A petition to impeach Donald Trump is growing steadily, but little is said about Mike Pence. It’s clear a segment of the electorate favors impeaching President Trump, but it’s unclear if the same applies to Vice President Pence.
One of the most visible movements to impeach Trump is led by an online petition site called Impeach Trump Now. Unlike other efforts to recall the president, the ITN campaign is led by several scholars of jurisprudence.
The Legal Advisory Board that created the petition to impeach Donald Trump consists of the following law professors: Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School; Tamara Piety, Professor of Law, University of Tulsa College of Law; Catherine Ross, Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School; Steven Shiffrin, Professor of Law, Cornell University Law School; and James Gustave Speth, Senior Fellow, Vermont Law School.
The non-profit group focuses on a grassroots effort that is non-partisan in scope and is backed by free speech. It seeks to galvanize individuals and businesses that desire a fair economy, civil liberty protections, equal rights on all levels, a healthy environment, and pledges from lawmakers to stop funding perpetual wars as a practice.
The petition group makes the case for Donald Trump’s impeachment by comparing the current administration to the Richard Nixon White House (Watergate scandal). The esteemed law scholars say Trump is guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Ironically, John Dean, President Nixon’s ex-White House Counsel, compared his former boss’ troubles to the impeachment petition atmosphere Trump finds himself in.
“I don’t think Richard Nixon even comes close to the level of corruption we already know about Trump.”
Every president has a vice president, which has largely been a symbolic position or part of an election strategy. Recall that John. F. Kennedy chose Lyndon B. Johnson to run as his VP, despite facing strong opposition from a group of Kennedy liberal delegates, his brother Bobby Kennedy, and staffers. According to a 1960 NY Times post, Kennedy made the VP move to win over the South at the polls.
As multiple sources reported, Mike Pence, by all accounts, has little in common with Donald Trump. Trump is a firebrand orator with no political experience. On the other hand, Vice President Mike Pence is a former member of Congress and governor of Indiana.
Huffington Post calls Trump’s choice of Mike Pence on the ticket a “paradox”; Pence is on record as a Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP) proponent while his boss voiced opposition throughout his campaign — with threats to pull the plug upon election. However, like Kennedy, Trump needed Pence’s evangelical draw to give him some credibility at the polls.
Comparatively speaking, Mike Pence is similar to a compassionate family dog and Donald Trump is an 800-pound gorilla in terms of their approaches to politics.
Language contained in the petition to impeach the president focuses on Trump with no mention of Mike Pence. It’s unclear if the law requires impeachment proceedings to include the vice president, but currently, Pence appears to be running underneath the radar. He is largely unscathed by his boss’ controversial executive orders, business divestiture issues, and the sudden resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn over “trust issues,” as per Sean Spicer’s characterization.
Vice President Pence may not be a target of the petition, but recent information surfaced about the former governor that may indicate his style of management in the future should he succeed Trump.
The Daily Beast published a story about Keith Cooper, a black man. His name is obscure to many outside of Indiana, but Mike Pence certainly knows his name.
As DB wrote, “Keith Cooper was sentenced to 40 years in prison for a violent robbery he claimed he didn’t commit. Even his prosecutor came to agree, but it took a new governor to clear his name.”
Cooper was released in 2006, but his criminal record still reflected the felony status, which prevented him from getting gainful employment and starting a new life as a free man. Mike Pence, despite overwhelming evidence to clear Cooper — recanted witness testimony, forensic testing, over 100,000 signatures on a petition, and a unanimous decision by the parole board to pardon him — refused to clear his felony record.
After Pence departed his position to run as Trump’s VP running mate, the legislature — on a bipartisan basis — and the new governor moved to clear Cooper’s conviction. Cooper’s lawyer, Elliot Slosar, said he believes Mike Pence was motivated by politics.
“What I can tell you is that I think Gov. Pence was trying to be savvy politically. He obviously at a point was angling to be the vice president. This pardon petition was squarely on his desk. It was something that was being covered extensively in the media. I imagine Gov. Pence knew that if he had granted this pardon while the election was going on that, politically, it wasn’t a palatable thing for him and the base of people he was trying to appeal to while on the ticket with Donald Trump.”
As the impeachment petition suggests, Trump treats the White House as if he were some supreme leader of a group of voter minions that asks, “how high?” when he orders, “jump.”
Sadly, Trump treats the Oval Office as a bully pulpit and thinks his “unimpeachable” actions on national security — as his senior White House policy adviser Stephen Miller vehemently announced on CBS’ Face The Nation (per the Washington Post) — “will not be questioned.”
Trump ran on being the “Washington Outsider,” a person who wanted to “drain the swamp” of career politicians motivated by special interests. It turns out that Trump, who hails from an environment of supreme power where he signed the checks, made the operational calls without question, and lived in a golden palace bearing his name, is a sea monster of sorts from a swamp of a different type.
Among his coterie, he can do no wrong and failure is not an option — even if it means his staff’s use of mythical events (“Bowling Green Massacre”) to substantiate a controversial executive order.
However, if nearly 1 million signatures on a petition to impeach the president mean anything, the new commander-in-chief has a rough time ahead.
And that could spell disaster for Mike Pence, to boot.
[Featured Image by Susan Walsh/AP Images]