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Ethics & Religion
Column #1,902
Feb. 1, 2018
Trump Should Be Impeached
By Mike McManus

Last June I was one of the first to call for impeaching Donald Trump, and was criticized for being premature. Robert Mueller had only begun his investigation. With Republicans in control of Congress, it was unlikely that the House would vote for articles of impeachment.

However, there were already multiple examples of Trump's "obstruction of justice" which was the major charge against Nixon. First, Trump tried to stop the FBI's year-old investigation on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign for President and Russia.

When FBI Director Comey refused to swear loyalty to Trump, and to back off his investigation of Michael Kelly, Trump fired Comey - a clear "obstruction of justice."

I also noted in my June column that the Attorneys General of Maryland and Washington D.C. filed a lawsuit accusing Trump of violating anti-corruption laws through his ownership of companies that have accepted millions of dollars from foreign governments. The Constitution prohibits a U.S. office holder from accepting "any present Emolument...from any King, Prince or foreign State."

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh charged, "It is unprecedented that the American people must question day after day whether decisions are made and actions are taken to benefit the United States or to benefit Donald Trump. The president's conflicts of interest threaten our democracy."

In a hearing last week on the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte noted, "You have diplomats from certain Arab countries that are declaring that they are taking their business (to Trump's hotels) in order to curry favor with the president."

On July 8, aboard Air Force One, Trump helped draft a false public statement for his son, Donald Trump, Jr., stating that a 2016 meeting between his campaign leaders and Russians was about adoption. His son later acknowledged that the meeting was to discuss damaging information that Russians had about Hillary Clinton.

Last week we learned that Trump asked his White House attorney, Donald McGahn, to fire Mueller, but McGahn refused and threatened to quit in protest if Trump did not back down.

This recent attempt to obstruct justice parallels Nixon's attempt to end Watergate by firing Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon did not want to release tapes of his conversations in the White House with his top aides about Watergate. Instead, Nixon offered a written summary of the tapes.

Cox rejected that proposed compromise and insisted that he would return to court to compel the release of the tapes. In October, 1973 Nixon ordered his Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox and abolish Cox's office.

However Richardson refused to fire Cox and resigned. Nixon then asked Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox. Similarly, he resigned as well. This was the famous "Saturday Night Massacre." (Eventually Justice's Solicitor General Robert Bork fired Cox.)

On July 24, 1974 the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to turn over the tapes. In less than a week the House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment: obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress.

One of Nixon's articles of impeachment charged that he "made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States."

Trump has repeatedly lied about American intelligence agencies conclusions regarding Russia's role in the 2016 election. Remember they came to a unanimous conclusion, published in October, 2016 before the election, that there was collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia.

Therefore, Trump asked Daniel Coats, his new Director of National Intelligence and CIA Director Mike Pompeo to issue public statements denying the existence of any evidence of coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin. Both men refused, supporting the conclusions of their predecessors.

Trump hoped that when he fired FBI Director Comey, that his year-long investigation would end. However, Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, appointed Robert Mueller to lead an independent investigation that has more authority and credibility than Comey ever did.

That's why Trump has been trying to fire Mueller.

However, it appears that Mueller will soon be interviewing Trump about a wide range of issues that certainly will include his firing of Comey and attempted firing of Mueller. Let's assume he makes a persuasive case for Trump's impeachment.

With Republicans controlling the House, there will be no impeachment in 2018.

However, 38 Republican Congressmen have already announced their retirements. Democrats only need to pick up 24 House seats to take control of the House. And Hillary Clinton beat Trump in 23 House seats held by Republicans. They are also vulnerable.

Therefore, I predict Democrats will capture the House in November and will consider Trump's impeachment in 2019.
___________________________________

Copyright (c) 2018 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. For previous columns go to  www.ethicsandreligion.org. Hit Search for any topic.

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