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Richard Nixon

Earth to Nancy Pelosi! Trump is obstructing justice openly and notoriously right in front of you and everyone else. Time to impeach.

The major event that resulted in the resignation of Richard Nixon from the presidency in 1974 was the decision by the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974) where the Court squarely held that Nixon’s roving claim of “executive privilege” could not allow him to refuse to comply with a subpoena.

The details are different, but the details are always different. Nixon’s attempt to hide the recordings of his Oval Office conversations behind a general “executive privilege” is not legally different from President Trump’s order to his former assistant, Hope Hicks, not to tell the House Judiciary Committee anything about her work with Trump, either in the transition, or after he took office.

Human memory is not the same as tape recordings, but the issue is the same — as was the special prosecutor in the Nixon case, the Judiciary Committee is looking for evidence of criminal activity. Whether that comes from a tape recording or human testimony is irrelevant to the legal issue — “executive privilege” protects neither from subpoena.

Note that this is why the Judiciary Committee should declare an impeachment investigation. One of the key issues in U.S. v. Nixon was the separation of powers and the question of whether the judiciary could examine what the executive was doing at all. The majority opinion makes the obvious point that the separation of powers among the branches of the federal government is not absolute. The branches interact and have partially overlapping powers. The demands of the judiciary in conducting criminal trials were sufficient to overcome Nixon’s claim to “executive privilege.”

One trial judge has already held, in the case involving Trump’s accountant, that it is not the place of the judiciary to examine the reasons why Congress does what it does, except as necessary to apply statutes to specific cases. That decision is under appeal.

But declaring the purpose of the Judiciary Committee to be that of impeaching Trump, or of deciding if they should impeach Trump, gives the Committee the added ammunition that the Constitution expressly gives to the House of Representatives “the sole power of impeachment.”

Trump’s order to Hicks not to answer the questions of the Judiciary Committee is obstruction of justice on the hoof. He is committing the very crime that Nixon committed and that the Republicans charged Clinton with in 1999.

The House should impeach Trump now.

Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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