Is it time to impeach Donald Trump? | The Tylt

Is it time to impeach Donald Trump?

Calls for the House of Representatives to start impeachment proceedings have gotten louder as Democrats prepare to take control of the chamber in January. Many are pointing to the president's increasingly erratic behavior, as well as the high profile resignation of advisors like John Kelly and James Mattis, as evidence it is time to begin removing the president from office. Others, however, say impeachment proceedings could trigger a constitutional crisis. Additionally, beginning impeachment without enough evidence could hurt the nation's morale. What do you think?

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The New York Times ran an op-ed from foreign affairs columnist Thomas L. Friedman calling for Republican leaders to inform President Trump that he must either temper his behavior or face removal from office.

I believe that the only responsible choice for the Republican Party today is an intervention with the president that makes clear that if there is not a radical change in how he conducts himself — and I think that is unlikely — the party’s leadership will have no choice but to press for his resignation or join calls for his impeachment.
It has to start with Republicans, given both the numbers needed in the Senate and political reality. Removing this president has to be an act of national unity as much as possible — otherwise it will tear the country apart even more. I know that such an action is very difficult for today’s G.O.P., but the time is long past for it to rise to confront this crisis of American leadership.
Trump’s behavior has become so erratic, his lying so persistent, his willingness to fulfill the basic functions of the presidency — like reading briefing books, consulting government experts before making major changes and appointing a competent staff — so absent, his readiness to accommodate Russia and spurn allies so disturbing and his obsession with himself and his ego over all other considerations so consistent, two more years of him in office could pose a real threat to our nation. Vice President Mike Pence could not possibly be worse.
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Elizabeth Holtzman, a former member of the House of Representatives, wrote in Newsweek that impeachment proceedings should begin immediately, even before Robert Mueller releases the results of his investigation. Holtzman contends the president has committed more than enough crimes and misdemeanors outside his potential involvement with Russia to warrant impeachment.

To evaluate the case against Trump fairly, we need to set aside his unremitting attacks on the environment, on our close allies, on almost every program that President Barack Obama put into effect (including the Affordable Care Act) and any disagreements we have over policy, as well as any personal animus.
With Trump again decrying special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as a “phony witch hunt,” we’ll even leave Russia off the table. Potential collusion aside, there are still plenty of impeachable offenses. Two of the strongest are Trump’s refusal to separate himself from his business interests (a potential violation of the bribery ban and the Constitution’s emoluments clause) and his approval of a “family separation” immigration policy (a potential abuse of power).
...Trump, of course, is a prime target for such charges because, unlike his predecessors, he has refused to separate himself from his numerous and far-flung business interests, such as hotels and golf courses, and is still able, while president, to earn money from those businesses. Bribes may easily be disguised in the business context—for example, by overpayments for property, goods or services.
Three recent transactions involving Trump raise the specter of bribery and should be fully investigated. After initially questioning Beijing’s “One China” policy, which considers self-governing, democratic Taiwan part of China, Trump reversed course after the Chinese government approved Trump Organization trademarks. Likewise, the president ordered the U.S. government to lift sanctions on Chinese company ZTE after China announced it was going to invest “bigly” in an Indonesia theme park with which the Trump Organization had a licensing deal.
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Writer T.A. Frank at Vanity Fair contends that impeachment is a highly political process and the costs and benefits of such action should be carefully weighed. Frank worries unless the case against the president is ironclad, impeachment will do nothing but further disrupt the nation.

High-mindedness, in this case, matters more. Democrats like Nancy Pelosi sincerely believe that impeachment is terrible for the country. At best, you get a crippled head of state and a political system in quiet turmoil. At worst, you cause a constitutional crisis. Also, every time you misuse impeachment, you cheapen it. The very idea of impeachment is far less frightening to a president today than it was 20 years ago, because Clinton showed it could be an unpleasant but temporary ordeal, like a stay in the hospital. Poor judgment by Republicans made it into a paper tiger. Every precedent set by one side also encourages the other side to follow suit. Impeachment begets impeachment. Democrats don’t want that.
...This gets to the inescapability of politics in all of this. Those who see impeachment as a clean matter of upholding the rule of law in the face of crime, who see only cowardice or a concern for “optics” in attempts to avoid it, tend to have greater confidence in their conceptions of impartiality than those who urge restraint. Impeachment is like yelling, “Fire!” Unless everyone can see the flames, as opposed to your side alone, you lose credibility, with serious repercussions in all directions. That’s what happened to Republicans in 1998, and this, just as much as midterm setbacks, is what many Democrats take as the crucial lesson.
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Joel Mathis, writing for The Week, agrees. Mathis points to the Clinton impeachment, which ultimately had little effect on the president's ability to govern, as evidence that impeachment is not always effective and therefore must be used sparingly.

I'll spare you the lecture on how impeachment is a political process. Instead, I'll offer two criteria for impeachment in the case of President Trump: First, the offense must be clear-cut and worthy of his removal from office. Second, the impeachment must stand a good chance of leading to that outcome.
According to documents filed Friday in the case of Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, the offense committed by the president boils down to this: By covering up his affairs, he pulled a fast one on the American people.
...The problem? Trump entered the 2016 election as a known sleazebag — a man who bragged about his sex life in the New York tabloids, who had appeared in softcore pornography, and who was known for telling an interviewer that avoiding sexually transmitted diseases was his own "personal Vietnam." And that was before the Access Hollywood tape revelations. By the time the election came about, Americans had a pretty good idea that Trump had a past as, at the very least, a sexual libertine.
...It actually seems plausible that Trump was hushing up news of his affairs because he wanted to save his marriage. If so, that wouldn't be a campaign finance violation, and the case for impeachment based on Friday's document dump seems weaker.
...Democrats who have spent the last two decades grumbling that Clinton was impeached based on private infidelities, then, have two choices based on Friday's sentencing documents: Stand on principle, or get even.
There's a practical reason for standing on principle: House Democrats could successfully impeach Trump after they take the majority in a few weeks, but the GOP will still hold the Senate, which must conduct a trial on any impeachment claims approved by the House. Senate Republicans have so far proven protective of Trump, and they simply have to point to the Clinton precedent — he was acquitted by the Senate — and move on. Impeachment will have ended up much ado about nothing.
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Is it time to impeach Donald Trump?
A festive crown for the winner
#TimeToImpeach
#LetTrumpWork