Too Soon To Talk About Impeachment?
Both Time and Newsweek have recently published editorials arguing for impeachment of Donald Trump based on his violation of the Emoluments clauses of the constitution. Yet it is difficult to find an elected Democrat who has yet uttered the word. Incredibly, Nancy Pelosi has specifically declared that the president had not yet done anything impeachable, not only offering him a clean slate, but effectively undermining others who might have a different opinion.
Why would she say such a thing? Let’s have a look at the evidence.
To be clear, the Foreign Emoluments Clause is not just some archaic law that is still on the books. It is not some technicality. It is The Constitution itself, and it is as relevant as the day it was written. The founders were worried that if a U.S. leader took money from a foreign nation, it would open up that leader to corruption. Yet the largest tenant in Trump Tower is China’s state-run bank. He has office towers in Turkey. Foreign dignitaries are booking stays at his hotels. And he continues, through his ownership stake and his sons, to do business in countries that are hostile the United States.
One may fairly ask, does violation of the Emoluments Clause truly constitute an impeachable offense? Does it rise to the level of impeachment? This is from Newsweek:
…The Governor of Virginia, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention…explained at the Virginia Ratifying Convention: ‘There is another provision against the danger . . . of the president receiving emoluments from foreign powers. If discovered he may be impeached.’
What’s more, the violation in this case is not a mere oversight or slip. It is willful – an open disregard of The Constitution by an American President.
Note also that violating Foreign Emoluments clause does not require a quid pro quo. It does not require actual malfeasance. If you receive payment from a foreign government, you are in violation. Yet in Trump’s case, there is every reason to assume corruption is a likely outcome.
He ran the fraudulent Trump University, and then donated $25,000 to the Florida Attorney General while she was investigating that “University”. He used his foundation to pay for a portrait of himself, and deposited payments directly into his foundation to avoid paying taxes. To cite just a few examples of a great many. Meanwhile, many of the president’s business interests continue to remain shrouded in secrecy – by his own design. This is precisely this sort of activity that the Foreign Emoluments Clause was meant to keep out of the government. We now have a president with both a history of shady dealings and an in explicable fondness for one foreign hostile power, Russia. And this is the president who is openly receiving payments from foreign powers. This is not a technicality! This is precisely what the founders feared in drafting the Foreign Emoluments clause.
Given Donald Trump’s brazen flouting of the Constitution, impeachment is not merely an appropriate subject for discussion, it is imperative. Refusing to discuss it, as the Democrats have, is effectively validating a lawless presidency.
According to the latest PPP poll, our country is evenly spit on the question of impeachment: 46% in favor, and 46% opposed. With a little more education of the public, a little more open discussion, these numbers would likely tilt to be strongly favor of impeachment. And yet, hardly a single Democrat will even mention it as possibility. It is true that the Democrats do not yet have the votes to go forward with a trial. But this is hardly a reason to not discuss it!
For years, the Republicans did not have the votes to repeal Obamacare. Yet they urged it nearly constantly, and brought up repeal votes literally dozens of times. They successfully drove down the popularity of both Obamacare and the Obama presidency itself, and clearly paid no political price whatever for their vehemence. Yet the Democrats have not learned from this, and seem unable to speak with any passion, with any fury.
Is there not a time when fiery outrage is appropriate? Is this not the time?