Demand Immediate Impeachment

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Nancy Pelosi applauds Donald Trump

Call your member of the House of Representatives and demand immediate impeachment hearings against Donald Trump.

Robert Mueller’s report clearly states that, contrary to the spin William Barr put on it, that he could not definitively exonerate President Trump of various crimes, obstruction of justice prominently among them. This is legally the same crime Richard Nixon committed, although the fact obviously differ quite a bit.

One could, however, reasonably copy the language from the article of impeachment that the House Judiciary Committee voted out against Nixon into an article of impeachment against Donald Trump:

In all this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

It is true that, at the moment, we have no reason to think that the Republicans in the Senate will vote to remove Trump from office. It is not beyond the realm of the possible that Mitch McConnell, Republican majority leader of the Senate, might refuse even to hold a trial, such is his contempt for the historical norms and practices of our federal government.

But a formal impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives would provide the most solid basis for further investigation of the president’s crimes, including demands for more documents and testimony from any number of witnesses. Let us recall that the transcripts that provided the most damning evidence against Nixon came to light only shortly before he resigned, in response to a subpoena from the special prosecutor in that case.

Article I, Section 2, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution reads, “The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.” Presumably, Representative Ocasio-Cortez refers to the clause in bold here.

This provision of the Constitution must mean, among other things, that the power of the House to investigate in matters of impeachment is nearly limitless in legal terms. Also, neither the House nor the Senate operates under the constraints that Mueller identifies in the highlighted passage above, explaining why he cannot fully exonerate the president of attempting to obstruct justice.

It is somewhat terrifying to consider the possibilities, but pursuing impeachment in the House could also impel Trump to further illegal conduct that might finally move more Republicans to want to remove him. We will never know for sure, since we will follow only one of two possible paths, but the harms he may cause by throwing a tantrum in response to impeachment now may well be less than the harms he will certainly cause if he remains in office for the remainder of his term.

Call your member of the House of Representatives and demand immediate impeachment hearings against Donald Trump.

Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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