Trump Has No Legal or Factual Defense to Impeachment and Removal From Office
This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. Anyone that still supports Trump is either against our Constitution or ignorant of our Constitution.
The case for impeachment and the removal of Trump as President is cut and dry. Legal matters do not get any simpler than this. The Framers of our Constitution wrote the impeachment clause for the specific purpose of removing a President like Trump. The Framers wanted any President who was beholden to a foreign nation to be removed from office.
We often hear that a President can be removed for ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ The precise wording of Article II §4 of the Constitution is as follows:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Only two crimes are mentioned by name: Treason and Bribery. For this story, I will concentrate on Bribery. The Framers of our Constitution realized the danger that Bribery presented for a republican form of government. The Federalist Papers are a good place to start when looking at ‘Framers’ intent.’
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Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist №68 in the fourth paragraph as follows:
Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one querter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention. They have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes; but they have referred it in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America, to be exerted in the choice of persons for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment.
Alexander Hamilton published Federalist № 68 on March 14, 1788. The risk to a republican form of government from foreign influence through bribery was well known to Hamilton due to the current events of the day. In 2019, only history buffs will remember the great Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania. In 1788, the story was well known. Poland-Lithuania was one of the great powers of the day. It was a republic and it was a super-power in its day. It was Poland-Lithuania that defeated the Ottoman Turks in the 1683 Siege of Vienna. Had it not been for Poland-Lithuania, Western Europe may have been part of Turkey. The Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania was brought down by bribery by foreign agents of Russia, Prussia, and Austria. By 1795, Poland-Lithuania no longer existed as an independent nation. See my story, The Mueller Report Is Important, but This Chilling Lesson From History Is More Important for more on the history of Poland-Lithuania. I have included a link to that story at the end of this story. You will find the history of that nation as strikingly similar to many problems America has now.
Treason and Bribery were also at the top of the Framers’ minds because of Benedict Arnold. He had committed Treason in return for a Bribe. See Benedict Arnold Commits Treason from the History Channel.
The Framers put both the Emoluments Clause and the Treason/Bribery part of the impeachment clause into the Constitution as a method of keeping our government from being ‘bought’ by foreign governments that would not act in the best interests of our Nation.
Donald Trump is guilty of Bribery. I am sure some readers are thinking to themselves, ‘what happened to innocent until proven guilty?’ Let’s look at the law and the facts. Bribery is defined at 18 U.S. Code § 201(b)(2) as:
(2) being a public official or person selected to be a public official, directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for:
(A) being influenced in the performance of any official act;
(B) being influenced to commit or aid in committing, or to collude in, or allow, any fraud, or make opportunity for the commission of any fraud, on the United States; or
C. being induced to do or omit to do any act in violation of the official duty of such official or person;
On July 25, 2019, Trump called President Zelenskyy of Ukraine. The official transcript of their conversation can be read on CNN’s website. The lines below along with the circumstances surrounding this conversation are enough to establish Bribery.
President Zelenskyy: I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost. ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.
Trump: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.
This exchange between Trump and President Zelenskyy shows that Trump sought something of personal value (dirt on a political rival) in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act (release of military aid that Congress had already approved for Ukraine). This is Bribery. This aid had been inexplicably delayed. Ukraine desperately needed this aid since they have Russian troops inside their country.
There are circumstances surrounding this conversation that might be helpful to Trump. However, Trump has refused to participate in an inquiry that could exonerate him. In other words, he is committing the ‘high crime’ of obstruction of justice. These are issues that are vital to the national security of the United States. Trump is blocking any government officials from appearing before this inquiry.
Trump makes the silly argument that ‘they have been investigating me for years based on this same hoax.’ The fact is that Trump was investigated for years regarding collusion with foreign agents in the 2016 election. See the Mueller Report where Robert Mueller cites several cases of obstruction of justice. Due to this obstruction, Mueller was unable to gather sufficient evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians. The day after Mueller testified before Congress and Trump felt he was off the hook, he sought foreign assistance in the 2020 election.
If we let Trump off the hook now, what will he do next? We do have some idea of the answer to this question from his behavior since the ‘Ukraine call’ became public. Trump’s response to being in trouble was to publically request assistance from Ukraine and China in the 2020 election. Of course, Trump’s defenders say he was ‘just kidding.’ A President can ‘kid’ all he wants to at events such as the White House Correspondents dinner or in private. The President cannot ‘kid’ about some issues in public. Regardless of what the foreign nations have publicly said, they now know how to get Trump to do what they want him to do.
What level of ‘kidding’ is too much for Trump’s defenders? Will it be too much when he ‘kids’ North Korea that the missiles are in the air heading their way, prompting North Korea to send, their perhaps one missile, back to destroy an American city? Trump has already ‘kidded’ with the one he called ‘little rocket man.’ Of course, now Trump is ‘in love with’ this North Korean leader. Am I the only one that finds this ‘kidding’ unusual? Trump’s ‘kidding’ is either criminal or it is insane. If he is insane, impeachment is not the first remedy to be used; §4 of the 25th Amendment should be used. Regardless of the reason, Trump must now be removed from the office of President.
Trump’s impeachment and removal from office is not a political issue. It is not a Democrat/Republican issue. It is not a Left/Right issue. The issue is, do you support the Constitution or do you not support the Constitution? I have wanted Trump impeached since before the inauguration. Though Rex Tillerson was not the criminal that Trump is, I turned against Trump the day he chose Rex Tillerson (a man with strong Russia ties) over Mitt Romney for Secretary of State. Mitt Romney was a Russia hawk and had Trump chosen Mitt Romney it would have calmed my fears of Russian influence on Trump. Since that day, during the Trump transition, more and more evidence has come out that Trump is beholden to Russia. The fact that Trump is now seeking election assistance from Ukraine in exchange for a few anti-tank missiles does nothing to calm my fears.
I hate Trump. I disagree with his domestic policies, but that is not enough to hate him. I disagreed with George W. Bush’s domestic policies. I disagreed with some of President Bush’s and President Obama’s foreign policies. The difference in these other Presidents and Trump is that I knew these other Presidents were my President. I am a patriotic American and would support foreign policies even when I disagree with them. As for Trump, he is the President of whoever is the highest bidder, not the American people. If we do not remove this President soon, he could do irreparable damage to our Republic. Our Founders feared such a President would present a catastrophe for the Nation. That is why they included the impeachment provisions in the Constitution.
My question for the Trump supporters is, why are you still supporting this terrible man? By any measure, he is a terrible President. If he were removed from office, you would still have Mike Pence. Nancy Pelosi is not going to become President due to impeachment. If Trump is impeached, Pence will appoint a new Vice-President and Pence will become President. There is a possibility that Pence could be impeached due to involvement in the Trump conspiracies. If Pence is impeached, his Vice-President will become President. Trump calls impeachment a ‘coup.’ If Pence or another Republican is going to take over, this would be a ‘coup’ by other Republicans, not Democrats. Of course, it is not a ‘coup’ by anyone. It is a Constitutional process that our Founders put into place to remove a man just like Trump. Trump was exactly what the Founders/Framers had in mind when impeachment was put into the Constitution.
There are just a few things left to do. We, the American people, regardless of our politics, need to demand that this man be removed from office. Then we can start working on rebuilding our government and working on securing the 2020 election. It is time for America to solve the Trump problem.
If I were being purely political, I would be for impeachment and then hope that the Republican-led Senate does not remove Trump from office. In the face of overwhelming evidence for removal, such an error by the Senate would lead to the annihilation of the Republican Party in the 2020 election (assuming the voting machines are not hacked). I am not purely political. I am a patriotic American and I fear the damage that Trump could do to our country if left in the office for another year. Therefore, I believe it is clear that it is time for Trump to be removed.