- CP illustration by Jeff Drew
Knowledge is power, at least that’s what the old axiom would have you believe.
Between the 24-hour news cycle, indictments of Trump campaign officials, investigations into the President’s son and son-in-law for potentially colluding with Russia, a continuing investigation by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, a daily nuclear standoff with North Korea, and President Trump’s incessant, mostly nonsensical tweeting, we are neck-deep in an ocean of knowledge about what’s going on in Trump’s administration. Yet, somehow, we seem more powerless than ever.
But we don’t have to be. Today, the editorial staff of the Pittsburgh City Paper is joining other alt-weeklies across the country and calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump. It’s a long, arduous process that some scholars and pundits say wouldn’t be successful. However, a lot of those same people said the election of Donald Trump would never happen either.
Unfortunately, it did happen, and it’s time to do something about it. But it’s never going to happen without the mobilization of the public.
It’s clear to a great many people that the Donald Trump experiment is a colossal failure, especially to those outside of Trump’s loyal base. According to a September poll by the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, a quarter of the voters who voted for and supported Barack Obama, and then voted for Trump a year ago, regret their decision; those are the voters who swung the election.
We are not alone in calling for Trump’s impeachment. There has been a groundswell of support for the idea since he took office in January. Calls have come from individuals, groups and media. Dan Savage, editor of Seattle’s The Stranger, started his “Impeach the Mother Fucker Already” campaign on Jan. 24. Most recently, billionaire hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer began an “eight-figure” ad campaign leading the charge for impeachment. Now it’s up to the public to put pressure on their representatives to work toward this goal, especially if Dems take back the House in 2018.
Here are the grounds for impeachment as we see them. At the very least, these are grounds to begin the long process.
Ties to Russia:
Despite the president’s tweets to the contrary, a lot of smoke is filling the air from Mueller’s investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. Former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his assistant have been indicted on charges related to dealings in the Ukraine. Former foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russia during the campaign. Beyond that, Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met with Russians to gain information to use against Hillary Clinton. These days, Trump insists there was no “collusion.” But as far back as a year ago, he claimed there wasn’t even any contact. Now nine members of his inner circle have been linked to Russia.
In an Oct. 5 piece written for The Washington Post, author Barbara Radnofsky, who wrote A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment, explains that a president doesn’t need to have committed a crime to be impeached. Radnofsky quotes James Madison in making the case that the firing of FBI Director James Comey is an impeachable offense. Madison wrote if “the President can displace from office a man whose merits require that he should be continued in it … he will be impeachable … for such an act of maladministration.” But since the Russia probe is centering on the Trump campaign, a strong argument could also be made that Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey.
Unfit for Office:
Forget everything else, and the easiest and strongest argument to be made is that Trump is unfit to be president. “The Founding Fathers tried to prepare the country for the possibility of someone not only corrupt and venal … but also from someone simply unable to perform the job, whether through incompetence, ignorance or incapacity,” Radnofsky writes. There is undeniable evidence to support this claim. Donald Trump is a liar; he’s proven time and again that he will spin any fallacy into the “truth” and sell it to the American people. He is a man-child unable to follow general rules of protocol and decorum. Or even national security, like the time he loudly discussed foreign policy in the unsecured dining room of his Mar-a-Lago resort. Or the numerous times he has publicly provoked and threatened North Korea. He has surrounded himself with a league of incompetents, sycophants and fools, ranging from Steve Bannon to Rick Perry; he doesn’t understand how the judicial branch works; he doesn’t understand the complexities of health care; he doesn’t know that white supremacists should shoulder all the blame when a protester is murdered by a white supremacist; and he is trying to demonize the press.
Donald Trump is president because some Americans wanted an outsider, instead of a career politician, leading the country. That may still be a valid plan, but this is not the right man for the job. Donald Trump is unable to handle the job of President of the United States. It’s now up to the public to hold their elected representatives accountable and demand that they begin impeachment proceedings, before things get any worse.