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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 12/15/17

The Growing Case for Impeaching Donald Trump, From Lawlessness and Corruption to Abuse of Power

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JOHN BONIFAZ: I think what has happened is we've seen a growing list of impeachable offenses that require an impeachment investigation in the U.S. Congress parallel to the Mueller investigation. This is not a question of having to wait and see whether or not the federal criminal investigation that's proceeding turns up violations of federal criminal law by the president or any of his associates. That's a separate question.

The questions here are crimes against the state. That is what impeachment is about -- abuse of power, abuse of public trust, and not only through the violations of the anti-corruption provisions. There is now, of course, evidence of obstruction of justice. There's evidence of potential conspiracy with the Russian government to interfere with the 2016 elections and violate federal campaign finance laws, among others. There is now evidence of abuse of the pardon power in the pardoning of former Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. There's recklessly threatening nuclear war against a foreign nation. There's misuse of the Justice Department to try to prosecute political adversaries. And there's the giving aid and comfort to neo-Nazis and white supremacists. All of this -- all of this deserves an impeachment investigation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

AMY GOODMAN: So, in response to some Democratic leaders warning against calls for impeachment before Robert Mueller's investigation has been completed, billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer defended his $20 million ad campaign to impeach President Trump, and blasted his critics, telling The Wall Street Journal, "The Republican nominee wasn't really a Republican. The person who energized the Democratic Party wasn't really a Democrat. So, when I hear the Washington establishment tell me, 'Shut the f-- up,' I think, well, maybe."

And on Thursday, he tweeted, "It doesn't surprise me that the political establishment in Washington, D.C. can't imagine the idea of the American people having an independent voice. They're scared of any threat to their control. But it's important to do what's right," said Tom Steyer. I want to play a clip of the ad that has been running on television.

TOM STEYER: He's brought us to the brink of nuclear war, obstructed justice at the FBI. And in direct violation of the Constitution, he's taken money from foreign governments and threatened to shut down news organizations that report the truth. If that isn't a case for impeaching and removing a dangerous president, then what has our government become?

AMY GOODMAN: That's the billionaire Tom Steyer, who has spent millions on this ad campaign that's running on television. Can you talk about what he is attempting to do -- it's the Need to Impeach campaign -- and whether you're working with him, John Bonifaz?

JOHN BONIFAZ: Well, we're in communication with Tom Steyer and his team about collaborating possibly, and we do think what's important here is to elevate the national conversation. He's obviously helping to do that. We fully agree with all that he's saying about the need for this impeachment process to move forward in the House of Representatives. And the more voices that come forward from the American people all over the country is going to help push that forward in Congress.

AMY GOODMAN: So let's talk about what's happened this November, these six House Democrats announcing they've introduced articles of impeachment against President Trump. This is Congressman Steve Cohen making the announcement on November 15th.

REP. STEVE COHEN: I am proud to stand here with my friend, Congressman Gutie'rrez, with other congresspeople who will be here, in announcing that we are introducing articles of impeachment to remove President Trump from office. There will be, I believe, six signatories on the resolution. We have taken this action because of great concern for our country and our Constitution, our national security and our democracy. We believe that President Trump has violated the Constitution, and we've introduced five articles of impeachment.

AMY GOODMAN: Again, that's Congressmember Steve Cohen of Memphis, Tennessee. Joining him, Luis Gutie'rrez of Chicago, Marcia Fudge of Ohio, Adriano Espaillat of New York, John Yarmuth of Kentucky and Al Green of Houston, Texas. So, explain what they're introducing.

JOHN BONIFAZ: Well, they've introduced five articles of impeachment, and they've done it as a group. And it's significant because up until now there were two members of Congress, Al Green being one of them, Congressman Al Green from Houston, and Congressman Brad Sherman from Los Angeles, who had introduced articles of impeachment around obstruction of justice. These articles go beyond obstruction of justice, including that, but also the violations of the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses and the president's continued attacks on freedom of the press and on the independence of the judiciary.

And what's significant here, Amy, is that these articles have been introduced by members of Congress despite the continued opposition by their own party's leadership in the Congress. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has made clear that she doesn't think impeachment should move forward at this time, and yet they are going ahead and moving this forward. And I think they're asking for other members of Congress to join them, beyond those who already have stepped forward. And we, as Americans, all across the country, should push for an impeachment investigation and should urge our members of Congress to take the same kind of action.

AMY GOODMAN: So, respond to Nancy Pelosi. I mean, what these Democrats are saying is this is not the way to retake the House in 2018, that if you disagree with the president, the way to deal with that is through elections. Explain why you see impeachment as key.

JOHN BONIFAZ: Well, we're a nonpartisan organization. We're not involved in the political strategy of any political party. What we are focused on is defending our Constitution. At this particular moment in time, it is not acceptable to say that we will simply kick the can down the road and wait until after an election cycle to lay the groundwork for the impeachment proceedings. They may not happen tomorrow. They may not get started next month. But the fact is, we need to be laying that groundwork and making this call now.

And members of Congress, whether they're Democratic, Republican, independent or what have you, need to be stepping up to protect and defend the Constitution. That's the oath they took, in addition to the president taking that oath, to protect, defend and preserve the Constitution.

And the other point on this, Amy, is that Nancy Pelosi has been saying that we don't have the facts out, we don't have the Mueller investigation completed. But what they're really saying is they want other facts out, because we already have the facts out about what this president has done with respect to the emoluments clauses, with respect to obstruction of justice and so many other impeachable offenses.

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