by Jonathan A. Weiss
Donald Trump and his accomplices have created irremediable damage.
The destruction wrought on the environment, pollution, and poisons released has led to loss of forests, extinction of plants and animals, large and small, in air, sea and on land, with loss of public parks and land, etc. The Federal Courts has over 100 new unreasoning right wing ideologues. Poor people, be they refugees or citizens, have been systematically traumatized by deprivations, deplorable housing, reduced and inadequate help from entitlements (misallocation of resources), and family separation, incarcerated without rights, often in privatized jails including the unsupervised Federal Marshall prisons; with some refugees placed outside the United States in terrible situations. Some of these human beings may also sicken and die. Foreign policy has supported dictators’ murderous oppressive regimes and failed allies (the Kurdish abandonment is sickening) cut aid, including medical with diseases that know no borders, facilitated acts of imperialism by Russia and China.
Some devastation, with a new example almost every day, may be reversible.
The hope would be that the first project of a decent new President would be to have his (or her) staff prepare a list of all of Trump’s executive orders to be reviewed to see which ones should be rescinded immediately and appropriate ones restored. The Cabinet members should have their staffs review all regulations promulgated and rescinded to repeal and reinstate, after public comment, as quickly as possible. Hercules cleared out the Augean stables – a new Administration should follow that example. Obviously, the sooner the better, for quicker reversal and prevention of permanent damage.
What could have happened?
If Obama had taken the information he had seriously or Congress had acted upon it and the Steele report, it is possible that much of the laying waste to the world, its people, and its value may have been prevented.
Instead, Congress did not start its own investigation, best probably for impeachment, but put all its eggs in one basket with a Republican lawyer, not independent – but under the Department of Justice, to conduct an inquiry. Meanwhile, journalism, with all its limitations, augmented by the Administration’s public pronouncements, was constantly revealed, while Mueller was taking an inordinately long time, Trumpian actions which were Constitutionally forbidden included the functioning nepotistic continuation of business from the White House.
Instead, Congress waited a long time for a report by a lawyer (cowed by his place in the hierarchy) who clearly was not going to do his job properly for example: not following up on Don Jr. and not insisting on an actual interview with the criminal President.
The cowardly deficient report not only did not recommend impeachment and prosecution, as it should have, but also invented new defenses for the corrupt family, President, and administration. After relying on the ancient internal Justice department memo about Agnew’s prosecution with the unjustified dicta that a President could not be indicted, Mueller also insisted that his report could not disclose guilt (i.e. “But for this Justice Department memorandum, President Trump should be prosecuted and impeached”) because it was “unfair” since the protected President could not defend himself as he would in Court; Don, Jr.’s known collusion and other associated acts were not “criminal” because he was “ignorant of the law.”
Even then the material laid out, most already known by an informed public, was enough to establish grounds of impeachment on both collusion and obstruction of Justice.
Yet, there was no movement to impeach. Compare what happened to President Clinton. After the 1996 election indicated there was no appetite in the voters to impeach him, the Republicans proceeded on the basis of his falling into a trap and lying in a civil deposition – which led properly to his being disbarred. It was clear that the Senate would not vote to remove but the trial was held. Here, the forecast that the Senate would not impeach was used as an excuse not to impeach even with the report, public knowledge, and what would further develop from a vigorous House inquiry.
Another basket for eggs has appeared.
Trump has affirmed, the evidence is verified, that he and his lackeys tried to find dirt on Joe Biden by using “leverage” on foreign governments. This violation seems to have been a final straw for a full basket.
The longer he stays in power, the worse it will get.
The sooner this process moves the least damage he can do. The public is ready, many eager for impeachment and removal. The Senate may be swayed by personal political consequences, the overwhelming case, and even personal values, we could hope. Those moving for impeachment should not put all their eggs in one basket, again, but move swiftly with three Articles of Impeachment. I suggest them and their order.
(1) Contempt of Congress as part of a pattern of Obstruction.
This would include his current “stonewalling”, ordering disobedience to subpoenas, testimony by administration, provision of documents. It should also include all his violations of clear legal mandates (e.g. tax information refusal currently in Court – worth mentioning is the over 55 losses in Court, mainly on Constitutional grounds). The deficient Mueller report lays out many attempts of obstruction which should be subsumed.
(2) Forbidden Acts with Foreign Countries.
The powerful opener is, of course, the current Ukrainian scandal with criminal acts apparently by his private lawyer with a gang of foreign crooks. It should be noted that Article II, Section II mentions Ambassadors as a special class – indicating the Supreme Court has jurisdiction. The Russian invited (in public) “meddling”in the election is also laid out in the Mueller report. The Steele report should be taken seriously as a ground of investigation even now.
(3) The Emoluments Clause violation.
The public evidence from businesses and governments renting but not using rooms in Trump Hotels (yet some with meetings in its bar and restaurant) to Mar y Lago political use (proposed for an international meeting) to actual involvement by his son-in-law, in the administration, for business deals in Saudi Arabia (where Trump broke tradition of going to Mexico first after inauguration, by welcoming hospitality from that murderous regime drenched in oil and blood) to deals about Trump involved businesses, to diverting military flights to Trump hotels for lodging and purchase of higher priced fuel – all occupy room in a plethora of examples.
These three can be augmented or broken down into a longer list. But they are sufficient.
The crucial drive must be to move to deliberation with great speed to issue these Articles in order to prevent further damage to the Constitution, country, and world. The public evidence is clear, mainly verified (sometimes by Trump’s public statements) and can quickly be supported by testimony and documents.
The time to act is now.
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