There is a wide rash of expert opinions on why Congress should impeach Trump and Pence, but rather than wading through the complexities of emoluments clauses, conflicts of interests, and money trails and Russia, a historical precedent has already been set. Michael Flynn lost his job for lying, and President Clinton was impeached for lying. Congress can and should impeach Trump and Pence for providing demonstrably false claims to the American people regarding matters far more serious than Monica Lewinsky.
Last week, as CNN reports, Trump was suggesting that Susan Rice should be arrested for allegedly committing the felony of unmasking the American citizen who was the subject of FISA wiretaps. Vice President Pence very lightly agreed and politically danced around his wording.
We know now that Susan Rice did not commit a felony. This means that Trump engaged in defamation that Pence supported.
In a court of law, defamation is against the law. It should be taken even more seriously and should be viewed as nothing short of an abuse of power and a high crime that rises to the level of an impeachable offense when defamation against high-ranking officials comes from the White House.
The Trump family is not shy about suing for defamation. As the Inquisitr reported this week, Melania Trump has threatened defamation suits many times. If the Trump family is keen on holding those accountable for not telling the truth, they too should be held accountable.
So too should anyone that supports their false claims.
The Trump-Russia investigation has escalated this week with the announcement that Trump ally Carter Page was the subject of a FISA warrant for electronic surveillance, as well as with the Associated Press confirming a money trail with Paul Manafort and the Ukraine Black Ledger.
This is how we know that Susan Rice did not commit a felony. She was accused of feloniously unmasking an American citizen in a wiretap investigation. As it turns out, the American citizen was the subject of a legal wiretapping investigation, and Susan Rice was just doing her job.
Donald Trump was trying to blow smoke onto her to get the heat off of a member of his own campaign team who was the subject of a FISA court warrant. Carter Page is not the only Trump campaign member in hot water and connected to the Trump-Russia scandal this week.
Paul Manafort was the Trump campaign manager who brought Mike Pence on board as the running mate to Donald Trump. Mike Pence then became the head of the Trump transition team, effectively being responsible for everything that happened on and with the team.
Paul Manafort then mysteriously resigned after the New York Times published a ledger that suggested he had received over $12 million in cash from the Ukraine. As the New York Times reported this week, on the same day that Paul Manafort resigned, right after the Republican Convention, the Democrats’ emails were hacked.
Donald Trump also reportedly asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton during this same week. We now know that Russia influence and interference played a large role in this hacking, and the distribution of this illegally obtained information through the portal known as WikiLeaks.
But Paul Manafort and Mike Pence continued to talk regularly. Why?
Additionally, the Guardian reports that the House Intelligence Committee now has “specific concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion between people in the Trump campaign and agents of [Russian] influence relating to the use of hacked material.”
We have also learned this week that Carter Page, another member of the Trump campaign team, was the subject of a secret court order last summer to monitor communications investigating possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign.
His communications were monitored after a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) judge found “probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case, Russia,” reports the Washington Post.
Carter Page then mysteriously resigned from the Trump campaign. His resignation would soon be followed by Roger Stone’s, who maintained contact with Donald Trump. Roger Stone also knew when WikiLeaks dumps of hacked and illegally obtained material would surface during the campaign.
Roger Stone, Carter Page, and Paul Manafort are all reportedly being investigated by the FBI. It would stand to reason that the people they worked for, who were responsible for their employee’s actions, would be as well. That would be the king of the Trump campaign and the king of the Trump transition team, Donald Trump and Mike Pence respectively.
We do not know what Donald Trump and Mike Pence knew and when they knew it. But we do know they have made many false statements about the entire situation. If President Bill Clinton was impeached for less, Congress can and should impeach Trump and Pence as well.
— Brian Keith O'Hara (@bkohatl) April 7, 2017
Last week, Mike Pence went on Fox News to talk about Susan Rice, and it wasn’t to praise her good work. He said that Americans “have a right to know” the details on why Susan Rice asked for the identity of Trump transition team members to be unmasked in intelligence reports.
“Well, I think the American people have a right to know what was going on. And we have every confidence that intelligence committees in the House and the Senate will get to the bottom of these allegations. And the fact that it involved our campaign and our transition should be deeply troubling to anyone that cherishes civil liberties in this country.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 5, 2017
People concerned about the civil liberties of America are also concerned that their civil liberties of voting freely have been stolen. What is also deeply troubling to Americans is that Michael Flynn lied about Russia and had to resign over that. Mike Pence was also involved in that conversation.
America is also deeply troubled by the fact that Michael Flynn did not disclose that he received over half a million dollars in funds from Turkey during the campaign. When asked about it in March by Fox News, Mike Pence said he didn’t know anything about it.
“Let me say, hearing that story today, was the first I had heard of it.”
This statement is one of many demonstrably false statements Mike Pence has made. Mike Pence absolutely knew something about it, as early as November 16, 2016, when as the chair of the Trump transition team, Pence received a letter from the House Oversight Committee outlining multiple financial connections between Flynn, Russia, and Turkey.
Mike Pence hired him anyway. Then he told the world that hearing of Michael Flynn receiving the money from Turkey was “the first I had heard of it.”
Mike Pence lied about Michael Flynn and Turkey, and also possibly about Michael Flynn and Russia. Why? This calls into question every statement Mike Pence has made about Michael Flynn, Susan Rice, and the entire Trump-Russia scandal.
Instead of talking about these lies, the Trump Administration wants to talk about Susan Rice and how she was doing her job. Why? If Bill Clinton can get impeached for lying about not having relations with “that woman,” surely covering up Turkey pay-offs in the midst of Russian collusion allegations is a little more serious.
It is unconscionable that the Trump Administration continues to deflect the defamation of high-ranking officials with statements that are demonstrably false. In a court of law, defamation is against the law. The president and vice president of the United States should be held accountable if they bring false claims to the American people.
When Trump and his team were trying to deflect the wiretapping story onto Susan Rice, without evidence, Trump said it was a “massive story,” reports CNN.
“I think it’s going to be the biggest story. It’s such an important story for our country and the world. Truly one of the big stories of our time. Do I think [Susan Rice should be arrested]? Yes I think.”
Susan Rice has said that the request for unmasking was in the course of her duties.
“There were occasions when I would receive a report in which a U.S. person was referred to – name not provided, just a U.S. person – and sometimes in that context, in order to understand the importance of the report, and assess its significance, it was necessary to find out, or request the information as to who the U.S. official was. The notion that some people are trying to suggest, is that by asking for the identify of a person is leaking it, is unequivocally false. There is no connection between unmasking and leaking.”
The “some people” Susan Rice is referring to are Trump and Pence. Trump is a newbie to politics and has demonstrated he is unclear on how many things are run. But Pence is a seasoned politician, which is why his answers are always a little slicker than Donald Trump’s. He would know that Susan Rice was just doing her job.
As the Washington Post reports, FISA warrants are “some of the most closely guarded secrets in the world of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence gathering.” To have one approved requires a lot of evidence. FBI Director James Comey said the applications are “often thicker than his wrists.”
That thickness represents the effort that the Justice Department, their lawyers, and the FBI field agents need to do to convince a judge that a wiretap is warranted. It was warranted for Carter Page, and the warrant was renewed multiple times.
Comey told the University of Texas last month, “It is a pain in the neck to get permission to conduct electronic surveillance in the United States. And that’s good.”
The Guardian reported yesterday about the breaking news of the escalation of the Trump-Russia investigation. It was British spies who picked up the connections between Team Trump and Russia. The source said the following.
“It looks like the [US] agencies were asleep. They were saying, there are contacts going on between people close to Mr. Trump and people we believe are Russian intelligence agents. You should be wary of this. The message was, ‘Watch out. There’s something not right here.'”
Donald Trump has seen a rash of resignations and recusals in the three short months he has been in office. Donald Trump and Mike Pence are deflecting those matters onto false allegations and are, in many cases, outright lying about those resignations and recusals. An Impeach Trump and Pence petition has started as a result of all of this. Impeachment of Trump and Pence is being called for on the grounds of “misprison of treason” and has reached over 130 thousand signatures at the time of press.
Michael Flynn lost his job for lying. President Clinton was impeached for lying. Congress can and should impeach Trump and Pence for false allegations, and for knowingly misleading the American people. As Mike Pence said, the American people have a right to know the truth.
[Feature Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]