It would be an historic mistake of epic proportions to go after this congenitally criminal and morally appalling president for just one issue -- one which many Americans who have backed him will readily excuse him for. Indeed Trump's withholding of Congressionally approved military aid to extort a foreign criminal investigation of a potential political opponent pales in comparison Nixon's interference with the Vietnam peace talks or Reagan's successful effort as a candidate to get Iran to delay release of the US embassy hostages until after the 1980 election, neither of which led to any impeachment hearings.
That's not to say that Trump is not a uniquely dangerous threat to Constitutional government.
What the now fully empowered House Judiciary Committee needs to do, though, is to significantly expand its hearings to examine all the myriad impeachable crimes which this president is known or strongly suspected of having committed. That would include everything from lying to the American public, cheating on his taxes, obstructing justice on myriad occasions, suborning perjury from witnesses, paying bribes, profiting personally from his powers of office, violating election laws, and perhaps rape and assault as well.
The American people need all these impeachable deeds and misbehavior laid bare in all their gory detail over the next six-12 months. Trump's support, currently languishing around 40 percent, will sink as time goes on, as the shameful behavior gets continuous exposure. As the evidence of his crimes mounts, the risk of his ending up in the clink, at least after he leaves office, will grows. Meanwhile, the likelihood of his winning re-election and escaping that fate will fades. The odds will then grow that he will choose the same option that Nixon chose: resignation with a pardon.
I obviously would like to see Trump removed from the White House, either by impeachment and conviction in the Senate, or by resignation. But I also believe, as I did in the case of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, that even if he survives impeachment, it is crucial for US democracy that impeachable crimes be called out for what they are, even if the perpetrator cannot be convicted by the Senate. (It is my contention, for example, that Obama committed serious impeachable crimes such as refusing to prosecute known the war criminals Bush and VP Dick Cheney, as well as violating the First and Fourth Amendments with his expanded use of NSA spying on Americans, as well as his illegal war on Libya. For these actions or non actions, he should have been impeached by the House.)
So far, it looks like the House, under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who single-handedly stymied efforts to impeach G.W. Bush (as well as crushing the sales of my 2006 book The Case for Impeachment!) by declaring in May 2006 that "impeachment is off the table," is keeping a lid on any widening of the impeachment case against Trump.
If she persists in this wrong-headed strategy, she must take the blame for the disaster that will likely ensue, of a triumphal Trump declaring that he had been "cleared" by the Senate, and campaigning through next summer and fall against a Democratic Party he will accuse of being "obsessed with overturning the results of the last election."
DAVE LINDORFF is co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of "The Case for Impeachment: Legal arguments for the removal of George W. Bush from office" (St. Martin's Press, 2006). A member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, his work, and that of colleagues JOHN GRANT, JESS GUH, GARY LINDORFF, ALFREDO LOPEZ, LINN WASHINGTON, JR. and the late CHARLES M. YOUNG, can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net
(Article changed on November 1, 2019 at 03:23)
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