The Case Against Donald Trump
It is pretty clear that Donald Trump should be impeached. While I personally think it would be politically advantageous for Democrats to have Trump remain in power as long as possible before 2018, it has become absolutely self-evident that Trump must be ousted simply for the sake of our country, our safety, and our future. The following is a round-up of what the articles of impeachment could include. I’m sure I have forgotten or omitted important items, so please feel free to let me know what those omissions would be.
- Sharing the absolutely highest classified US intelligence with the Russians in a meeting in which the US press was denied access. That information was provided by a third nation under the agreement it would remain secret. Trump’s disclosure puts further intelligence sharing with our government at risk as well as the actual asset who provided the information, endangering the security and safety of the United States and the willingness of our allies to share intelligence with us.
- Colluding with the Russians to influence the 2016 election and subvert our democratic process. This evidence includes Trump’s own request that the Russians hack Hillary Clinton. It also includes reports of numerous contacts between Trump campaign officials and the Russians and reports that European intelligence agencies have surveillance proving collusion.
- Allowing National Security Adviser to have access to all US intelligence for a full 18 days after being informed that he was compromised by the Russians.
- Trump associates both before and after the campaign have engaged in multiple contacts with the Russians and have lied about those contacts.
- Trump associates both before and after the election were being paid by Russian interests.
- Trump’s National Security Adviser was reported by then current Attorney General Sally Yates to have engaged in behavior that was possibly criminal, implying that he may have provided confidential intelligence to the Russians.
Obstruction of Justice
- Firing FBI Director James Comey specifically because he was investigating Trump’s and his administration’s Russian connections.
- Demanding loyalty from the FBI Director who is investigating Trump’s and his administration’s Russian connections.
- Asking the FBI Director to shut down the investigation of NSA Michael Flynn.
- Firing acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she reported her investigation had shown NSA Flynn had engaged in potentially criminal behavior in his contacts with the Russians and then lied about it, potentially lying about it to the FBI.
- Intimidating witnesses, including Sally Yates and James Comey.
- Intimidation of the judiciary, including threatening to break up the Ninth Circuit in anticipation of that court hearing the Muslim ban case and criticizing the individual judges who ruled against that ban and Trump’s executive order on so-called sanctuary cities.
- Conspiring with David Nunes to derail Sally Yates’ testimony.
- Firing US Attorney Preet Bharara who was looking into possible use of Trump’ real estate deals as a vehicle for Russian money-laundering.
Violations of the Emoluments Clause
- Refusing to divest his ownership interest from the Trump Organization, allowing foreign interests and/or governments to ingratiate themselves with Trump every time they use one of his properties. Other, more circumstantial evidence, is the provision of trademarks or permits for Trump projects in foreign countries after meetings with Trump and/or his family.
Using the Office of the President for Personal Enrichment
- Trump’s near constant use of his personal properties at Trump Tower and in Florida and New Jersey amount to the abuse of the “domestic emoluments clause” which prohibits the President from receiving additional compensation beyond his salary.
- Using government officials and agencies to promote his and his family’s business, such as having the State Department promote Mar-a-Lago as a vacation destination and promote Ivanka Trump’s book.
- Allowing his family to serve as White House advisers and sit in with foreign leaders when those family members have business interests in those countries.
Abuse of Power And/Or Violation of the Oath of Office
- This could include any or all of the above charges. For example, one might not agree that any of the specific charges amount to treason, but at the same time one could also argue that Trump has failed to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and/or the national security of the United States.
- Similarly, one could also argue that Trump’s lack of understanding and/or lack of respect for the three co-equal branches of government indicate a similar abuse of power.
While not covered by the impeachment process, there are also plenty of grounds for removing Trump under the provisions of the 25th Amendement.
Unfit to Serve
- Trump has shown himself to be mentally unfit to serve as President of the United States. He does not seem to understand the US Constitution, nor does he understand that the President is not the CEO of the country, but is head of just one co-equal branch of the government.
- Trump is unable to absorb briefing materials or extensive briefings themselves, leaving him exposed to the illustrated by the Russian leak.
- Trump has made numerous statements that are literally incomprehensible. Examples are his discussion of health insurance, aircraft carriers, much of his interview with the Economist, his invention of the phrase “prime the pump”, and a whole raft of other incidents that call Trump’s mental capabilities into question.
- Trump is not only a compulsive liar but, on those occasions when he does tell the truth, he seems almost unaware at how damaging those admissions could be not only to Trump himself but also the people who work for him.
The case against Donald Trump is clear and compelling at this point. The only remaining question is whether the country can find around thirty patriots among House Republicans to act. Right now, even after the revelation that Trump clearly obstructed justice by asking Comey to shut down the Flynn investigation, it appears those patriots do not exist.
As Paul Ziegler so passionately and yet eloquently put it at the Tom MacArthur town hall, “What is it going to take, congressman? What is it going to take for you and your fellow Republicans to open your eyes and realize what’s going on? We need an independent prosecutor. We need a bipartisan select committee to investigate this. When are you going to open your eyes? We all see it … You don’t see it? When are you going to decide to be an American and not a politician?” So far, the answer is never.
I’ve also written about this and other issues on my personal blog at [tidalsoundings.blogspot.com]