Congress Must Begin Impeachment Proceedings – to Protect the Constitution and the Rest of Us

by on April 23, 2019 · 5 comments

in Politics

By Frank Gormlie

If Donald Trump cannot be criminally indicted, as per Department of Justice policy, and if he isn’t impeached – then Trump walks and gets away with all that he has over these last two plus years.

Sure, there’s an election down the road in 19 months – but that, quite frankly, is a long time away. It’s almost as long as he’s been in the White House, and that’s plenty of time for Trump to do even more damage.

So, the complexities of this moment, in the post-Barr / Mueller Report time, are not that complicated.

The Mueller Report offered up plenty of evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors; Volume 2 alone is sufficient to get the impeachment ball rolling on obstruction of justice.

Despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s overly-cautious approach to impeachment, the calls are sounding louder. More and more people are getting on the impeachment train. About three-quarters of Democrats favor impeachment.

Now, presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have both come out favoring it, although neither are rushing full-bore into the hearing room (actually they’re both senators, of course).

Then there’s the House committee chairs; Elijah E Cummings of the House Oversight Committee, Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee, Jerrold Nadler of the House Judiciary Committee, and Maxine Waters of the House Financial Services Committee.

Chairman Cummings said he could “foresee” impeachment proceedings “possibly coming” against Trump, given the information presented in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. On Face the Nation, on impeachment, Cummings stated:

“I can foresee that possibly coming.”

He said that he was “not there yet” with impeachment, and he added that Congress has to be “careful.” Cummings elaborated:

“The American people — a lot of them clearly still don’t believe that President Trump is doing things to destroy our democracy and has done a lot of things very poorly. And so I think that number one, we need to make sure the Congress has all the information and then we need to be able to have the public know that information so that they can see that they have a president that basically has been about the business, I think, of doing great harm not only to our country but to our democracy.”

He added Mueller’s report provides a “roadmap” for Congress to continue to investigate the president. He stated:

“I think he basically said to us as a Congress, ‘It’s up to you to take this further with regard to obstruction and the other matters that might come up.'”

Cummings said that Mr. Trump was doing “great harm not only to our country but to our democracy…”

“We’re in a fight for the soul of our democracy. No doubt about it.”  CBSNews

Californian Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said last Sunday that Democrats “may” take up impeachment proceedings against Trump. During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week”, Schiff stated:

“It may be that we undertake an impeachment nonetheless. I think what we’re going to decide as a caucus is what is the best thing for the country.”

Over on “Fox News Sunday” Schiff also added that he plans to “reserve judgment” on impeachment until after Democrats deliberate on the issue. He said:

“So we will have to decide, do we nonetheless go through an impeachment because to do otherwise would signal that somehow this president’s conduct is OK? … Or do we decide that we’re better off doing the oversight through the context of oversight hearings by the various committees rather than a formal impeachment?”

“That’s going to be a very consequential decision and one that I’m going to reserve judgment on until we have a chance to deliberate about it.”  The Hill

Jerrold Nadler is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, which is the committee that would take up impeachment proceedings. And also on Sunday, April 21, Nadler in statements to the press, would not discount the prospect of impeaching Trump over allegations detailed in the Mueller report.  He quickly added Congress must see the full, unredacted version.

Regarding the accusations in the Report, Nadler stated:

“Some of this would be impeachable. …Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable.”  NBCNews

Another Californian, Maxine Waters is the chairwoman of the the House Financial Services. She’s been clear on impeachment for some time. She said during an interview on MSNBC:

“If the Democrats cannot decide that they’re going to move with impeachment, I guess they’re going to go on with these investigations. How long are they going to go on with them? What more do they need to prove? …”

“I can only tell you, I for one have been for impeachment for a long time. I’m going to continue to be for impeachment. I think he should have been impeached a long time ago. And the American people are waiting on us to provide the leadership.” Washington Examiner

Other House Democrats who have come out in support of impeachment include Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts; others include Al Green of Texas and Brad Sherman of California.

And among the heavy-weight presidential candidates, Elizabeth Warren was the first to make the call for House to begin impeachment proceedings. She issued the call one day after the Mueller Report was released. In particular, she cited what Mueller had written regarding the role of Congress and its authority to conduct obstruction of justice investigations as a way to place a check on a president who is corrupt.

In an email, she stated:

“Mueller put the next step in the hands of Congress: ‘Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice.’ The correct process for exercising that authority is impeachment.” The Hill

On Monday, Kamala Harris joined her. During a CNN town hall, Harris stated:

“Congress should take the steps toward impeachment. … I’ve not seen any evidence to suggest that [Senate Republicans] will weigh on the facts instead of on partisan adherence to being protective of this president.

And that’s what concerns me and what will be the eventual outcome. So we have to be realistic about what might be the end result, but that doesn’t mean the process should not take hold.” NBCNews

With the growing chorus for impeachment, even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has had to soften her hard-line approach on the issue; she  promised that “Congress will not be silent.”

Up to now, the reasons for tamping down the movement for impeachment by Democratic leadership has been several: the 2020 election is coming up and that will determine the will of the people, it’s not convenient right now; it’s futile because Senate Republicans will block it.

Yet now with the Mueller Report – or most of it – out in the open, winds are blowing harder to begin the process of holding Trump accountable in the most serious reservoir of power the Constitution grants Congress.

The vast majority of Democratic voters have told pollsters they favor impeachment. But no national movement has materialized – yet. Perhaps because people were waiting to read the Mueller report. Arron Blake at the Washington Post also adds there really hasn’t been a national leader for the movement. All of that is changing.

Blake stated:

The Democratic base feels righteously peeved about what they see in the Mueller report and in Attorney General William P. Barr’s questionable actions in releasing it.

They now have a document with which they can make the case that President Trump committed crimes. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III himself didn’t reach that conclusion but only because he didn’t view it as his place to do so. If you look closely at his report, there are four or five areas in which Mueller seems to believe there is substantial evidence Trump’s actions meet the criteria for obstruction of justice.

In an interview with CNN‘s Anderson Cooper, Elizabeth Warren brought the issue into high relief.

ANDERSON COOPER: What do you say to those Democrats who say, look, this is not the time, it’s going to take away the focus from winning in 2020? Speaker Pelosi told her caucus again just today that she no plans to immediately initiate impeachment proceedings.

WARREN: So, there is no political inconvenience exception to the United States Constitution.

Warren continued:

“This is not about politics. This is about principle. This is about what kind of a democracy we have.”

“If there are people in the House or the Senate who want to say that’s what a president can do when the president is being investigated for his own wrongdoings or when a foreign government attacks our country, then they should have to take that vote and live with it for the rest of their lives.”

Congress and the presidential candidates must move on the issue. And the American people must ensure they do. We need a grassroots movement for impeachment – as there was during Nixon’s tenure in the Watergate era – to keep the pressure on.

After all, it’s the people who will guarantee the Constitution is enforced and saved.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Geoff Page April 23, 2019 at 5:19 pm

If Bill Clinton could be put through the impeachment process merely for messing around with an intern, I think the impeachment bar is plenty low enough to go after Trump. Sanders is saying it will distract from talking about the real issues. I think the damage this guy is doing and will continue to do is the big real issue. I am all for it and not just because I’m offended that an idiot got elected, it’s because of what he has done in the short time he’s been in office. I’d love to send him packing so I can stop turning off the radio every time they start to play his voice.

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Avatar Bearded OBcean April 24, 2019 at 10:50 am

Trump doesn’t have to pass the test of having committed any crimes to be impeached. He can be impeached for purely political reasons, which is all well and good. That’s, at least, how the framers envisioned impeachment in Federalist.

Also, Clinton lied under oath to a grand jury, even if it related to diddling an intern.

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Avatar thequeenisalizard April 24, 2019 at 8:39 am

I’ll hold my breath until this happens. Please send symphony cards and and any donations at my funeral to OB Rag. Even if Bone spurs gets impeached it doesn’t mean he will be removed from office.

Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body levels charges against a government official. It does not mean removal from office; it is only a statement of charges, akin to an indictment in criminal law. Once an individual is impeached, he or she must then face the possibility of conviction by a legislative vote, which judgment entails removal from office.
Because impeachment and conviction of officials involve an overturning of the normal constitutional procedures by which individuals achieve high office (election, ratification, or appointment) and because it generally requires a supermajority, they are usually reserved for those deemed to have committed serious abuses of their office. In the United States, for example, impeachment at the federal level is limited to those who may have committed “Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors[1]”.[2]

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Avatar Vern April 24, 2019 at 11:17 am

Despite all that has gone on, is going on, and will go on, Trump remains an imbecile.

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Avatar MItch April 29, 2019 at 5:25 am

It is often said that no one is above the law, however it seems like one office may be.

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