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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Why Trump Should Be Impeached and Removed from Office

It will come as no surprise at all to anyone who knows me, that I hope the House of Representatives impeaches Trump, very likely to happen, and the Senate votes by the required two-thirds majority to remove him from office, less likely to happen but still possible.  Here are my reasons:

The charges against Trump, which he has already admitted to, and appear in the transcript released by the White House, which detail Trump telling the President of Ukraine that US aid crucial for the Ukranian defense against Russia was dependent on Ukraine providing Trump evidence of alleged wrong-doing by Joe Biden's son Hunter, is far worse than the charges raised against the three other Presidents in American history who either were impeached or for whom impeachment seemed very likely.

  • Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 by the House but acquitted by the Senate on the charge of violating the Tenure of Office Act, which restricted the President's ability to fire members of his cabinet.  The Act was soon amended, repealed a few decades later, and ultimately held to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
  • Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 by the House for lying under oath about consensual sexual activities with Monica Lewinsky, but acquitted by the Senate early the next year.
  • Richard Nixon resigned from office in 1974, rather than face very likely impeachment by the House and conviction by the Senate for approving a coverup of the Watergate break-in (an attempt to steal information from Democratic Party headquarters).
Trump's wrongdoings, laid out in the transcript of his conversation, are obviously far more serious than either Johnson's or Clinton's.  Nixon's was similar to Trump's insofar as Nixon was involved in attempts to obtain political advantage over his opponents.  But Nixon's wrongdoing was a cover-up of a break-in, whereas Trump's entailed the actual wrongdoing of extorting a head of state for political advantage.  Further, and even more important, Nixon's wrongdoing was totally domestic, in contrast to Trump's, which obviously was international, and endangered American national security in all kinds of ways, including letting a foreign power know that the American President was engaging in extortion.

I was in favor of Trump leaving office the day he assumed it.  His daily attacks on legitimate news media as fake news, reminiscent of the Nazi denunciation of unwelcome reporting in Germany as der Lügenpresse (the lying press), are just one of his many attacks on American democracy (and one I've especially investigated in Fake News in Real Context).  But he has provided by far the most egregious reason for removal from office in American history in just that one conversation with the Ukrainian head of state.

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