The Report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on efforts by the Trump administration to collude with Russia and obstruct justice (in the process) is complete. The Mueller Report points out 10 different ways in which obstruction of justice by the Trump administration occurred. (1) However, Mueller stayed clear from charging the President with obstruction of justice because of a Justice Department regulation citing that a sitting President cannot be indicted. (An absurd regulation by the way; no American citizen, including the President, should be above the law.)
What Mueller did was to toss the problem of what to do about the findings of his report in the lap of Congress; and while Congress can’t indict a President it has the ability to impeach him or her for what the Constitution calls “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Members of Congress are divided as to whether to try and impeach Trump or not. The pro-impeachment forces believe that it is the moral responsibility of Congress to take action against Trump’s egregious obstruction of justice offenses; that what Trump has done is a threat to our democracy and to let him get away with it will embolden future such actions by Trump or other Presidents, and move the country closer to an authoritarian model of governance.
Those in Congress arguing against trying to impeach Trump say it is a losing battle; that although an impeachment resolution may pass the House it will die in the Republican led Senate; that it will distract the country’s attention from the real issues that Democrats want to run on such as health care, immigration, income inequality, voting rights and climate change.
In our opinion it should be possible to do both things—-conduct an investigation into Trump’s efforts to obstruct justice that could lead to impeachment proceedings and bring a series of badly needed policy reform proposals to the voters. Responsibility for these efforts can be divided -with Congress carrying the burden of the impeachment process and the Democrat political candidates taking center stage on presenting the issues.
An impeachment investigation by the House of Representatives does need to proceed. And even if the House passes an impeachment resolution and the Senate fails to convict the President, the House will have fulfilled its moral responsibility, made an obstruction of justice case to the American people, and an impeachment resolution will be on the books. Trump will undoubtedly scream bloody murder and witch hunt but the evidence against him will be clear and strong, and be an a important factor affecting how people will decide to vote in 2020
But there is no reason why, while the House is conducting its investigation, the Democratic candidates on the campaign trail can’t focus on the central policy issues Most of them will go to as many states as possible talking about the need for better health care policy, comprehensive immigration reform, voting rights reform, gun control, and the need for efforts to combat climate change.
Using this two-prong approach the Democrats with equal vigor will be putting Trump’s immoral behavior and his abysmal policies or lack of policies on the ballot box.
(1) The 10 examples of obstruction of justice listed in the Mueller Report include: (1) Conduct involving FBI Director Comey and Michael Flynn; (2) The President’s Reaction to the continuing Russia investigation; (3) The President’s termination of Comey; (4) The appointment of a Special Counsel and efforts to remove him;
(5) Efforts to curtail the Special Counsel’s investigation; (6) Efforts to prevent public disclosure of evidence; (7)Further efforts to have the Attorney General take control of the investigation; (8) Efforts to have the President’s legal counsel deny that the President had ordered him to have the Special Counsel removed; (9) Conduct towards Flynn and Manafort and (10) Conduct involving Michael Cohen. (from Washington Post article: “The 10 areas where Mueller investigated Trump for Obstruction,” by Kevin Schaul, Kevin Uhrmacher, and Aaron Blake, April 18, 2019
Photo by Brianna Santellan