Despite the lack of a home run in the Mueller report and the seeming absolution of the President, his impeachment should be our primary focus.
Trying to distill a 448-page report down to the point where it can be encompassed in one post is a mug’s game. I’m not even going to attempt it. Instead, I’m going to point to one thing—a single line on page 213 of the Mueller report. This is part of Mueller’s explanation why he’d decided neither to accuse Comrade Trump of obstruction of justice nor to exonerate him. Here’s the line:
“… we recognized that a federal criminal accusation against a sitting President would place burdens on the President’s capacity to govern and potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct.”
It’s that last bit I want to draw attention to. That potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct bit. In effect, Mueller is saying he and his team decided not to accuse Trump of a crime in part because it might bugger up another process designed for dealing with him. And what constitutional process exists for addressing presidential misconduct?
That’s right. Impeachment.
I actually mentioned this as a possibility last month (yeah, this is me showing off now). The Principles of Federal Prosecution manual includes a section describing conditions for declining prosecution—one of which is if “there exists an adequate non-criminal alternative to prosecution.” And when the accused is the President, that non-criminal alternative is … that’s right again: impeachment.
It’s important to remember that impeachment is a process, not a result. Congress has filed articles of impeachment against two Presidents in recent history: Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Nixon resigned before any impeachment hearings could be held; Clinton was impeached in the House but acquitted by the Senate.
In both cases, however, the articles of impeachment had some common elements. Here’s one of Nixon’s:
“In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice.”
And one of Clinton’s:
“In his conduct while President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice.”
Change the names and the text is exactly the same. In each case, the President is accused of preventing, obstructing, and impeding the administration of justice in violation of their constitutional oath of office. It’s important to remember that neither Nixon nor Clinton was actually charged with the crime of obstruction of justice. The credible accusation of obstruction based on evidence was, in itself, a reason for the impeachment process to begin.
I think you can see where this is going. It’s my opinion that the Mueller report is basically a solid, well-crafted, meticulously-researched foundation for the impeachment of Comrade Trump. It’s jammed with credible evidence that Russia deliberately interfered with the 2016 election, that the Trump campaign was eager to cooperate with Russia, that the President and his staff repeatedly lied about their interactions with Russia, that the President publicly and privately undermined the investigation, and that the President actively encouraged (and even ordered) his subordinates to impede the progress of the investigation.
It’s a long document, no mistake. It’s not light summer reading. But all the same, you should consider reading it. This is a historical tipping point.
Comrade Trump swore an oath when he was inaugurated. He promised to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Trump lies a lot. I don’t know if he was lying when he swore that oath; I don’t know what was in his mind or heart. But if you read the Mueller report, it’s clear he hasn’t even tried to preserve, protect, or defend the Constitution.
The dude ought to be impeached.