The issue the House of Representatives is grappling with is whether to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Trump or not. Let me state here categorically that NOW is the time for the House to impeach. Yes, I’m a self-confessed Democrat, and a liberal one at that. So my position on the matter can hardly come as a surprise. But my political affiliation has not affected my reasoning one tiny bit. That’s because, in my view, the impeachment of Donald Trump has nothing to do with partisan politics. The real issue at stake here is the Presidency of the United States itself.
I know Republicans will laugh up their sleeves at my assertion. In their view impeachment has EVERYTHING to do with partisan politics. I think it’s safe to say that Republicans genuinely believe the only real hope they have to retain the power of the Presidency is having Donald Trump at the top of their ticket in 2020. I don’t doubt that Donald Trump’s leading the ticket would be an important component in the Republican’s retaining the White House, but to say that it’s their only hope is gross exaggeration. For one thing, that is placing Republican hopes for the 2020 election on very fragile shoulders indeed. Donald Trump is 72 years old. He is obviously overweight and out of shape and his diet would be a cardiologist’s nightmare. There is no guarantee that Donald Trump would survive to Election Day, impeachment or no impeachment. If the fate of the Republican Party rests on Donald Trump’s frail shoulders then the political standing of the Republican Party is too weak to effectively govern this country.
When it comes to considering the efficacy of Donald Trump’s impeachment, what we must understand is that the power of the Presidency doesn’t depend on the President’s good health, his competence, his good conduct, or our high regard for his politics. The real power of the Presidency is derived from the respect we citizens have for the person occupying the office. In that regard, Donald Trump is undermining the power of the office. Up until Donald Trump’s inauguration, we had certain expectations about the appropriate conduct expected from the occupant of the White House. Donald Trump has blasted those expectations to hell and back.
Legally, the power of the Presidency is derived from the Constitution. A careful reading of that document tells us that the President’s authority is limited. That was the intent of the framers from the very beginning. Each occupant either lends greater power and prestige to the office or detracts from it. Giants such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln added to the prestige of the office while such incompetents as Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson subtracted from the regard we gave that office and thus decreased the authority of the position itself. Needless to say, Donald Trump is detracting from the high regard of that office with each passing day. It is at least conceivable that Donald Trump can so weaken the power of the Presidency as to make the office almost impotent.
The question is, however, whether weakening the office of President of the United States sufficient grounds on which to base a case of impeachment. My answer is no. Otherwise we might very well have impeached half the former occupants of that position. That’s why the Constitution enumerated certain conditions needed to impeach a President, included among them were high crimes and misdemeanors. But this is where the framers left us with a quandary. What exactly constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors? The nebulous quality of those conditions for impeachment makes it incredibly important for the Congress to go over a President’s conduct while in office with a fine tooth comb. To a certain extent that is exactly what the House of Representatives is trying to do in exercising its oversight responsibilities by investigating Donald Trump’s record while in office, thus sparing the country the rigors of a formal impeachment trial. It seems to me that as long as this President is doing everything in his power to impede such investigations, that in and of itself constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors.
What the House is attempting to do is to act very much like a grand jury in a criminal investigation. It has initiated a preliminary investigation into the feasibility of issuing articles of impeachment, in much the same way as a grand jury. If an individual were to attempt to impede the work of a grand jury that would be criminal behavior. Donald Trump, through his stonewalling, is doing much the same thing with respect to the investigation of his conduct while in office. His flagrant flouting of the rule of law in my view constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors and thus it is imperative that he be impeached with all due speed.
Filed under: Politics