Sunday, December 30, 2018

A RESPONSE TO OBJECTIONS AND DOUBTS ABOUT IMPEACHING PRESIDENT TRUMP


©Wendell Griffen, 2018
Justice Is a Verb!
December 30, 2018

In my December 26, 2018 post I declared that the House Judiciary Committee should hold an impeachment hearing concerning whether President Donald Trump has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.  I write now to respond to concerns about that position. 

President Trump’s supporters do not believe impeachment proceedings are warranted.  They object to his impeachment the same way they condemn and denounce the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller concerning whether Mr. Trump and his associates engaged in criminal activity related to the 2016 presidential election.

Trump’s supporters also condemn and denounce the lawsuits filed against him in federal court.  Those lawsuits allege that he is violating the ban on emoluments expressed at Article I, Section 9.8 to the federal Constitution which declares that “…no person holding any office or profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”  [Mr. Trump owns a hotel near the White House that is regularly patronized by foreign governments and others who seek favorable treatment from his administration.]

Others who either disagree with President Trump’s policies or who may be offended by his personal and business conduct hold serious reservations about whether impeachment is politically expedient.  Those persons doubt that the Republican majority in the Senate would vote to convict Mr. Trump even if the House of Representatives votes in favor of articles of impeachment recommended by the House Judiciary Committee.  Among other things, they are concerned that Trump would use the impeachment controversy and spectacle to stoke support for his re-election campaign in 2020. 

Another concern is that if Trump is impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate, Vice President Pence would become President, and then pardon Trump the way President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon after Nixon’s resignation in the face of impeachment proceedings surrounding his efforts to obstruct investigation of the Watergate scandal.  These observers prefer that Trump and Pence be voted out of office in 2020 rather than risk a Pence presidency.

Here’s my rejoinder to these and other objections to impeaching President Trump:  appendectomy. 

When the human appendix is infected with bacteria and inflamed, doctors know that an emergency exists that requires surgical removal of the infected appendix.  It is medical malpractice for a doctor to examine a patient, confirm that the patient has appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix), and release the patient with a prescription to relieve pain associated with appendicitis. 

Appendectomy, a common emergency surgery, is the long-recognized and accepted way to treat appendicitis. Patients recover from that routine surgical procedure and go on to live well for a simple reason.  The human body does not need an appendix to function normally or well. 

More to the point, the human body is threatened by an infected appendix.  A pus-filled appendix will rupture if it is not surgically removed.  The ruptured appendix then discharges bacteria into the abdominal cavity which requires emergency appendectomy followed by aggressive treatment with antibiotics to save the patient’s life.  In some cases, a ruptured appendix can lead to death. 

Donald Trump’s presidency is the political equivalent of appendicitis for the United States.  However much his supporters and detractors dislike it, Trump’s impeachment is the political equivalent of an appendectomy for the nation because Trump’s political incompetence and personal corruption has infected the presidency with pus-filled policies and practices that threaten domestic, national, and global well-being.   

The nation does not need sedatives from politicians and pundits, be they Trump supporters or Trump opponents.  We need surgery.  The infected appendix called the Trump presidency must be surgically removed before it ruptures and threatens our survival. 

We should stop hoping that heaven will deliver us from Trump’s poisonous presidency and personality.  In the Biblical account of the Exodus, God told Moses to use the staff in his hand when Moses complained that Egyptian chariots threatened his people as they stood on the shore of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:15-16).  Impeachment is the tool in our hand.  It won’t work unless we use it. 

That is why the House Judiciary Committee should schedule and conduct public hearings on impeachment.  If hearings demonstrate that President Trump has committed treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors, the Judiciary Committee should issue Articles of Impeachment.  If a majority of the House votes to approve Articles of Impeachment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must convene the Senate as jurors.  Chief Justice John Roberts must preside over Trump’s trial.  If two-thirds of the Senators vote for conviction, Chief Justice Roberts must declare President Trump ousted from office.  That process requires human competence and courage, not divine intervention. 

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate must, like emergency room physicians, think about what is best for the patient.  Donald Trump is not the patient.  Partisan political loyalists are not the patient.  The 2020 election outcome is not the patient.  The patient is the democratic republic known as the United States of America. 

That patient is threatened by the pus-filled appendix known as Donald Trump’s presidency.  The nation can survive without that appendix if the House and Senate will act the way responsible doctors routinely act. 

We can’t survive if the medical team won’t use competent and courageous judgment and do their job. 

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