joanna, Clinton was impeached in one chamber of Congress but not in the other chamber. That is why he was allowed to continue his Presidency. The impeachment has to be agreed upon by both chambers. Will Republicans today, who still have a slight majority in the Senate, still ignore all the evidence and keep defending traitor Trump , the pawn of Putin? Or will enough of them grow a pair and do the right thing for our country?

SEND
Joan E
Joan E6 days ago

The impeachment talk is everywhere now. He's gone too far. The founders are trying to tell us from their graves, "You know what you need to do. What are you waiting for?!" I suppose the answer is, we are waiting for a few Republicans to grow a conscience and do the right thing for a change.

SEND