If not Indictment, then Impeachment

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Donald Trump, Indictable President

The report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller explicitly refrains from finding that Donald Trump did not commit obstruction of justice. Mueller wrote that he would state that he was certain the president had not committed that crime were he confident of the fact, but he is not confident of it. He leaves the point explicitly ambiguous. This is important.

Mueller is a careful, scrupulous man. Attorney General William Barr is a careless, unscrupulous political hack who took the job to prop up Trump. Barr took Mueller’s careful ambiguity and ran with it, claiming a touchdown he had not earned and did not deserve. The latest reports indicate that Mueller expressed his misgivings about how Barr had presented the report to the public, believing that Barr had failed to capture the nuance Mueller intended to convey.

Lots of people seem obsessed with the question of indicting the president. This is misplaced. Even a reasonably distinguished legal scholar takes the erroneous position that the Constitution prohibits indicting a sitting president, but he does correctly indicate that indictment and impeachment are distinct processes and that only impeachment can serve to remove the president, who then remains expressly susceptible to indictment for whatever crime led to his removal through impeachment.

Regardless, with an irresponsible political hack running the Department of Justice, it is obvious that no indictment of the president will issue.

So the House must impeach.

At this stage, the impeachment process should take the form of investigation to determine what crimes to impeach the president for, but the House should declare their investigation an impeachment investigation, in order to give that investigation the strongest possible legal position going into any court battles against the administration for the purpose of overcoming the refusal of Trump and his toadies to comply with the entirely reasonable demands of the House.

At least two former prosecutors have stated publicly that they believe sufficient evidence exists to impeach the president. A majority of the public thinks the House should not begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, even though a larger majority thinks he committed crimes before he became president, and believe his former attorney Michael Cohen’s version of the story about paying off former porn star Stormy Daniels during the campaign.

But since finding criminal conduct by the president is a near certainty, pursuing impeachment is still the best course. Trump’s supporters will never change their minds. No point in worrying about what they think. They are the minority.

The rest of the public will come around once convincing evidence of Trump’s criminality comes to light.

Impeach him now.

Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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