…and here’s how, as urged by my neighbor Tony Piel, former director and general legal counsel of the World Health Organization:We Democrats may have made a mistake in going for impeachment of Trump in the House of Congress focused on the single issue of violation of US Election Law (which turned into a debate, day after day, over “corruption,” Biden, Burisma and Hunter, which “Trumpists” could distract us with). It was a foregone conclusion, from day one, that Trump would be acquitted by the Republican majority in the Senate.
What we should have done, and could still do, is call for full hearings in the House and go for a motion to censure Trump for his explicit, incontrovertible violation of the U.S. Constitution and U.S. laws of consequence. (Note that House censure motions do not go to the Senate.) These violations include :
(1) Trump violated the constitutional ban on receiving emoluments (things of value ) from foreign governments, agencies, persons or enemies of the U.S. such as Putin’s Russia. (Motivation for taking the emoluments is irrelevant. Trump broke the law.)
(2) Trump violated the U.S .Impoundment Control Act which prohibits the diversion or withholding of funds specifically appropriated by Congress, without the consent of Congress. (Motivation for evading Congress is irrelevant. Trump broke the law.)
(3) Trump repeatedly violated the U.S. Constitutional provision outlawing treasonous conduct “giving aid and comfort to enemies of the U.S.” Note that Trump’s withholding of military assistance to Ukraine was effectively a way of giving military assistance to Putin’s Russia. (Motivation for treasonous behavior is irrelevant. Trump sided with our enemy, Putin’s Russia again and again. Trump broke the law.)
The thing about the above three violations is that they are “high crimes” (not just “misdemeanors,” or misbehavior) by Trump himself. They are incontrovertible. There is no room for debate about the facts or the governing law. Either he did it or he didn’t. The law is perfectly clear. Furthermore, a motion of censure cannot be blocked by Republican “Trumpists” in the Senate.
Other issues can be added, such as sexual abuse, bribery, tax evasion, business and banking fraud, landlordism, money-laundering and related obstruction of justice. We should target Trump’s highest crimes. Don’t get side-tracked by diversion tactics.
For example: Under U.S. Tax Law (U.S. Tax Code Section 6103) Congress has absolute power to demand the Treasury & IRS to reveal to Congress “anyone’s” tax return. “Anyone” means anyone. There is no exception, not even for a U.S. president. Trump is refusing to reveal his tax returns. Is there any factual question here ? Is there any question of what the law is ? None at all. (Again, motivation is no excuse for violating U.S. law.)
Why go for more hearings and censure now, at such late date ?
Answer: To educate the entire American public, who have a right to know the full truth, before the November 2020 elections. Then let the majority of American voters decide the question of removal from office. If we don’t do it, we are saying that a president is above the law, even when he risks U.S. national security. Should we just abandon the Constitution and the law ?