Trying to Imagine How Not to Impeach


Week one of the hearings. My take: He’s guilty, my lord.

A quid pro quo is simply a “this for that” agreement. It’s a common aspect of diplomacy and always has been—discussions between governments about what they would give and agree to in exchange for other things that they want.

So, no, trying a quid pro quo with Ukraine is not the problem.

The problem is that President Trump was not using a quid pro quo to advance the national interests of the United States, he was using it in a blatant effort to gain political dirt on a potential presidential rival. The request for an investigation of Hunter Biden was based on mostly discredited fringe conspiracy theories that the president buys into.

Is that an impeachable offense? The Republican defense of his horrible president has evolved to the point where “the phone call” isn’t even all that defended any more—it’s just not bad enough to overturn an election, they say.

OK. I don’t concede that point, but maybe it’s arguable. The president is a giant festering sore on the body politic, but voters knew his lack of character when a minority of them voted for the boil who is the Tangerine Disaster, and we have to live, under the Electoral College, with this nightmarish anomaly of a minority president. Maybe Ukraine needs to teach us some democracy.

But impeach Trump anyway because of how he has responded to the investigation. Before the full House voted to proceed with the impeachment hearings, the presidential line was that House committees could not investigate him.

Yes, they can. They must.

Congress is a separate and equal branch of government. I don’t get how Republicans, who waive the Constitution when it’s convenient, can be at all comfortable with a President who simply rejects cooperating with a congressional inquiry. And the House has voted now, so that argument, which was bogus to begin with, is now moot.

A Republican won’t always be the president. Probably in a bit over a year, President Lizzie or Pete will be in office, and then what? Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress should agree and insist that a White House doesn’t get to dictate what Congress will look into or who in the White House can ignore congressional subpoenas.

I’ve been teaching this week, so I have not watched the hearings wall-to-wall. But I’ve seen enough to be thoroughly disgusted with the House GOP. The witnesses who have testified have been admirable men and women who have given years of dedicated service to our country.

And then there is our Dear Leader, who has acted with such calmness and sanity during this time of crisis.

JK. Trump has predictably gone crazy. Although, to be fair and balanced, he’s kind of a permanent resident of crazy town, so it’s not as if this is anything new.

Consider Friday morning, when the world was hearing from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Yes, Trump could remove her from office. Ambassadors do serve at the pleasure of the president. But it’s also fair for Congress to ask why this ambassador was removed at that time when it fits into the pattern of the President ignoring U.S. national interests (and promoting Russian national interests) when he deals with Ukraine.

And as the former ambassador calmly laid out the facts, the President laid into her, attacking her in a tweet that was both crude and thoughtless. The ambassador served in Somalia after conflict there had broken out—she didn’t break Somalia; she served her country in a hardship post. Trump has no respect for others’ service. More to the point, Trump was attacking a witness while she was testifying not to reveal some counter narrative or provide a defense.

turmp test

He just hits and hits. And his hits are crude, awful in their language and content. In this case, the context of the attack is pretty clearly an effort to intimidate witnesses who dare to testify against Trump. It’s also telling that what set the Trump rhetoric train in motion was a woman’s testimony—there’s something about having a woman criticize him that really gets under Trump’s fake orange skin. It’s not why he’s being impeached, but as an old man, let me say I tire quickly and can’t abide old men who cannot abide women who dare speak.

Ladies, speak up. Some of us guys may have trouble listening. That’s a reason to speak out more, not less.

Trump, when asked about his tweet, gave a very Trumpy response, attacking the whole idea of an impeachment probe, launching into a litany of complaints about how badly Republicans are treated. He’s right on one point, he does have a First Amendment right to spout his brand of crazy. But that does not protect him from consequences of what he says. Clip of the exchange from Friday’s hearing about the tweet, and President Trump speaking with reporters about his tweet, which he claims is not at all intimidating:

And there you have it. A president under impeachment investigation engaging in brazen open attacks on sworn witnesses, exercising his First Amendment right to create a new impeachable offense right in front of us in plain sight.

We’re getting further away from the original plot, which was full of the rotten smell of impeachable offenses. Like the whistle blower, whose identity at this point is irrelevant, even the original charges need updating.

I know that the hearings have just started and we as a public should be patient with it and let it play out. But does Trump deserve to be impeached and removed from office? To me, the affirmative answer seems clearly obvious. From just the first two days of hearings.

Last but not least, let us savor the deliciousness of the following tweet. Thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership in Louisiana, which narrowly voted for the Democrat.

trump la

2 Comments

Filed under History, politics

2 responses to “Trying to Imagine How Not to Impeach

  1. Carolyn Sternowski

    Here ! Here!
    Keep writing, Journalist Joe!
    Now how do we convert that unconvertible?

  2. You paint a clear picture of our current dystopia. I never thought I’d live through another president that blatantly hates the voices of women holding weight. The “Tangerine Disaster” should have been over long ago, but unfortunately supporters of this child are only holding him closer as he’s attacked. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

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