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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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And when we look at the Mueller investigation, we're mixing apples and oranges. That's a criminal investigation, whether or not the president and his associates have committed violations of federal criminal law. The question of impeachment is about abuse of power, abuse of public trust, crimes against the state. And it is just wrong for any member of Congress to suggest that a criminal investigation needs to be completed before an impeachment proceeding can begin.

AMY GOODMAN: One of the people who has gone before the congressional committees is Roger Stone, one of President Trump's oldest advisers. He issued what appeared to be a veiled threat, warning in August any politician who voted to impeach President Trump would face a violent response.

ROGER STONE: Try to impeach him. Just try it. You will have a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you've never seen.

REPORTER: You think?

ROGER STONE: No question.

REPORTER: You think if he got impeached, like the country would go to --

ROGER STONE: Both sides are heavily armed, my friend. Yes, absolutely. This is not 1974. The people will not stand for impeachment. A politician who votes for it would be endangering their own life. There will be violence on both sides. Let me make this clear: I'm not advocating violence, but I am predicting it.

AMY GOODMAN: That's Roger Stone speaking to TMZ. He says there would be a violent response. John Bonifaz?

JOHN BONIFAZ: It's an outrageous statement, but it also highlights that we cannot allow fear to dictate our response to this lawless president. We cannot say that we're going to stay on the sidelines here while the Constitution is being shredded, because of that kind of claim that Roger Stone or anyone else might make.

AMY GOODMAN: So, explain how impeachment would work. What would the process look like?

JOHN BONIFAZ: So, the first process involves the House Judiciary Committee taking up the question. The House of Representatives would need to pass a resolution that would advance to the House Judiciary Committee the question of an impeachment investigation or articles of impeachment. You know, Congressman Al Green has said that he wants to go to the floor with a privileged resolution immediately, that will force a vote in the House of Representatives as early as in the next few days in this coming week.

But, you know, beyond that process, the process of having the House Judiciary Committee take up this question would then involve subpoena power, would then involve taking witnesses. This is what happened during the Nixon impeachment proceedings.

I understand when people say, "Well, the Republicans control the House Judiciary Committee. They control the House of Representatives. They control the Senate. Where do we think this process could actually go?" But, you know, there were plenty of people who argued on the day that we launched this campaign, on Inauguration Day, that there was just no way people would be standing up to demand this, and now we see millions of Americans demanding it. Now we see 17 communities on record, and now we see seven members of Congress on record. And the facts continue to build that this president is defying the rule of law. We must place country over party here and stand up for the basic principle that no one is above the law.

AMY GOODMAN: So, if you were arguing for the impeachment in Congress, if you were laying out the case against Trump over this almost a year that he's been in office -- not quite yet -- can you lay out the articles of impeachment?

JOHN BONIFAZ: Yes. We would start with the violations of the two anti-corruption provisions of the Constitution: the Foreign Emoluments Clause and the Domestic Emoluments Clause. This president is treating the Oval Office as a profit-making enterprise at the public expense. He's taking illegal payments and benefits from foreign governments in violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause, and he's taking illegal payments from the state governments around the country, as well as from the federal government, in violation of the Domestic Emoluments Clause. That's point one, or point one and two, if you will, because they're two different clauses.

Then you have obstruction of justice. This is a president who first demanded loyalty of his former FBI Director James Comey. When he didn't get that, he went ahead and fired him for not letting go, as he put it, of the Flynn investigation and "this Russia thing," as he said. That was obstruction of justice. That FBI director was involved in investigating the Russian interference in the 2016 election and its potential connection to the Trump campaign. It led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. And now we know, based on new reporting by The New York Times, that soon after that, the president sought to stop the congressional investigations in the Senate that were going -- that continue to go on with respect to that. So obstruction of justice, which was the first article of impeachment against Richard Nixon, would certainly be part of this case.

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