A Different Way to Look at Impeachment

Look at this Through Three Lenses for a Clearer View

To Impeach or Not to Impeach?

You may have heard the occasional comment these days on the subject of impeach or don’t impeach. It is increasingly the topic du jour, and not only among political types.

It is useful to consider all this through three different, but interrelated, “lenses.” This analysis could work with either pro or anti Trump types, if they are willing to be honest about the process. I know, that is a dubious start point right there, but bear with me a moment. This is a bit of a longer post today, friends, but it’s not a hard read. We need to talk.

Let Me Count the Ways

Lens #1: Trump the man. His character, his personality. It is almost impossible for me (and perhaps you) to understand this, but quite a few people really like this guy. Go figure.

Me, I can honestly say I have never known or known of anyone more lacking in character or personal qualities. This may literally be the worst person I have ever known. This personality affects some of the other factors we will talk about today. But guess what? Being the world’s leading SOB is not impeachable. I wish it was, but it’s not. We can hate this guy, but we can’t fire him for that reason.

Lens Number 2: Trump’s policies. About the only thing I dislike more than Trump the man is Trump the policy maker (sort of). I say “sort of” because there really is not a policy approach, methodology, or framework in this White House. What we have is mostly reactiveness, pettiness, and short-sighted thinking. Nevertheless, in the end, one ends up with something like policies. That yields results, precedents, and outcomes.

I cannot wait until the day what this Administration has done begins to be rolled back. But know this. For the things done legally and properly as procedure, they are within their rights to do them. Elections, even flawed ones, have consequences. A lot has been done improperly, some illegally. But the rest? They get to do that. Bad policies, per se, are not impeachable offenses.

Lens Number 3: Trump’s conduct in office. Here, finally, is the crux of the matter. The question here is straight forward. Could a reasonable person look at known conduct and conclude this behavior constitutes crimes, a destructive break in precedent, and/or damage to the United States of America? Why yes, that is the case.

A short list:

o The emoluments clause of the Constitution. Trump has violated this daily. He has refused to divest himself of properties that continue to earn him money. There is not even the shell of a blind trust in place. There could not be a clearer violation of this clause, and never has been in our history.

o Obstruction of justice and attempted obstruction with the Mueller investigation. Doubt that? Read the report. It’s long, but not all that complicated. Trump and his intermediaries encouraged people to lie, refused to testify, dangled pardons, and more.

o Breach of classified material. Trump has shared improperly intelligence with Russia and Israel that we know of. I doubt if that is all there is to this issue. This has gotten beyond bad . Major allies are reexaming long-standing intelligence sharing agreements. They expect, with good reason, that anything going to Trump is at risk.

o Grievous harm to US security by deliberatelyundermining our alliances. We got to see just how bad this has become with the recent attacks on tankers in the Middle East. It seems almost undeniable that Iran did this. Yet those who should be our closest allies demanded even more proof. In short, they don’t trust our government any longer. You cannot blame them.

o Lying – daily, on practically everything. The carefully documented lies by this president are in a staggering range. Everyone lies, everyone exaggerates. This is something else altogether, in the realm of mental illness. This is pathological behavior. One simply cannot take anything this man says at face value.

o Sedition. Trump said he would gladly talk to foreign adversaries to help his reelection. He would have no inclination at all to call the FBI. That is illegal, immoral, stupid, and more. It is hard to get something this fundamental this wrong.

o Unconstitutional behavior. Stonewalling on ALL subpoenas and flouting law (Trumps tax returns to Congress, for example) are wrong. These are clear attempts to neutralize the fundamental constitutional role of the Congress.

All of these, and more, show someone that is, to quote Joe Biden (who I am not supporting for President, but he is right on this) is “an existential threat to our democracy.” This conduct is a terrible mix. It reeks of malfeasance, evil intent, incompetence, and perhaps mental illness. The breadth and depth of this disaster is breath taking.

If you are a Trump supporter, before you defend him, ask yourself a question. If Obama had done all this, would you give him a pass? I would give no pass to anyone in the Oval Office who behaved in this way, no matter what party they came from.

What Next?

Congress and the public are inching toward impeachment, but the Congress is hesitant. They note that impeachment does not have broad popular support and they do not have the votes in the Senate.

Here’s a thought. Lead. Drive on with the ongoing investigations, Congress. Coordinate them, make them live TV. Let the public see detailed, coherent roll outs of what we have before us. Build the case and public support will come, as will enough votes in the Senate.

This looks in no way like the Republican impeachment of Bill Clinton. It looks remarkably like the Nixon impeachment. In the end, substance and evidence carried the day with that one. It can in this case, too.

Why Now?

There are now four compelling reasons to proceed with impeachment:

(1) This Administration is doing real damage to this country in countless ways. It is criminal to let it continue until 2021 – or beyond.

(2) Trump’s erratic behavior and megalomania are growing steadily. The last of the adults left this Administration a long time ago. The man will only get more unstable and more dangerous over time.

(3) The precedent counts. If we let this all pass into the next election, we have firmly lowered the bar of standards out of sight. Future presidents will feel no restrictions on any personal conduct.

(4) With all we already know – if we do not impeach this man, who would we impeach? The instrument of impeachment would become meaningless. That is a dangerous road to travel.

Let’s get on with it.

Bill Clontz, Founder, Agents of Reason Bill Clontz

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6 replies to A Different Way to Look at Impeachment

  1. Wow, Bill. Thank you for a sobering summary on the case for impeachment. Not sure if the country would be better off under Mike Pence, but I bet that’s not your point. The point is to stand up for truth, justice and democracy. Spreading lies for political advantage, maligning world nations as “sh***ole countries”, and openly inviting foreign nations to dish dirt on opponents to interfere with the next election — this hurts our country’s relationship with the truth, with justice and with freedom.

    • No doubt, Pence would be a major downside factor. Still, if we let all this pass….

  2. Insane running the asylum.

  3. I think your “what next” paragraph about pursuing investigations, making them clear and public, is what Ms Pelosi is focussed on, so as to develop public support for getting rid of this creature. I agree with this. Even if it takes until mid-2020. The main purpose of course would be to make sure he is not only not re-elected, but defeated so thoroughly that other nations can breathe a sigh of relief that America has not totally lost its marbles..

  4. Good piece Bill and well reasoned! I completely agree with increased Congressional oversight and investigations. However, I’m still for keeping our power dry and understanding the results of investigations before going full on to impeachment. While the House could most likely impeach, there needs to be enough political will among Republican senators (as we saw with Nixon) that the likelihood of conviction in the Senate was high. I think Senate acquittal of Trump before the 2020 elections would embolden him and his base and would not help us with our overall goal – to run him out of DC. I’m still amazed by how Teflon coated Trump and his cronies are. Yes, let the investigations continue at full throttle, but hold off on impeachment until enough of the electorate is willing to throw him and anyone to closely associated with him out on there bums. Then it will be time to move.

  5. I believe that Ms Pelosi (although she has not said so) is on a more strategic, effective path. First, build public support. Second, and this is critical, ensure you have not only support in the House but in the Senate. Impeachment in the House is meaningless unless the Senate completes the process and removes him from office. To act prematurely (before Senate support is established) makes the impeachment almost meaningless. If we have to wait until after the election to do this, that’s fine (assuming he is reelected, which is not certain either). It is critical that he be removed from office so that he can be prosecuted and held accountable for his disdain of the Constitution, Congress, and our democracy. If he is defeated in the election, we need no impeachment to prosecute him for his crimes. If he is reelected and we have control or near control of the Senate, the impeachment path remains an option.

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