All In

All In


Leonard Zwelling

On December 3, the House Intelligence Committee majority report on its investigation into the alleged impeachable misconduct of the President of the United States dropped to the media. The only really new news was the volume of phone calls between the White House or the Office of Management and Budget and the president’s private attorney Rudy Giuliani. These calls date back to April of 2019 and suggest that Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s main connection in Ukraine, was already pulling strings to hold up the military aid appropriated by Congress for the Ukrainians to fight the Russians. Presumably he was holding the new Ukrainian president hostage as the Ukrainian president needed that aid along with an Oval Office meeting with Mr. Trump. It is even possible that Rudy was putting the squeeze on the Ukrainian president before the current one. None of this is really a surprise. It’s just more evidence of the wrong doing of Mr. Trump and his team including the 3 P’s and an M–Pence, Pompeo, Perry and Mulvaney. All of this was just to get the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens. Or declare aloud that they would investigate the Bidens. This may or may not be illegal, but it is certainly a high crime or misdemeanor as it amounted to Mr. Trump putting his political well-being ahead of that of the U.S. or one of its allies.

Why does this matter?

In the short run, it probably doesn’t.

It is abundantly clear that half of America thinks Trump ought to be impeached and go on trial for his misdeeds in the Senate and half think the whole thing is a big nothing. After all the hearings and reporting and talking heads, no one’s opinion seems to have been changed and it is unlikely this new report will do the trick either. Neither will the Judiciary Committee’s hearings on December 4 which consisted of academics and members of the House duking it out over the same matters. One side sees enough to take Trump to trial in the Senate. One does not.

What is likely to happen is that over the next few days the Intelligence Committee of the House will approve the report on a straight party line vote (that happened) and send it to the Judiciary Committee (that happened). The latter has the responsibility of drafting articles of impeachment, report them out to the full House and then that body will vote to see if a majority will send the articles to the Senate for a full trial. If that occurs, the Senate will be the jury and Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over the trial. I presume that Adam Schiff and maybe others will serve as the prosecution and Mr. Trump will have a team of lawyers to defend him. Both sides, I presume will call witnesses and, undoubtedly, given the fact that nobody’s mind seems to be changing, Mr. Trump will be acquitted after being afforded due process because Republicans dominate the Senate 53 to 47 and 67 votes are needed to convict. Trump will then claim full exoneration and, unless some Democrat can get his or her act together soon, Trump will ride to a re-election victory in November of 2020.

Given all of this, what the heck are the Democrats doing with this impeachment stuff?

They are doing the right thing.

It is clear that Mr. Trump abused the power of his office in trying to get a foreign government to do his personal political dirty work by investigating his chief rival Joe Biden and Biden’s son. Biden’s son had no business being on the board of a Ukrainian oil company, but as far as I can tell, neither he nor his father did anything illegal. Stupid, maybe, but if that were a crime we’d all be in jail.

Mr. Trump has obstructed the investigation of a legitimate branch of the federal government. That, as it was in the case of Richard Nixon, is an impeachable offense.

Finally, despite the fact that the Mueller Report had no legs, it is likely that Mr. Trump and his campaign conspired with the Russians during the 2016 campaign and despite what Senator Kennedy of Louisiana says, it wasn’t the Ukrainians who interfered in our election. It was Russia.

Add to this Mr. Trump’s repeated violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution and there’s more than enough to impeach him. Do it. Now. All of it.

Force the Republicans in the Senate to deny these facts and give the president a pass on his many violations of his oath of office.

This really isn’t all that complicated and it is exactly what Richard Nixon did—interfere in an American election in a criminal fashion. The only difference is that even Tricky Dick didn’t use foreigners to do his dirty work. Oh wait, I think there were Cubans arrested at the Watergate, but the big crimes were all home grown.

Mr. Trump has as much as admitted to the offenses. He asked for the investigation of the Bidens. He said so. He wanted Russia to find Hillary’s emails and China to help him investigate political opponents. He blocked many people from the White House from testifying to Congress, even those under subpoena. He has lied repeatedly. It’s time to get the truth out even if half the country wants to ignore it. Lay it out there. Then we can vote after the Senate does. If America wants to return Mr. Trump to the White House, they cannot say they are surprised about what they are getting. Even Nixon said he wasn’t a crook, even though he was. Trump is still in denial—to Congress, to America and to himself.

Throw the book at him. All in. If the Democrats don’t do this, they are not patriots. What Trump has done is exactly what the Founders feared a president might do. He has used the power of his office for his own benefit. He has blocked his underlings from testifying and in so doing obstructed justice.

Mr. Trump says he’s defending the rights of future presidents by not cooperating. The Democrats are defending the rights of future Congresses to hold those future presidents accountable. That’s exactly what they should be doing.

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