Nancy Pelosi doesn’t seem to think Donald Trump should be impeached. And the issue is a sticky one at best. Last week, the House minority leader told reporters that Trump had not yet committed any impeachable offenses, although she called his actions incoherent and reckless. Pelosi’s statement was in response to fellow Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ statement that it was her “greatest desire” to lead Trump to his own impeachment.
“I’m not here to talk about impeachment today. Any of the things that the congresswoman said are grounds for displeasure and unease in the public about the performance of this president, who has acted in a way that is strategically incoherent, that is incompetent, that is reckless. That is not grounds for impeachment … When and if he breaks the law, that is when something like that would come up.”
But that was last week. Since then, much has changed given the furor over National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s resignation over intercepted phone calls to Russian officials. Pelosi still has not made noise about a possible Trump impeachment.
Bush Impeachment “Off the Table”
It is reminiscent of the time 10 years ago, when Democrats had a majority in the House of Representatives, and she declared a Bush impeachment was “off the table,” angering Democrats across the country who felt Bush’s actions had endangered Americans, violated civil rights, and put himself and his administration above the law.
The November 8, 2006, issue of the New York Times reported that Pelosi was adamant about not wanting to impeach President George W. Bush, reasoning that Democrats were “not about getting even” with Republicans.
“Democrats pledge civility and bipartisanship in the conduct of the work here and we pledge partnerships with Congress and the Republicans in Congress, and the president, not partisanship.”
Ten months prior to Pelosi’s statement against a Bush impeachment, former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, who served on the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate, penned a very different opinion in The Nation magazine. She noted the president’s various misdeeds, particularly about his administration’s deliberate misuse of information to lead the country into war in Iraq. She also took issue with Bush’s policy of illegally wiretapping Americans in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
“A President, any President, who maintains that he is above the law — and repeatedly violates the law — thereby commits high crimes and misdemeanors, the constitutional standard for impeachment and removal from office. A high crime or misdemeanor is an archaic term that means a serious abuse of power, whether or not it is also a crime, that endangers our constitutional system of government.”
Despite this, Pelosi refused to consider impeachment. The difference between now and then is that Pelosi has left the door open for a Trump impeachment down the road, whereas with Bush, she closed that door, secured the lock, the padlock, and the chain. And she probably had a good reason for making sure Bush was never impeached. After all, if he had been removed from office, the country would have been left with Dick Cheney as president, a man some Americans believed was the actual mastermind behind many of G.W. Bush’s actions.
Deep State Meddling Threatens Democracy
But what if Pelosi eventually advocates for impeachment proceedings against President Trump? Members of the progressive left — Berniecrats and Greens — along with Trump supporters have all pointed out that the intelligence community’s proof of Trump’s ties to Russia are all anonymous sources. A recent op-ed in The Week discusses why the deep state’s takedown of Michael Flynn is worrisome.
“In a liberal democracy, how things happen is often as important as what happens. Procedures matter. So do rules and public accountability. The chaotic, dysfunctional Trump White House is placing the entire system under enormous strain. That’s bad. But the answer isn’t to counter it with equally irregular acts of sabotage — or with a disinformation campaign waged by nameless civil servants toiling away in the surveillance state.”
He then notes that those “cheering the deep state” for forcing Flynn’s resignation are essentially approving a police state form of government, even if the results are pleasing.
Perhaps the most troubling part of the deep state’s actions against Flynn are that it could make impeachment more difficult should Trump commit actual high crimes and misdemeanors, if he has not committed them already. Even former congressional candidate Tim Canova questioned the intelligence community’s sources in a recent tweet regarding the New York Times piece on Trump campaign aides’ “repeated contact” with Russian intelligence.
“NYTimes based on unnamed U.S. intel sources that Trumpers spoke with Russians who no one knows for sure were intel?”
Are Trump’s Actions Themselves Impeachable Offenses?
Unlike President Obama and just about every president before him, President Trump seems to enjoy making his duties public, and this was seen when civilians took photos of him reviewing security briefings surrounded by a crowd of people, in an unsecured location at his Winter White House, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida. Business Insider reports that a member of the exclusive club took photos of Trump as the president was being briefed on North Korea and then posted them to Facebook. The photos included a picture of a man who carries the emergency satchel for the president when he is not in the White House’s Situation Room, exposing him unnecessarily.
As previously noted in the Inquisitr, support for impeachment has grown to more than 45 percent among Americans in just three weeks since Trump’s inauguration.
As far as impeachable offenses go, the Chicago Tribune asserts that, contrary to what Pelosi said last week, the President can be impeached even if he has not broken any laws. The Constitution, the article notes, can be removed for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Trump’s refusal to divest himself of his business puts him in a situation where lobbyists and foreign officials can easily bribe him by paying to use Trump hotels, purchasing Trump brands, or allowing the President to profit off of his name in other ways.
“The Constitution allows impeachment of the president for large-scale abuse of the authority of his office, and also for obtaining his office by corrupt means.”
Trump’s temper tantrum on Twitter regarding Nordstrom (among other retail outlets) dropping daughter Ivanka’s brand, along with Kellyanne Conway urging Americans to buy Ivanka Trump products on national TV, could be seen as the president violating the Constitution by seeking to profit off of the presidency.
When Counselor to the President Stephen Miller announced that President Trump’s authority should not be questioned concerning his travel ban that affected Muslims, that could easily be taken as a potential for abusing his authority and acting in a dictatorial manner, an offense that could spur impeachment proceedings.
Already, gambling houses around the world are betting Trump will either be impeached or resign. And Allan Lichtman, distinguished professor of history at American University who has accurately predicted the winner of nearly every presidential race since 1984, appeared on CBS News and predicted a Trump impeachment just days after the election.
The theory is that Republicans will use Trump to advance their own agenda, discard him, and then install Mike Pence as president after impeachment proceedings. However, if the intelligence community continues to meddle with Trump’s presidency, impeachment proceedings could be marred by doubt and suspicion, making legitimate claims of high crimes and misdemeanors all the more difficult to stick.
[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]