By Michael Willard
Should the US President have the power to debase America’s historic values? In this regard, the focus of impeachment hearings, while important, represents merely a flea on a tick on a big shaggy dog.
In other words, bribing a foreign country to interfere in an American election is damnable, but in the pantheon of assaults on American ideals, it’s merely the exposure of undergarments — not the Full Monty.
But, of course and without a doubt, it is impeachable, though it’s just the first layer of skin on a really rotten onion.
A President has tremendous powers, though held in check by the US Supreme Court and Congress (such as the War Powers Act); but, for the most part, Donald Trump has had a green light highway.
This is particularly true if a president — such as Trump — chooses to lie and play rope-a-dope with decisions that in normal times with a normal chief executive would be stratospherically out of bounds.
Noting that Trump does not have to commit high crimes or misdemeanors to meet the impeachment threshold, a reasonable person could conclude the President leaped over that bar long ago.
For example, did Trump have the right to pull troops out of Syria after a phone call with Turkey strong man Recep Tayyip Erdoğan? Did he have the right to betray America’s allies fighting ISIS, the Kurds?
In my view, this represented a tarnishing of America’s image. It is reverberating from sea-to-sea, mainly with our allies; but also — in a gleeful way — with those who are our enemies, Russia and the butcher of Syria, Bashar al-Assad.
Was this impeachable?
It should be. Besides, impeachment is more a political equation than a criminal one. In historical context, one President was acquitted, one resigned prior to impeachment and the verdict is out on Trump.
What transpired in Syria will be a blood stain on our once noble character for the foreseeable future. But, in a Democracy, shouldn’t such acts wait for the next election and let the people judge?
This would certainly be preferable.
However, when an arsonist is burning down your house, you don’t take the time to check your mail, mow the grass and do another load of laundry. You stop the arsonist.
Could we impeach Trump for pulling America out of the global Paris Climate Agreement signed by nearly 200 countries around the world, thereby tying our future to a handful of neanderthals.
Probably not, but we see the result of that arsonist’s foolishness daily as fires rage and ice cap melt, Only an ignoramus would disagree with 99 per cent of the scientists who say the planet is facing doom.
What about Trump’s thumbing his nose at the Iran nuclear deal, leaving the permanent members of the UN Security Council — in this case including China and Russia — high, dry and bewildered.
Impeachable? Probably not, unless one were to consider obsession, envy and jealousy of all President Obama’s accomplishments a crime. What about putting children in cages?
It’s doubtful one can be impeached for the myriad of affronts, both verbal and visual, that Trump commits almost hourly. The same holds true for his thousands of documented lies and his bigotry.
Actions and words, which have ended political careers in the past, bounce off Trump like tossed marshmallows. After all, he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still have the support of his base.
Also, left on the table, is Robert Mueller’s lengthy investigation and report. The special prosecutor didn’t billboard impeachable offenses, he merely indicated they were there.
In essence, Mueller said he had done his job, and now it was up to Congress to act.
Being a global embarrassment is probably of insufficient weight to be impeachable, though Trump does pile one sad outrage on another like putting logs on an already roaring fire.
When you add all this up — and there will be a day of reckoning — you can call it Trump’s version of the Full Monty or whatever. I know one thing, the emperor wears not a stitch of clothes.