To Impeach or not to Impeach?

 

Tearing the Constitution.jpeg

I’ve not been a fan of impeaching the President. While I want Trump to leave office, I’ve bought into the conventional wisdom that impeachment is a dead end because there’s no chance of getting roughly one-third of the Republicans in the Senate to vote to convict. And an impeachment that failed to convict will appear to the public like just another political battle, and what’s new?

Absent impeachment, I think the Democrats have a much better than even chance of defeating Trump next year in next year’s election. If they impeach him and the Senate votes to acquit, I think their chances of winning the election are diminished. That’s why until now Speaker Pelosi and many others have opposed any efforts to impeach.

But the Mueller report challenges this view. While many Democrats in the House of Representatives act as if they were sent to Washington to facilitate the election of a Democratic president, that’s not what they took an oath to do. It was to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”

The President also swore an oath: to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and … to the best of [his] ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”.

The Mueller report shows the president has done two things that violate his oath and challenge the members of Congress to remove him:

  • He has repeatedly interfered with, and attempted to stop, the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and
  • He has repeatedly—and criminally— obstructed justice.

Rather than defending the Constitution against Russian subversion, he has undermined it. And in criminally obstructing justice he has placed himself above the law.

The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the power to impeach, and gives the Senate the power, upon impeachment, to remove the President from office. Members of both Houses of Congress took oaths to preserve our constitutional government. Regardless of the political calculations, the Congress has an ethical duty to pursue impeachment, wherever it might lead.

 

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4 Responses to “To Impeach or not to Impeach?”

  1. Jack Marshall Says:

    Welcome back, Ethics Bob! I’ve missed you!

  2. Jack Marshall Says:

    ….and now that THAT’s out of the way, I’m obligated to point out that you’re wrong. First of all, since you’re Ethics Bob, have you read the report? (I have) And since second hand accounts are tainted with bias and spin, it’s essential that ethical commentators do their own reading before making assertions that impeachment is warranted.

    For anyone who actually cares about what the Mueller report means, I highly recommend the Alan Dershowitz “Introduction” to the report, which can be purchased for Kindle of about 7 dollars. (The report without the intro is on-line, free, all over the place.) Dershowitz voted for Hillary, is a registered Democrat, was marinated in the Leftist hive that 99% of Harvard has become, and hardly a “Trump supporter,” which I realize is the reflex “Shut up!” response to any attempt to break through the “resistance” coup mindset that prevails around here. Dershowitz states clearly what the news media and Democrats have intentionally tried to obscure: there was no collusion, no crimes related to collusion, and the investigation says so unequivocally. On the more confusing matter of obstruction, he clarifies that as well, particularly knocking down the theory that the President can be found to have committed a crime by doing something he has clear Constitutional power to do. Dershowitz (and others) have been making this point since the hypocritical uproar over the Comey firing, and he has case law and legal tradition to back it up. He also argues persuasively that it is unethical for a prosecutor to report all kinds of damning stories, allegations and testimony that do not result i n criminal charges. this is done all the time, it is true, but he is right. He also called it, saying months ago that he doubted that the investigation would find any crimes that the President could be charged with, but that the report would probably be filled with embarrassing material. Since those seeking to find some way to get rid of the President without the inconvenience and uncertainty of an election really just want to impeach and have been looking for any pretense to do so, this has resuscitated the “he’s unfit for office!” justification, a false one. The unsettling character traits that Trump was well-known for years ago are on ugly display in the report, but bad character is not a justification for impeachment. The election was an official certification of “fitness.”

    It is very clear that most of the progressive echo chamber doesn’t care about such nuances, based on the blanket, emotional statements I read and hear every day, such as assertions that the President obstructed justice when there was no justified investigation to obstruct, that he could have stopped the investigation if he wanted to, and that he did not, as the AG pointed out assert executive privilege to block access to documents (like Clinton and Nixon) or tamper with witnesses (like Nixon and probably Clinton.) Anyway, anyone who wants to claim to have an informed opinion rather than just virtue-signal their hatred for the President has an obligation to read Dershowitz’s analysis, which is fair, non-partisan, and persuasive.

    That said, having provided your first comment in your blogging comeback, I expect that you will now weigh in on the topics over at MY blog, Ethics Alarms, where commenters with your perspective are in short supply.

    Once again, it’s good to have you back, my friend.

  3. Jack Marshall Says:

    By the way, by “around here” I mean the internet, social media and “here” generally, not your place in cyberspace.

  4. Ethics Bob Says:

    Thanks for the welcome note. Now to the substance (After pointing out the irony of saying I should read the report, then referring me to Dershowitz.)

    I’ve read only part of Volume 1. I downloaded it from the NYT site, and it’s awfully hard to negotiate. From what I read in Volume 1, and from what I know from watching Fox News and reading the NYT and LAT, I know that Russia worked hard to interfere in our election, and Trump is giving them cover rather than exposing them and taking steps to stop them. So that’s prima facie evidence of violating his oath of office.

    As far as obstruction is concerned, while I haven’t read vol. 2, I’ve seen enough direct quotes to believe –at the very least–Congress should investigate the charges of obstruction. Judge Napolitano writes in FoxNews.com (https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/judge-andrew-napolitano-did-president-trump-obstruct-justice.amp?__twitter_impression=true) that “But ordering obstruction to save himself from the consequences of his own behavior is unlawful, defenseless and condemnable.).

    Napolitano says in the embedded video that Trump behaved criminally, definitely obstructed justice, and violated his oath,

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