You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

Among my favourite columnists is Eugene Robinson, writing for The Washington Post.  He is a seasoned journalist with over 30 years at The Post, and his opinions are most always thoughtful and well-reasoned.  His column of last Thursday is no exception and summarizes nicely the reason that the impeachment cannot be allowed to fail.  As of this writing, 158 House republicans have said they plan to vote against impeachment, and the 39 who have not yet opined are likely to vote against.  Among democrats in the House, 165 have affirmed that they will vote for impeachment, 19 are sitting on the fence, and 48 have yet to say.  Oh, and let us not forget Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey who has noted that he will be voting against impeaching Trump.  So, the full House vote is as yet uncertain, but I believe that there will be a majority and that Trump will be impeached, despite objections and moronic outcries by the republicans in Congress.  Anyway, I digress … here is what Mr. Robinson has to say on the subject …

The full House has no choice but to impeach Trump

Eugene-RobinsonEugene Robinson

Columnist

Dec. 12, 2019 at 7:37 p.m. EST

You gotta do what you gotta do. The choice that faced the House Judiciary Committee throughout Thursday’s endless debate was a simple one: Either we believe in democracy and the rule of law, or we don’t.

The president’s defenders are correct when they say “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” are not statutory crimes. They are, in fact, worse. The stripped-down impeachment articles against President Trump go to the heart of his blatant misconduct, which poses a direct challenge to the Constitution. I know that sounds grandiose to describe the offenses of such a small man as Trump. But it is true.

One could make the case that many of our presidents have abused their power in one way or another. I believe the framers of the Constitution would be appalled, for example, that since World War II, we have sent so many troops to fight and die in so many conflicts without a formal declaration of war by Congress. I believe they would be outraged that presidents can make so much law, unilaterally, by calling it regulation. But then again, maybe not. Perhaps Madison and Jefferson would approve of the way the presidency has evolved. We really have no way of knowing.

We do know, however, that the founders worried a president might corruptly misuse the powers of his office to keep himself in office. That is a principal reason the impeachment clause was written. And it is precisely what Trump tried to do.

Not just in one phone call but over a period of months, Trump tried to coerce a foreign government into fabricating a scandal that would tarnish former vice president Joe Biden, the potential rival who most threatened Trump’s reelection. Trump conditioned official acts — the release of nearly $400 million in military aid, along with a desperately sought White House meeting — on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s compliance with his demands.

Incredibly, this was after the conclusion of a two-year investigation into whether Trump and his campaign had solicited the help of another foreign government, that of Russia, to win the 2016 election. The probe by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III proved that Trump welcomed and encouraged Russian aid but not that he or his campaign participated in a conspiracy. Mueller did turn up reams of evidence, however, that Trump had obstructed justice in trying to shut the investigation down.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) adamantly refused to open an impeachment inquiry after the Mueller probe. “He’s just not worth it,” she said, meaning that holding Trump accountable for the crimes Mueller uncovered was not worth the trauma that impeachment would inevitably put the country through.

When Trump’s Ukraine bribery scheme came to light, however, the opening of an impeachment process went instantly from impossible to inevitable. It was indeed bribery, by the way, both as I believe the founders understood the crime and as the current federal bribery statute defines it. But Pelosi and the House impeachment managers decided to charge Trump instead with abuse of power, because that is a more grievous injury to the Constitution. Trump was elected to be a public servant, and he is acting like an autocrat.

Trump and his defenders have made a lot of noise but have not even produced quasi-plausible Trumpian “alternative facts” to dispute the real ones. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said we should all just “get over it.” Unfortunately for Trump, the Constitution does not allow that option.

The Constitution gives the House the “sole” power of impeachment. Yet Trump, unlike prior presidents who faced impeachment inquiries, has brazenly ordered the White House and the rest of the executive branch to refuse to provide documents and witnesses the House has demanded. Hence the charge of obstruction of Congress, which is another grave offense.

The separation-of-powers framework ensures that the three equal branches of our government will be engaged in a permanent struggle, preventing any one from obtaining primacy. But it does not allow Trump to avoid impeachment and removal from office simply by refusing to give the House access to the information it needs to decide whether to impeach. Any future president who committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” would surely do the same.

The Senate may fail to take the charges seriously, but House members will have done their duty. It is a constitutional imperative that Trump go down in history as one of just three presidents to be impeached.

37 thoughts on “You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

  1. Call me a pragmatist, but i’m with Ms Pelosi. She said impeachment was a bad idea and Donald Trump is just not worth it. She’s absolutely right, but her party forced her to proceed with the impeachment inquiry or she’ll lose her seat. That decision was shortsighted – BIG MISTAKE.
    I’m all for removing Trump from office but impeachment is a very poor strategy, totally weak hand to play. I’m results oriented and noted from the very start that this course of action can only benefit the Republicans. Of course Mr Trump is guilty of many crimes and misdemeanors, but this impeachment hearing also stirred up much dirt Democrats have committed over the years. Joe Biden and Hillary being primary targets.

    The result, handful of Dems voted against impeachment and 2 Democratic House members actually decided to quit the party and join the Republicans instead, WTF?!
    Trump has been bragging about it non-stop, it’s nauseating. And it’ll be a total circus when the trail moves to the Senate. I’m afraid this move will only galvanize their conservative base, with Dems losing crucial independent & moderate votes. Trump will wear his impeachment charge like a badge of honor, and like Clinton’s acquittal he’ll become more popular than ever…. has no-one in the DNC considered a strategy for winning? Dems know full well Trump will never be removed by the Senate, so what’s their exit strategy? It’s all partisanship and emotions, no logic or systematic plan to win. This is not looking good for us come 2020, I’m losing hope.

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    • I have to say that I agree with you one earth on this one.

      If Nancy really wanted to impeach the president, she would have gotten the ball rolling on that a lot sooner than she did which shows me that she’s doing it now purely for political expediency, not out of any sense of morality or what is good for the country.

      The only way any of these clowns will be taken seriously is if they serve the country and don’t give a damn about any sort of political future. Politics was not invisioned by our founding fathers as something to be a career for life, but to serve for a short season but every single politician has forgotten that or they just don’t want to recognize it as being the truth of the matter.

      I am fed up with every single one of these fake, fony, hipocritical, parasitic, psychopathic politicians and all of them, including our stupid president have got to go. We need to just start over.

      Liked by 2 people

    • And the there’s this,and it even details some reasons why this impeachment is quite different from the rightful impeachments of both Nyxon and Clinton.

      What do you guys say to the arguments in this post?

      Oh,and I don’t give a damn who owns what media because the truth is that most of the media in this country is owned by one of 5 or 6 corporations or billionaires anyway so to infer independence by ownership is totally inaccurate.

      https://www.afa.net/the-stand/culture/2019/10/the-sham-scam-and-hoax-impeachment/

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      • This impeachment hearing is Democrat’s Hail Mary, an apt poker analogy would be bluffing with a horrible hand and going all in! Seems suspicious to me why Dems don’t have enough tangible evidence to charge the President with collusion, bribery, quid pro-quo, treason and slew of other impeachable offenses. Why drop those charges? Possibly b/c Joe and Hunter Biden engaging in the same crimes Trump’s charged with?
        Why abuse of power and obstruction? It seems so vague as to purposefully downplay the severity of Trump’s true crimes, why are Dems letting him off the hook so easily?
        Scott, ur article states, “They are accusing the President of “obstructing” their impeachment inquiry. This is impossible, for the simple reason that THERE IS NO IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY. You can’t obstruct something that does not exist.”
        Repugs have a point there, it’s a very weak and subjective charge. We can’t impeachment a President for not living up to our expectations. But we can certainly VOTE HIM OUT come 2020! Independents and swing voters should be Dems focus, but without Progressive candidates inspiring ppl to get out and vote, I’m not holding my breathe.

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        • Call me crazy, but let this independent and former GOP vote state some obvious concerns:
          – the president has overtly obstructed Congress by not participating and instructing others to follow suit;
          – a parade of honorable and mission oriented public servants testified under oath over their concerns about the president’s directives in Ukraine;
          – the phone call that led to the whistleblower complaint was hidden from normal channels;
          – the Trump sycophants are citing no one has testified that the words came from Trump’s mouth and the aid was releasd – on the latter, the aid was released after the knowledge of the whistleblower complaint, and who else would have the authority to order folks to work with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and has something to gain; and
          – what is lost on too many is what Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney confessed that quid pro quo was modus operandi and to “get over it.” Yet, after he walked back that comment, we should recognize there is a huge difference between a favor to a country and a person.
          As an American citizen, I take testimony under oath more seriously than repetitive tweets. With the exception of Sondland, who still held back even with his damaging testimony, I found the people offering testimony impactful.
          But, I also want to hear from Mulvaney, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo among others. I also want to know why Dan Coats and Sue Gordon were let go in National Intelligence around the same time. And, it is informational that Bolton departed and Rick Perry has announced his resignation
          We are democracy, not a kingdom. We are a republic with three equal branches. Congress has a job to do. It would be nice if they did it.

          The impeachment process may help and hurt Dems. Yet, it must be done. We cannot have a president act in the manner he is doing. It is a risk to our democracy and national security.

          That’s my two cents. Keith

          Liked by 2 people

          • Keith, everything you say is correct and has merit… if we live in an honorable fair republic where our voices actually matter and votes make a difference. But when it comes to Trump & his administration, what does truth have to do with anything? It’s all about power, control, legacy, greed, Trump’s self-serving agenda over the needs of the ppl, over the good of the nation, heck the whole world if it means he’s “winning”. Our leader has the mentality and maturity of a grade school bully, what can you really expect… for him to play fair? Despite all the evidence, Repugs will spin it so he will never get impeached, and I don’t see any other political play the Dems could do to get this guy out. That’s what I mean by referring to this impeachment as a political hail mary by the Dems… slim to none.

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    • here’s a question from facebook and a good one at that.

      What, if anything do you think could be the answer to this or do you guys trust our government so much that you don’t believe for a moment they could be deceiving, distracting or misdirecting anyone for any purpose?

      “Since our Government is spending $$$$ of our TAX MONIES on this dang Impeachment…, Who’s watching our National Security???? What’s going on behind the

      scenes that they are hiding???”

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      • Problem is, our gov’t as an institution works more like a corporation than an agency which caters exclusively to the citizens/ taxpayers, it’s more like one big pay for play operation. Therefore their interests and loyalties are beholden to their “shareholders”/ donor class or elites first and foremost. Essentially our gov’t serves itself, it’s primary interest is maintaining an operation or system that ensures it’s own survival. It’s fascist in a sense, as an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer. Except this is not benevolent socialism where gov’t serves it’s ppl, rather it’s a socialist system of control, rather oppressive and corrupt, with predatory capitalism destroying and exploiting the lower class structure. It’s a form of indentured servitude or slavery under the guise of free markets, beneficial competition, and fairness. Our world gov’t has devolved into immoral racket with 2 sets of rules, one for the wealthy rulers and another for the poor slave workers to keep them in line.
        With that said, why would anyone trust a government? Our “officials” lie to us on every turn, pass laws and do things contrary to the interest of the ppl. Sounds like a dictatorship to me, with oligarch Don Trump at the helm.
        Of course this impeachment is a sham, it’s a dog and pony show to distract the masses from real issues that actually make a difference. We still don’t have free health care, free education system, decent living wage, low taxes, incentives to improve productivity and standard of living. Of course our politicians TALK about these issues come election time, but do they ever deliver?? Keep in mind that most European countries have already achieved these goals and do not waste 100s billions every year on defense. That where they get the money from to finance all the goodies which benefit their citizens directly, none of this trickle down bullshit.
        So yeah, there’s plenty of money to go around, just not for you or me. National security is just a buzzword, another scam to funnel money to the military industrial complex, yes the same monster that President Ike warned us about.
        What’s going on behind the scenes is whatever the government wants to do, and it’s for them to know and us to find out.

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        • We must review the veracity and efficiency of government agencies and regulations. We must elimnate, streamline, refine or remedy regs and agencies that are not doing what is needed. We must guard against bureucacracies and inefficiencies. But, to paint all of government services with a negative light is also unfair. There are countless people who take their oaths seriously. With the exception of Sondland, I was very impressed with the parade of diplomats and public servants who courageously testified under oath and whose focus was on helping nurture our relationship with Ukraine.

          President Eisenhower was correct that we must guard against the military industrial complex. We must be wary of the fossil fuel industrial complex and so on. Government must work for the people. There are times when it does not do it well. Yet, even with challenges, if they were not there we would see the impact and assume greater risk. MIchael Lewis has an excellent book out called “The Fifth Risk,” which is a good read.

          I recognize it is easier to bash institutions as a whole, but that is not a fair indictment, in and of itself. Keith

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes of course I’m generalizing, gov’t is still necessary in order for society to function. My point is society or civilization is only as strong as it’s ppl and it’s system if governance. Like Rome, when corruption overtakes law and order past the point of no return, well collapse is the inevitable outcome. We are clearly headed that way under this administration. And like Jill said, by 2024 our nation would devolve into such a state which would render the US unrecognizable. It’s 1984 topsy turvy and beyond.
            We could be the most mindfully diligent government watchdogs, like Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, Ron Paul, or Dr. Paul Craig Roberts calling forth injustices and wrongdoings, but what if our institutions have been weaponized politically to the point where it’s no longer effectual to function for all the ppl? Just look at our college campuses, news media, social media, town halls and public demonstrations. It’s a harrowing situation.
            A deeper question remains, why have local and federal branches of gov’t fed into this rabid polarization of ideologies between liberal and conservatives? Could it be that divided citizens are easier to manipulate and control? Perhaps gov’t won’t have to work as hard to appease the public and continue pandering to special interest and big money donors, politicians don’t even hide their corruption it these days.
            Thanks for the book recommendation, sounds like a good read. Similar note, there’s a movie featured last year called the Fifth Estate well worth watching. Excerpt:
            WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and a colleague, Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl), join forces to become watchdogs over actions of the privileged and powerful. Despite scant resources, they are able to create a platform for whistle-blowers to leak covert data anonymously, thereby exposing government secrets and corporate crimes. However, a major battle erupts when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest cache of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history.

            Happy Holidays to you and loved ones Keith! ❤

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            • 1earthunited, your answer is in this question you pose. “Could it be that divided citizens are easier to manipulate and control?”

              Government agencies are not as polarized as they are made out to be. Per Trump, the FBI is all bad because they are investigating him, e.g. Trump has taken it to an art form, but divide and conquer is a Machiavellian modus operandi. Pit people against each other. He does it with the electorate, with institutions, even with his own staff. The latter is a key reason his White House is chaotic and incompetent and why so many have left.

              He is by far the most divisive president we have ever had. How many “bring us together” speeches has he made versus the Democrats, Deeep State and Media are all against him?

              Keith

              Liked by 1 person

              • Trump is the most divisive President by far, perhaps that is his strategy to keep staying relevant. Like reality TV stars and social media influencers, being controversial and combative creates attention for better or worse. An ego as bloated as his require constant reinforcement, social media feeds his addiction.
                Even his impeachment trial is used as an opportunity to bolster his rating, increasing his chances of winning. That’s why I’m so upset with the Democrats, can’t they think even 1 step ahead?
                There’s even a conspiracy theory alluding to a secret alliance between top Democrats and Trump. Dems are self sabotaging b/c confidentially they approve of Trump’s economic policies. It keeps wealth in their pockets via huge tax cuts for the rich, and it keeps them relevant! After all, superheros need their supervillain to justify their purpose. What better way than to keep Trump in office, and pretend to do battle for the following term, all the while distracting their constituents from their empty promises of making American lives better. It’s all about maintaining that status quo, reinforcing that system of control. Sadly it seems to be working.

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          • Absolutely right!

            1871, February 21: Congress Passes an Act to Provide a Government for the District of Columbia, also known as the Act of 1871. With no constitutional authority to do so, Congress creates a separate form of government for the District of Columbia, a ten mile square parcel of land (see, Acts of the Forty-first Congress,” Section 34, Session III, chapters 61 and 62). The act — passed when the country was weakened and financially depleted in
            the aftermath of the Civil War — was a strategic move by foreign interests (international bankers) who were intent upon gaining a stranglehold on the coffers and neck of America. Congress cut a deal with the international bankers (specifically Rothschilds of London) to incur a DEBT to said bankers. Because the bankers were not about to lend money to a floundering nation without
            serious stipulations, they devised a way to get their foot in the door of the United States. The Act of 1871 formed a corporation called THE UNITED STATES. The corporation, OWNED by foreign interests, moved in and shoved the original Constitution into a dustbin. With the Act of 1871, the organic Constitution was
            defaced — in effect vandalized and sabotage — when the title was capitalized and the word “for” was changed to “of” in the title.
            THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is the constitution of the incorporated UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. It operates in an economic capacity and has been used to fool the People into thinking it governs the Republic. It does is not! Capitalization is NOT insignificant when one is referring
            to a legal document. This seemingly “minor” alteration has had a major impact on every subsequent generation of Americans. What Congress did by passing the Act of 1871 was create an entirely new document, a constitution for the government of the District of Columbia, an INCORPORATED government. This
            newly altered Constitution was not intended to benefit the Republic. It benefits only the corporation of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and operates entirely outside the original (organic) Constitution.

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  2. Jill, I sent the following letter to my newspaper. I hope they print it:

    “Last Friday was a somber, but necessary day in America. The House Judiciary Committee voted for two articles of impeachment of the US president. Whether it hurts or helps Democrats is irrelevant. This independent and former GOP voter feels it was necessary as we cannot have a president act in this manner. We are a democracy, not a kingdom. Acting in this manner is a risk to our national security and constitution. I applaud the political courage of those honorable public servants who testified under oath and at great risk. I also do not find the president to be the most truthful of people and, as a result, is the biggest purveyor of fake news in America by far.”

    Keith

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

    • I worry also, for in the past 24 hours, I have read no less than 4 analyses that say the UK election results may be predictive of ours next year. I cannot live another 4 years under this megalomaniac. This nation will not survive it. I fear for yours, as well, for I’ve also read a couple that worry me, about how the big pharma industry in the U.S. already has plans for your NHS. What the Sam Hell is this world coming to, my friend?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I adore him. I worked with Avis, his wife on a non-profit benefiting AA teens with college scholarships. They are a wonderful couple. The thing that impressed me the most about them was their honesty and willingness to give to others.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve been kept busy today reading analysis after analysis, and at least half of them are of the same opinion as this article. Nonetheless … I stand by the fact that this impeachment must be followed through. Granted, it will not remove Trump from office, and it may well hurt the democrats next year. But … if we let this ball drop now … and yes, Trump has broken the law, acted in direct opposition to the oath he took, and denigrated the Constitution … if we let this ball drop now, every single president that follows him will assume they are above the law and will act with impunity, just as he has done. We are in a dark place in this country, and if he is re-elected in 2020, I think we will not recognize what this nation has become by 2024. Apocalyptic? Yes. And I would bet money that I’m right.

      Like

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