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We Can Impeach Him

Each week, LA Progressive’s editors pick what they regard as a particularly insightful comment from one of our readers, both to draw attention to one particular reader’s thoughts and to encourage more readers to weigh in with their opinions. This week’s pithy "Feedback Friday" response comes from Joe Weinstien, who commented on the article by Matt Johnson, "Why Protest Trump When We Can Impeach Him?.

I like this article because its arguments are clear and it concludes with the semblance of a sufficient clear reason to do what it says – try to impeach and remove Trump. The concluding reason given is:

‘Trump ought to be impeached not because most Americans dislike him but because the Constitution demands it. You can have a constitutional government predicated on rule of law and separation of powers—or you can have an autocracy. But you can’t have both.’

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For the most part, as a recent analysis has pointed out, Trump has simply exploited the powers that past Congresses idiotically put into the hands of the Presidency.

However, the reasoning here, while seemingly clear, is grossly incomplete. That’s because, besides the general reason given, one needs Trump-specific facts to demonstrate the relevance of the reason. The author does not establish or even cite such facts. In fact, contra to the insinuations, President, Trump is de facto NOT an autocrat (at least, not more so than is allowed already by the Constitution) – even if he clearly would love to be. Arguably everything Trump has done is legally within constitutional limits or is at most doubtful (and is therefore being legally challenged) but not blatantly unconstitutional. For the most part, as a recent analysis has pointed out, Trump has simply exploited the powers that past Congresses idiotically put into the hands of the Presidency.

Nonetheless, the Constitution does PERMIT Congress to impeach Trump. That’s precisely on account of the Constitution’s IMPRECISION as to what constitute impeachable ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’. Republicans had no problem trying to impeach Bill Clinton – despite no evidence that his peccadilloes made any difference to the actual public policy which is supposed to be the reason for having government and its offices. All the more: Democrats should be willing to try to impeach Trump because of his shut-down policy, which reveals and implements an dangerously wrong attitude toward how the government is supposed to operate, and what it is supposed to do and not do. Trump dangerously doesn’t distinguish the virtues (and indeed – contra Obama, H Clinton, et al – they CAN be virtues) of playing hardball against the USA’s enemies abroad from the vices of playing the same or more intense hardball against us, the American people, against our economy (tariffs, anyone?), against our environment and natural heritage and climate, and – above all – against the efficient and duly informed function of our government.