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Angles of Impeachment

 On June 10th, a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee featured testimony from former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean and a number of former US attorneys. The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the Mueller Report and the question of whether Donald Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice.

Dean, who last sat in front of a House Judiciary Committee in 1974 during Nixon’s impeachment inquiries, wasted no time in letting the nation know he considered the Mueller Report a “road map” for Congress to Trump’s impeachment.

With Dean’s testimony, House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent statement in which said she wished to see Trump behind bars but not impeached, and an American public eagerly awaiting a conclusion to a years-long saga, here are several pros and cons to having Trump impeached.

Pros:

  • Though an impeachment trial would prove to be lengthy and complicated, the world would bear witness to the consequences of abusing the most powerful political position in the world. From a standpoint of morale, removing a mascot of authoritarianism and the patriarchy could reinstill what little faith remains in democratic institutions.
  • It would be a further blow to democratic values if Trump’s amoral and criminal misdeeds were ignored by Congress, the branch of government entrusted with oversight of the executive branch. As Elizabeth Warren has said, Congress has a moral duty that goes beyond politics to launch an impeachment investigation.
  • The Mueller Report made a strong case for Trump’s obstruction of justice acts. However, citing a legal technicality, Mueller chose not to indict the President. Instead he said that it is Congress’ responsibility to act on the Mueller Report’s findings.
  • Allowing Trump to complete his term in office and run for reelection would further the narrative that wealthy white men in the United States can do as they please—it’s up to the rest of us to acquiesce to them. This narrative has to be crushed at the highest level so as to avoid its perpetuation.
  • According to a recent article by Politico, an impeachment trial would potentially lead to heightened access to sensitive information by Congress. This could include Trump’s ever-elusive tax returns, additional evidence gathered in the Mueller Report, and details of Trump’s dealings with foreign leaders. Amongst the spectacle of an impeachment trial, we may finally be granted transparency.

Cons:

  • The prospect of Mike Pence being president. Pence could easily present himself as a more palatable candidate come 2020, perhaps earning the vote of Republicans Trump has lost touch with since 2016.
  • Impeachment proceedings, while likely to pass in the House will almost certainly be defeated in the Republican-controlled Senate. If this happens it will enable Trump to run for re-election as a victim of a Democratic “witch-hunt.”
  • The legal precedent of allowing his presidency to remain legitimate in the face of expanding executive power is, for lack of a better word, disturbing.
  • In late-February, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testified before a House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Of special interest was Cohen’s doubts as to whether a peaceful transition of power was possible in the event of Trump being beaten in 2020, “Given my experience working for Mr. Trump…there will never be a peaceful transition of power.” If Democrats and liberal media outlets conduct a long-term crucifixion of Trump, it’s possible his base could react violently well before next year’s election.

Personally, I am against the idea of impeachment. Yes, Trump has broken the law and I want to see him and most of his family in federal prison, but I echo Cohen’s sentiments in that he and his base won’t go quietly into the night. We must consider Trump’s erratic behavior and the heightened political tensions we’ve witnessed across the country the last several years. If we truly want Trump out of office, the Democrats will provide us with a strong candidate who can match the gravitas of Trump’s authoritarian personality, namely Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

With closed door meetings, lawsuits, and subpoenas the new norm, it is difficult to tell when this saga is going to end, and whether the American public will gain anything out of it besides fatigue and a deeper mistrust for authority. But as the story continues to unfold, we will provide you with a unique take on it all.

Photo by History in HD

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