Should Donald J. Trump be impeached: Should Donald J. Trump be impeached and removed from office?
We were surprised by the extent to which we agreed with Fred Hiatt's column about this question in Monday's Washington Post.
We tend to default to the idea that our system runs on elections, not on impeachments—and to the idea that this basic presumption should stand. Hiatt was in the same ballpark that day. We tended to agree with the bulk of what he said:
HIATT (6/3/19): [T]here remains a principled case against a rush to impeach.We were surprised to see someone giving voice to a fundamental principle. Donald J. Trump was elected by 63 million American citizens. We weren't numbered among them, but a very serious offense should be required before members of Congress step in to reverse the decision they made.
The strongest argument for impeachment may be that Trump is unfit for office. He lies; he divides; he flouts constitutional norms, embraces dictators and spews hateful rhetoric. He is ignorant and impetuous, temperamentally and philosophically unfit.
All true. In fact, our editorial board said as much when he was nominated in 2016. “Uniquely unqualified to serve as president,” we wrote. “A Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and the world.”
I think we’ve been proved right. But that is precisely the point: We thought his unfitness was evident before he was elected, and Americans chose him anyway. (No, he didn’t win the popular vote. But he won.) He is endangering the future of the planet—but we knew he was a climate denier. He ripped children from their parents at the border—but his racism and anti-immigrant animus, like his contempt for the Constitution, were no secrets.
To impeach him now for what the electorate welcomed or was willing to overlook isn’t the democratic response. The right response is to defeat him in 2020.
We were surprised to see Hiatt give voice to this basic principle. Respect for Others is virtually non-existent in our current political culture. For what it's worth, Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves (TM), a despondent group of scholars who report to us from the years which follow Mister Trump's Disordered War, have told us that our floundering species was always hard-wired to behave this way toward those from other tribes.
At any rate, impeachment does exist within our constitutional framework. Has Donald J. Trump engaged in conduct serious enough to justify impeachment and removal from office?
We'll have to say that we find the case underwhelming, especially so with Mueller the God slipping and sliding about. The children are jumping up and down on Deadline: White House and other "cable news" programs. But we've moved from finding them unconvincing to finding them disgusting, offensive, insulting, baldly demagogic and not quite recognizably human.
To us, Nicolle Wallace's "favorite reporters and friends" are basically performing a "cable news" version of Groundhog Day. Every day, rain or shine, these favorites are shocked, just shocked, all over again, by whatever Trump has said or done in the preceding ten minutes.
They're performing a corporate stage show; business has been good. But as we watch them go around "the table" performing their state of daily shock, we think of what Nestor, the seasoned charioteer, said to the headstrong young Diomedes near where the breakers crash and drag, when western culture was young:
THE ILIAD (Book IX): All the Achaeans shouted their assent,We think Professor Fagles' translation gets it just about right. And as with Nestor, who always gave the best advice, we'd have to say so too now.
stirred by the stallion-breaking Diomedes' challenge.
But Nestor the old driver rose and spoke at once.
“Few can match your power in battle, Diomedes,
and in council you excel all men your age
But you don't press on and reach a useful end."
As in her earlier days, when she labored in support of torture, war, gay-baiting and death, Wallace remains an unbelievably eager stampeder of rubes. But in our view, she and her favorites never press on toward "a useful end:"
They never discuss a basic question Wallace asked, then instantly dropped, on Wednesday's program—is it possible that Donald J. Trump is mentally ill or cognitively impaired? (Transcript tomorrow.)
It never enters their tiny small heads to ponder another basic question—how might they, and others like them, persuade Trump supporters to rethink their stance?
Meanwhile, MSNBC's treatment of Trump's alleged crimes increasingly stands as an open insult to the channel's viewers. On last evening's Eleventh Hour, we saw what seemed to be one of the worst such discussions we have ever seen.
It seemed to us that Brian Williams and Mimi Rocah were extremely bad. In support of the groupthink they had established, it seem to us Gene Robinson was just disgracefully faux.
We're going to watch the tape again and discuss the segment tomorrow. But it had been a fairly long time since we'd wondered if the people we see on cable news might really be some sort of alien life-form. Brian, Mimi and Gene seemed so fraudulent last night that we found ourselves wondering again.
David Brooks makes a basic mistake today. This is what he says:
BROOKS (6/7/19): I don’t know about you, but I walk into this next chapter of American life with a sense of hopefulness and yet great fear. America needs to have a moment of racial reconciliation. History has thrown this task upon us."Nobody wanted it, but it came?" Plenty of people wanted that war, some for defensible reasons.
But we Americans are not at our best when we launch off on holy wars. Once you start assigning guilt to groups, rather than to individuals, bad, illiberal things are likely to happen. There’s a lot of over-generalized group accusation in both these narratives.
I’m haunted by that sentence in Lincoln’s second inaugural: “And the war came.” Nobody wanted it, but it came.
Others wanted it because of the way our brains have been wired reaching back into prehistory. Such people are crawling all over cable, some with the blood of the children of Iraq visible on their sleeves.
You see remarkable people on cable these days. "This is all we ever were," several future experts have told us.
Tomorrow: Wallace asks what's wrong with Trump. Gene agrees to agree.
"but a very serious offense should be required before members of Congress step in to reverse the decision they made."ReplyDelete
Somerby concludes that the offense is not sufficiently serious to warrant impeachment. He blames the cable news presentation of Mueller's report. There is no indication Somerby has read any of the Mueller Report himself, not even the summaries.
He also ignores the fact that Trump was not elected by a plurality of the people. Clinton got millions more votes than Trump. He also ignores the manipulation of our electoral process, described in the Mueller Report, by Russian interference. And he ignores Comey's malfeasance. All of these undermine the presumption that Trump was elected by the will of the people.
Then there is the matter of Trump's many illegal acts while in office. The public cannot be said to have elected him with the expectation that he would behave like a criminal in office. How else would our nation address wrongdoing by an elected official in office, if not by impeachment? The provision to impeach is there because the voters cannot be expected to have predicted everything a president might do once elected. So Hiatt's claim that election is the only remedy is incorrect, especially in the case of someone like Trump, who has no respect for the Constition, the office, the people or anything beyond his own self-interest. Voters surely expected that he would behave like a president, albeit an unconventional one. He has not even done that.
But look beyond Somerby's specious arguments to the fact that he is agreeing with a conservative journalist (who graduated from Harvard, but never mind that). It is beyond time for Somerby to come out as a Republican and stop pretending that he is liberal.
There is no indication Somerby has read any of the Mueller Report himself, not even the summaries.Delete
You should read this blog more often to have a better sense of how Somerby approaches topics. That said, what is it with the anonymi on this board? They are always arguing private citizens, who do not have a gig on MSNBC, are never educated enough, let alone informed enough, to have an opinion that needs to be considered on its merits.
The U.S. Constitution does not provide for the president to be elected by popular vote, not by majority vote, not by a plurality. 1:15 PM can't even get that straight.
As for 1:15 PM's cry of "Russia, Russia, Russia, Rachel Maddow told me so" what those two are really saying is that they may be sweet but black people are really dumbbells who shouldn't be allowed to surf the internet without white supervision:
Black voter turnout fell in 2016, even as a record number of Americans cast ballots
The black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election, falling to 59.6% in 2016 after reaching a record-high 66.6% in 2012. The 7-percentage-point decline from the previous presidential election is the largest on record for blacks. (It’s also the largest percentage-point decline among any racial or ethnic group since white voter turnout dropped from 70.2% in 1992 to 60.7% in 1996.)
The number of black voters also declined, falling by about 765,000 to 16.4 million in 2016, representing a sharp reversal from 2012. With Barack Obama on the ballot that year, the black voter turnout rate surpassed that of whites for the first time. Among whites, the 65.3% turnout rate in 2016 represented a slight increase from 64.1% in 2012.
Census shows pervasive decline in 2016 minority voter turnout
Racial minorities, especially black Americans, played a pivotal role in Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential wins. Now, newly released Census Bureau data confirm what many have anticipated: that both minority and black voter turnout took a decided downturn in last November’s elections— helping to compound the impact of the lower than 2012 vote margins that Democrat Hillary Clinton received in her loss to Donald Trump. Minority and black turnout was not only lower in the national statistics but also in key swing states....
In Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and especially Wisconsin, a 2012 black turnout advantage either reversed or was eliminated in 2016 due to declines in black turnout and, in most cases, a rise in the turnout of white Americans. In Michigan and Florida, the 2012 white turnout advantage increased. In Florida, Hispanic as well as black turnout declined markedly as white turnout rose.
In fact, each of these states except Pennsylvania (where Hispanic and Asian turnout rose), registered declines in their overall minority voter turnout in 2016 compared with the previous election—a pattern which occurred in 33 states.
These new Census numbers show that the strong minority and black voter turnout that made a difference in electing Barack Obama in both previous elections diminished in 2016....
Speaking of not considering an opinion on its merits, nowhere does 1:15 mention Rachel Maddow. It is possible for a person to come to the conclusion that Russia interfered by, oh, who knows, reading the Mueller report. Nor is 1:15, or indeed anyone, claiming that Somerby’s opinion doesn’t count because he isn’t on MSNBC. That is your way of dismissing an argument, and it is beyond lame; it is disrespectful and ridiculous.
Your long excerpt showing what everyone already knows, about black turnout, is there for what reason? It does not refute 1:15’s arguments about Russia or Comey, nor does your snark about the electoral college address the valid concern that in an election with such a large popular vote loss and extremely narrow electoral college win for the winning candidate that other factors, including possible corruption by the winner, can deny a win to the other candidate.
Ultimately, the topic of the post was impeachment, and 1:15 offers valid reasons why Trump could or should be impeached. You don’t have to agree with those, but you should at least address them honestly.
And by the way, do you realize how unhinged you look when you bring up Rachel Maddow apropos of nothing?
This comment has been removed by the author.Delete
Not 1:15 writes with all the integrity Not 1:15 usually brings to a thread:Delete
It is possible for a person to come to the conclusion that Russia interfered by, oh, who knows, reading the Mueller report.... And by the way, do you realize how unhinged you look when you bring up Rachel Maddow apropos of nothing?
1:15 PM had written:
[Somerby] also ignores the manipulation of our electoral process, described in the Mueller Report, by Russian interference.
Not 1:15 would have us believe 1:15 PM has been whining about "Russian interference" without missing a beat for two years because 1:15 PM just found out about those claims after the redacted version of Mueller report was released on April 18, 2019.
It's possible Not 1:15 is a bit slow -in which case I've been unkind-, but I don't think that's what's going on here.
I first heard about the Russian interference before the election when (1) Clinton's campaign was talking about it, and (2) the Steele Report was being discussed on Cannonfire (Joseph Cannon's blog). I then heard that Steele went to the FBI because he had previously alerted people to the Russian meddling and no one seemed to be doing anything about it. That was all before the election. Then, I have been closely following everything that has been reported about Mueller's investigation since then, please misc reports of things like polling data being turned over to Russians in FL, voting machines being hacked in WI and so on. The info has been there all along, for those paying attention.Delete
1:15 you quoted Somerby saying:Delete
[Donald J. Trump was elected by 63 million American citizens. We weren't numbered among them,] but a very serious offense should be required before members of Congress step in to reverse the decision they made.
At some point after that you say:
[Somerby] also ignores the fact that Trump was not elected by a plurality of the people. Clinton got millions more votes than Trump. He also ignores the manipulation of our electoral process, described in the Mueller Report, by Russian interference. And he ignores Comey's malfeasance. All of these undermine the presumption that Trump was elected by the will of the people.
Next you say:
Then there is the matter of Trump's many illegal acts while in office. The public cannot be said to have elected him with the expectation that he would behave like a criminal in office. How else would our nation address wrongdoing by an elected official in office, if not by impeachment? The provision to impeach is there because the voters cannot be expected to have predicted everything a president might do once elected.
So which is it, should Trump be subject to impeachment proceedings because he did not win the 2016 election fair and square or he should be subject to impeachment proceedings because of what he's done while in office or should Trump face impeachment both for how he came to be elected and for what he's done in office taken together or for his actions pre- and post-election each taken alone?
I think any Russian interference was utterly inconsequential in determining the 2016 election outcome and it's absurd to claim otherwise. Yet the corporate media as taken a leading role in rallying Resisters, Hillary campaign apologists, and corporate Democrats around that excuse for Democratic failure and that view has led to couple of years worth of reckless charges of treason or control by Putin directed in the blogosphere at those in the Democratic wing of the Democratic party and those leftist citizens who have come to reject the Democratic Party (and, for that matter, against political advocates on the right).
CMike, no one is reading all the shit you post, it's all just garbage you're throwing up. You love that Russia interfered in our elections because it got you the guy you wanted, the worst person in the world. Seriously, Trump is a horrible, horrible person who's been accused of rape, a serial adulterer and cheat and shit businessman who screwed thousands of people after he exploited them. You love him, and you are happy Russia interfered in our election, because you suck and hate our country. Go F yourself, CMike, you're a shit Moscow troll. Eat shit. Somerby's a troll too. Senile old piece of shit.Delete
CMike, the percentage of black voters did drop in 2016, but actually matched the highest percentage of black voters excluding an Obama election. 2008 and 2012 were anomalies concerning black voters, perhaps the elevated numbers were due to Obama, the first black president, who knows, at any rate, 2016 continued the trend of increasing black voter percentage that had been going on for many election cycles.Delete
Most of Somerby's defenders struggle to make any meaningful points. Somerby, on occasion, uses quotes and information without context, thereby misleading - his defenders, while often adept at reiterating his posts, have picked up the same habit.
So, calling for impeachment is akin to calling for war? Is that a threat, Somerby?ReplyDelete
“To impeach him now for what the electorate welcomed or was willing to overlook isn’t the democratic response.”ReplyDelete
Hiatt makes this point; presumably Somerby agrees with it. The problem is, most if not all of what is in the Mueller report was not known to voters in 2016. The Russian interference and collusion were largely unknown. Indeed, The NY Times ran a story in October of 2016 titled “Investigating Donald Trump, FBI sees no clear link to Russia.” Trump’s (alleged) obstruction occurred *after* Trump took office. Any impeachable office that a president does after he takes office cannot by definition have been known during the campaign. This is a weak argument that Hiatt makes.
The only substantive objection that Somerby adds is his belief that the Mueller report doesn’t show crimes or impeachable offenses. Fair enough. Many people, including members of Congress and hundreds of lawyers and prosecutors, have come to the opposite conclusion.
As to Somerby’s objections about Mueller’s “slipping and sliding”, or the behavior of TV hosts, or “respecting the Others”, these considerations, while they may impact the politics of impeachment, don’t address the fundamental question of Trump’s guilt.
“Once you start assigning guilt to groups, rather than to individuals, bad, illiberal things are likely to happen.”ReplyDelete
No doubt David Brooks has never engaged in such assignations. He is, after all, the “moderate voice of reason” at the NY Times. He would surely never disguise anything about himself, such as his conservative Republicanism, or how his pleas for “moderation” and “can’t we all get along” hokum are just veiled attacks on liberals.
What people don't understand is that we can do both. If a President violates the Constitution it doesn't matter how many morons voted for him. In 1972 Nixon killed McGovern, but it did not stop a responsible Congress from beginning an impeachment inquiry. We can do that AND campaign against Trump at the same time. The two are not mutually exclusive.ReplyDelete
Here's part of History dot com's timeline for the Watergate scandal LINK:Delete
March 23, 1973
Watergate burglar James McCord’s letter confessing the existence of a wider conspiracy is read in open court by Judge Sirica. The Watergate cover-up starts to unravel.
July 13, 1973
Alexander Butterfield, former presidential appointments secretary, meets with Senate investigators, where he reveals the existence of an extensive, secret taping system in the White House. On July 16, he testifies before the Senate Committee in a live broadcast, revealing that since 1971 Nixon had recorded all conversations and telephone calls in his offices.
July to October 1973
President Nixon refuses to turn over recordings of his White House conversations to the Senate investigation and to Cox. The tapes are believed to include evidence that Nixon and his aides had attempted to cover up their involvement in the Watergate break-in and other illegal activities. Nixon files appeals in response to various subpoenas ordering him to turn over the tapes.
October 20, 1973
Nixon orders the firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox in what becomes known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resign rather than carry out these orders. Solicitor General Robert Bork fires Cox. Several days later, Leon Jaworski is appointed as the second special prosecutor.
November 21, 1973
White House Watergate counsel J. Fred Buzhardt reveals the existence of an 18 ½ minute gap on the tape of Nixon-Haldeman conversation on June 20, 1972. The White House is unable to explain the gap, although Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods, will later claim she accidentally erased the material.
May 9, 1974
House Judiciary Committee starts impeachment proceedings against Nixon.
How is it “Respect for Others” to ignore the crimes of a corrupt president and avoid discussing them? That sounds more like disrespecting The Others, coddling them, shielding them, humoring them, lying to them. Not good in the long run. Why would anyone advocate this?ReplyDelete
And why would the same person advocate telling The Others that their hero is mentally ill? Won’t that upset them too? And yet, if it’s the truth, then it should be told. Just as his crimes should be.
Melania should go on TV and tell them.Delete
None of that is true. Well, in a TDS-diseased zombie mind anything can be true, I suppose...
"Should Donald J. Trump be impeached and removed from office?"
Dream on, dembots. There's just as much sense in these musings as in arguing about the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin.
If your zombie-cult high priests could remove Donald The Spectacular, they would've done it already, whether you like it or not.
Trump’s mental illness was clear during the campaign, and yet *they still voted for him.*ReplyDelete
Mental illness is not grounds for impeachment. No one seems to be aware that the House is currently holding a hearing on mental illness of the president and Article 25.Delete
I agree with TDH - if the desire is that Trump be removed as president (which desire I share), the way to effect that will be thru the next election. But, where I do disagree is where TDH keeps flogging this idea that Trump might be "mentally Ill" or "cognitively impaired." What does TDH think, that Trump has an insanity defense to impeachment? I'm no shrink, but it seems clear that Trump is quite shrewd. If believing irrational things meant you were mentally ill or cognitively impaired, then the billions who irrationally adhere to religious faiths should all be deemed mentally ill or cognitively impaired. Mentally ill people, like schizophrenics, can't function. Trump functions pretty well, it's quite a feat to be elected president. I suppose in a sense most of us have, to more or less of a degree, some type of neurotic hang-up (if I didn't have one- or more- I wouldn't be wasting my time typing this). But just because you don't agree with someone, doesn't make them mentally ill.ReplyDelete
AC/MA makes a good case. After all of Somerby's years studying the news media it's hard to believe this is where he thinks they're going wrong, this the "if only" Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves (TM) will be pondering:Delete
...[Nicole] Wallace remains an unbelievably eager stampeder of rubes. But in our view, she and her favorites never press on toward "a useful end:"
They never discuss a basic question Wallace asked, then instantly dropped, on Wednesday's program—is it possible that Donald J. Trump is mentally ill or cognitively impaired?
As a media critic, Somerby might want to consider the agenda that someone like Hiatt has in offering “advice” to Democrats. But Somerby doesn’t play that way these days.ReplyDelete
I have some sympathy for the idea that if people knew what they were getting then Impeachment might be unwarranted. But we didn't know much of what Mueller found out. For example, we had no idea the extent to which his campaign had contact with Russians. We had no idea that he would obstruct an investigation into his Russian connections. Also his violation of the enoulments clause occurred after he was elected and inagurated.ReplyDelete
I see Somerby's actions surrounding this point as highly sexist and hostile toward women. It is certainly his blog and he can write what he wants, but he should know how he looks to the women who are working to change things for the better in the workplace. If I were someone like Somerby, I wouldn't want to be that guy. But he isn't writing for me.ReplyDelete
The Republicans are arguing that impeachment is a way of undoing the election, a coup against a legally elected president. This is not the Democratic understanding of it. Democrats consider impeachment to be oversight by Congress and trial of a president who has violated his oath of office and committed high crimes and misdemeanors. It is a way of holding the president accountable to the people for doing a good job once elected. Democrats believe Trump has committed such crimes. Republicans are being told that Democrats are just being vindictive and that Trump is an effective president doing a good job. This is the problem that emerges from Fox News and its propaganda efforts coupled with a base that doesn't seem to care what Trump does wrong.ReplyDelete
Somerby and Hiatt both echo the Republican talking point that impeachment is undoing the will of the people.
I've said this before, but what is a supposed liberal like Somerby doing propagating the talking points of conservatives? Liberals don't agree with Hiatt, just as the liberals in comments here are not agreeing with him. But Somerby keeps pretending to be a liberal while spouting Republican talking points. That is dishonest and more of that good old propaganda and fake news that Fox generates, Russians are spreading all over the web, and no one would expect the old Somerby to engage in. Why now? What happened to him.
My current theory is that Somerby is being held in his own basement while Russians are using his passwords and keyboard to put forth this crap under his once-honored name. Yet another crime in progress that conservatives and trolls don't recognize.
Most of us use the word "impeach" to mean "remove from office via impeachment." Even if the Democrats in the House impeach Trump, there's no chance that the Senate would vote to remove him. So, impeachment would effectively be a symbolic action.ReplyDelete
That's what happened to Clinton. I, along with many others, were happy to see Clinton impeached but not removed. We wanted him to remain as President, but the symbolic impeachment was a good way to reflect that he had behaved badly as President.
IMHO, for all his many flaws, Trump has not behaved badly as President. I know that many Trump-haters think he committed numerous crimes, but none of these is actually established. I hope the House doesn't impeach Trump. He would remain in office, of course, but it would cheapen the meaning of symbolic impeachment.
"I know that many Trump-haters think he committed numerous crimes, but none of these is actually established."Delete
The Central Park Five, OTOH, were guilty of the crime of being black in the United States. No wonder Trump wanted them executed..
David in Cal, the Mueller report details ten times Trump committed the crime of obstruction of justice. There are other crimes detailed as well in the report. This you know.Delete
In light of how damaging the report is, Congress has a duty to impeach Trump, and in fact, they likely will. This you fear.
Even with impeachment, even with electing progressives in Congress and as president, I can assure you, your life will continue just as comfortably as ever, and you will probably enjoy the rewards of progressive policies, even if it is begrudgingly.
Now if you can't sleep at night because Trump is overseeing the horrific deaths of thousands, in places like Yemen, buddy I can offer no solace.
David in Cal is this commentariat's Village Idiot, intellectually and morally. All he "knows" is the right-wing propaganda that he repeats here. If his life is close to what he portrays -- white male professional married to a professional, then of course he will continue to sail comfortably through that life. But he will attribute his ease entirely to his own enterprise.
Although I doubt he loses a moment's sleep over the deaths of Yemeni's at the hands of our allies the Saudis, I doubt many do. I don't. It's the nature of mechanized warfare in faraway places.
there is no such thing as a rush to impeachment.ReplyDelete
bob and hyatt are full of shit.
impeachment is a process
a long process with a through investigation prior to any election to impeach.
the process is open and televised and all the witnesess who testified for muller are required to elaborate.
this gives the public the opportunity to finally hear for themselves what happened.
then and only then can you gage what the public is thinking.
up until now almost no one has read muller's report. hopefully a televised investigation would force a majority of the public to see just how much trump is abusing the office and enriching himself and understand the crimes he has committed.
after all at this stage of watergate only 17% of the public wanted imoeachment.
however after the investigation and before any vote the public was behind impeachment by over 70%.
I'm making squid wad quesadillas.ReplyDelete
Somerby is very cool with kids being ripped from their families and being put in cages at our border. He sees bothing wrong with mass dehumanization and the state inflicting cruelty upon kids. Bob Somerby likes this sadism. "not quite recognizably human" describes Somerby's endless defense of the shitty and indefensible.ReplyDelete
He will never stop defending his beloved Trump and anything he does, because he hates liberals more. It's a sickness.
Could you give me a quote from any TDH blog entry expressing support for Trump's family separation policy?