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The Impeachment Imperative

On Friday (Aug. 2), your faithful scribe completed a two-week project that consumed him intellectually and emotionally to the point where he was too wired to get to sleep on a couple of nights. That writer, i.e., me, spent almost two weeks composing a long letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives, urging that they impeach President Donald Trump. Twenty-five people affixed their John or Joan Henry’s.

Whoa, stop, where you goin’? Come back. No? You’re outa here? Sure you don’t want to read it? Okay, I guess not if you’re a Trump supporter. Cult worshippers are not known for their open minds.

Developments over the weekend added a dimension that I and the contributing members of a discussion group didn’t even touch on in the letter: the president’s racist rhetoric, which people consumed by hate take as a license to kill. The two mass slaughters heightened the urgency for removing this man from office.

I located the Washington addresses of the then-116 Democratic House members uncommitted to impeachment, addressed the envelopes, put my money where my pen was with 55-cent stamps, and handed the boxful to the postal clerk.

Without further ado, the letter (sans signatures):

July 30, 2019

U.S. Rep. X


Washington, DC 20515

Dear Rep. X,

The time has come for the United States House of Representatives to embark on impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. We, the undersigned, have hashed out among ourselves our ideas as to the pros and cons of such radical action, and concluded that the survival of our country depends on it.

Our democracy cannot endure another four-year term under a president who is endangering our security in myriad ways, flouting our laws at will, destroying the moral fabric of our society, and overturning the values upon which this nation was founded. In every way, he has demonstrated breathtaking ignorance and disregard of our history and institutions, and shown no interest in educating himself for the job, declining even to read staff briefings while often spending as much as four hours daily watching cable television programs.

He has cozied up to the leaders of our biggest enemies, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the sadistic killer Kim Jong-un of North Korea, with whom he said he “fell in love,” and expressed disbelief that members of the Saudi Arabian government murdered an American journalist.

Meanwhile, he has broken our treaties with other nations and made enemies of them. They include European countries with which we have been friends and allies for many decades. None of them, nor any of us in our country, can trust anything he says, as he has been documented to have told more than 10,000 lies or misleading statements in his first two years in office. Twenty-six mental health experts authored a book testifying to his mental instability and unfitness for office. His degeneracy has been realized in part by sexual abuse toward a host of women who have come forth, including a journalist who credibly accused him recently of having raped her years ago. In an unprecedented display of cruel and childish behavior, he mocked a journalist with a congenital disability in late 2016. He viciously attacks those who criticize or disagree with him.

In short, Donald Trump has disgraced the presidency and grossly violated the norms of common decency.

The latest example of that – the last straw justifying impeachment for many, including our group of writers, artists, and business and professional people – was his racist, public rant days ago against four freshman House members of color, urging that they return to the countries they came from, when in fact three were born here. In a chilling reminder of Nazism under Adolf Hitler, Trump incited mobs of supporters to chant “Send her back,” referring to Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

In the face of overarching boldness and aggressiveness by Republicans in Congress, Democrats have earned a universal reputation for weakness and docility. They have strived for civility, negotiation and cooperation with our political opponents. Alas, that spirit has been met with unrelenting stonewalling by the vast majority of GOP members who, by voluminous behind-the-scenes accounts, are fully aware of the egregious incapacity and unwillingness of their leader, Donald Trump, to govern and conduct himself in a manner suitable for the office of the president. They know all too well his woeful character deficiencies, his unconcern for the present and future well-being of America, his sociopathic narcissism, his ignorance of basic elements of our country’s foundation and the world at large, and his flailing, wholly inconsistent and chaotic style of governing, or rather, lack thereof. Yet they support him on all fronts, bowing with slavish submission to his idiosyncratic, dangerous inanities. They do this out of fear of backlash from their voting constituents if they do anything to contain him. Often, they do more than remain silent: They champion him in displays of sycophantic political cowardice.

Democrats must show that they are better, and courageously rise above political self-interest to act in behalf of the best interests of our country, doing what is morally and legally just, which is to impeach this president.

We understand the political concerns of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others, the fear especially that freshman members of the House from districts that voted for Trump will jeopardize their re-election chances. None of us wants any of them or any other congressperson to lose his or her seat. But we have to get past that and fulfill the mandate of the Constitution for the House of Representatives to carry out impeachment of a president adjudged to have committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

David Cay Johnston, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, said recently: “The Republicans are wrong, but they are strong. The Democrats are weak, but they are right.” The broadcast airwaves are blue with pundits, former politicians and government officials, and experts in a variety of fields lamenting what they perceive as the feckless orientation of the Democratic Party. To regain the respect of the country and the world, Democrats in Congress need to renounce their recent past, when they failed to stand up for Barack Obama, bowing to the bullying, high-decibel Republicans.

Renowned Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School warned, “We might lose our souls and our Constitutional democracy if we do nothing. And doing nothing is not an option.”

We call on you to stand tall and persuade the unconvinced segment of the American public with Democratic fortitude and determination that Donald Trump is unfit to be president. If we all are vocal enough, the task should be doable. The Mueller report is a guide, showing the multiple instances of obstruction of justice, along with legally unprovable but nonetheless evidentiary indications that conspiracy to influence an election was committed.

What happened to Trump’s favorability rating in recent days and weeks, following his racist speeches urging four new congresswomen of color to leave the country and a credible accusation of rape against him by an advice columnist? The ratings rose 5 percent each time.

So you have nothing to lose, and much to gain. The voting public has to be made aware of the vast extent of Trump’s corruption and the imminent, as well as future, danger he poses for we citizens’ well-being and the survival of our democracy. The facts of Trump’s Machiavellian behavior before and during the election and his presidency scream impeachable offenses, the most obvious being the main obstructions of justice: Trump’s order to Don McGahn to fire Mueller; Trump’s direction to McGahn to deny the ordering; Trump’s direction to Corey Lewandowski to instruct Jeff Sessions to limit the investigation; Trump’s direction to Lewandowski to fire Session if he didn’t comply; and Trump’s alleged witness tampering with regard to Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.

There is a boatload of other offenses, including:

  1. Trump has done nothing to impede Russian interference in our 2020 election, instead insisting that none occurred in 2016 in treasonous siding with Putin, who denied interfering. Thus, the president betrayed our intelligence agencies, all of which said they had determined the interference was incontrovertible. Special counsel Robert Mueller echoed them.

  2. He is in gross violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits federal officeholders from receiving any gift, payment, or other thing of value from a foreign state or its officials. Throughout his presidency, he has profited from foreign officials staying at his properties, and from Republican fund-raisers and functions of various federal agencies – in general, from intertwining his business dealings with governance.

  3. Trump granted security clearances for federal positions to his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner in violation of the nepotism law, overruling security experts.

  4. The president has renounced important scientific advances, probably the most important being his denial of man-caused environmental damage and his related withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. Recently, he announced the relocation of two U.S. Department of Agriculture research agencies from Washington to the Kansas City area, causing an exodus of scientists as less than two-thirds of them agreed to move. The Union of Concerned Scientists said, “This is a blatant attack on science … .”

  5. Recent reports indicate his administration is sharply cutting programs set up after the 9/11 attacks to monitor terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction. These will require a lot of time to reinstate. “He’s eviscerating the government,” said Richard Clarke, former White House counterterrorism czar. “And it will take years to undo the damage.”

  6. Trump has done nothing to discipline administration officials who have violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits most executive branch employees from engaging in some forms of political activity. A government ethics officer found that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was a repeat offender, and should be fired. Trump hasn’t punished her.

  7. He has continually undermined the press, without which our democracy could not survive (Thomas Jefferson said he’d prefer the press over government if forced to choose), publicly labeling honest, accurate reporting as “fake news.”

  8. Trump has resorted to extortion, saying he will “fight all the subpoenas” by Congress and won’t work on legislative priorities until investigations of his administration stop.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, the eminent scholar and author, wrote: “Every child in America is supposed to learn about the Constitution’s basic principles of separation of powers, and checks and balances. But these days, every child in America is learning from Donald Trump that these principles are bunk … The core purpose of the Constitution is to prevent tyranny. That’s why its Framers distributed power between the president, Congress and the judiciary. That’s why each of the three branches was designed to limit the powers of the other two.” Impeachment, Reich said, “may not be the political thing to do. But in order to safeguard our democracy, it is the right thing to do.”

Shining the spotlight on the danger to our democracy from Trump’s multiple violations of the law, dereliction of presidential duties, and actions jeopardizing our security should galvanize the American people to support action preventing the recurrence of such a menace through removal of the traitor from office. Very few have read, or even listened much to commentary on, the long, detailed report Mueller compiled. Hearing him testify likely has splashed cold water on the faces of at least some citizens. And compelled testimony by others will convince even more people.

Some important witnesses were not examined by Mueller, and a lot of unresolved indications of misconduct tied to Trump need investigation. Most, if not all, of those witnesses, plus some questioned by Mueller, are not testifying to Congress voluntarily, and subpoenas must be issued. But court action to enforce them when they are not obeyed occurs over long periods of time, and the election process would be upon us before impeachment could be undertaken.

Impeachment, however, conveys on Congress heightened power to demand that subpoenas be obeyed, and the gravity of such an initiative prompts the courts to act with greater speed and urgency. As these witnesses testify publicly to Trump’s misconduct, the public will realize the importance of removing him from office, providing greater cover to House members who fear a backlash. It is what happened in the case of President Richard Nixon, in which impeachment favorability in the polls climbed dramatically as people became more aware of the extent of his crimes. There is no reason that the same wouldn’t happen with Trump.

Defining the high crimes and misdemeanors stipulated in the Constitution as cause for impeachment is nebulous, and subject to interpretation. Cass R. Sunstein, a Harvard Law School colleague of Tribe, has authored a book on the subject titled impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide. He said recently that impeachable offenses fall under the rubric of “egregious misuse of authority.” The president can be impeached for abuses of power that do not violate the law, Sunstein said.

A January 1867 article in The Atlantic magazine, written during impeachment discussions concerning President Andrew Johnson, said: “To the word ‘misdemeanor,’ indeed, is naturally attached a yet broader signification, which would embrace personal character and behavior as well as the proprieties of official conduct. Nor was, nor is, there any just reason why it should be restricted in this direction; for, in establishing a permanent national government, to insure purity and dignity, to secure the confidence of its own people and command the respect of foreign powers, it is not unfit that civil officers, and most especially the highest of all, the head of the people, should be answerable for personal demeanor.”


In the history of the United States, three presidents have faced impeachment, the third, Richard Nixon, resigning as the House readied for the process. The others were Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. None of these, not even Nixon, exhibited the criminal behavior, character deficiencies, moral turpitude, incompetence or general lack of fitness for the office of the presidency on a level anywhere near that displayed by Donald Trump. Clinton was impeached for lying about having consensual sex with an adult. If Barack Obama had been charged with any one of the endless offenses that Trump has been guilty of, he’d have been impeached, convicted and thrown out of office with dispatch.

President Trump cannot be allowed to continue tearing down this country, creating havoc around the world, and bringing disgrace to the presidency. Some of the examples of misconduct we have cited may not meet the constitutional standard for impeachment, but they are nonetheless serious offenses, and bolster the necessity of using those that do fall within that ill-defined standard as grounds to impeach.

We adjure you to summon the courage for fulfilling your duty to the Constitution, to your country, and to the citizens who elected you to office. The bully must be challenged head-on.

Declare your support for the impeachment of President Donald Trump without further delay.

#VladimirPutin #RichardNixon #BarackObama #CassRSunstein #IlhanOmar #CoreyLewandowski #JeffSessions #KimJongun #Ivanka #NancyPelosi #KellyanneConway #DonaldTrump #LaurenceTribe #Muellerreport #PresidentAndrewJohnson #DonMcGahn #RobertReich #DavidCayJohnston #impeachment #ThomasJefferson #RichardClarke #JaredKushner #MichaelCohen #TheAtlantic #PaulManafort #highcrimesandmisdemeanors #BillClinton #AdolfHitler

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