Did We Get Him?

When Donald Trump revealed to Lester Holt that he had the Russian investigation in mind while firing James Comey, the exact thought that later was the subject of an SNL skit crossed my mind: Is this it? Did we get him?

When Donald Trump revealed to Lester Holt that he had the Russian investigation in mind while firing James Comey, the exact thought that later was the subject of an SNL skit crossed my mind: Is this it?  Did we get him?

Several days ago, Texas Congressman Al Green called for the president’s impeachment.  But is that feasible or even practical?

For a lot of us, impeachment sounds like a pretty good deal.  A majority of the country did not vote for Donald Trump or his policies, his approval rating is hovering consistently in the upper thirty percent, and the man himself seems determined to trample precedent that was there for a reason.

But here’s the thing.  Impeachment is difficult.  So difficult, in fact, that we’ve only impeached two presidents: Andrew Johnson during the disaster of Reconstruction, and Bill Clinton during the disaster of the Lewinsky scandal.  Both times, the president was impeached by the House and later acquitted by the Senate.  Richard Nixon was never impeached at all, but faced with the idea, he was forced to resign.

Democrats may have a case against Trump.  By openly admitting that the Russia investigation was on his mind while firing James Comey, the man running it, the president unwittingly revealed his own obstruction of justice.  Incidentally, obstruction of justice was one of the two aspects of Clinton’s impeachment.

Unfortunately for that case, being guilty of whatever you’re being impeached for is not enough to remove you from office.  Clinton’s case proves it.  While he was found guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice, the Senate ultimately decided that the primary reason for his impeachment had been his affair, which was hardly an impeachable offense.

The same could eventually be true of Trump.  While it’s virtually undeniable at this point that there was some level of obstruction of justice, it probably wouldn’t be enough to get rid of him.

First, the House needs to actually impeach him.  Considering the Republican majority—who for the most part are, if not loyal to Trump, willing to use him to achieve their ends—it’s unlikely that the House would follow through on the process.  In the unlikely event that impeachment actually passed the House, we would then endure a long trial process in the Senate, where 67 Senators would have to decide that he was guilty.  Again, a Republican majority virtually ensures that even if impeachment hearings occurred, nothing would happen.

Personally, a failed impeachment attempt right now is not what the Democrats need to be focusing on.  Yes, they need to raise a ruckus about the Russian investigation.  Yes, they need to call for a special prosecutor.  And yes, if they have to fight back on the hearings for the new FBI head to ensure as much bipartisanship as possible.

Right now, their priority should be the American people.  Making sure that the new tax policy benefits all Americans, not just the rich, and that any replacements to the Affordable Care Act retain the ACA’s intentions as closely as possible.

There are plenty of fights, and a failed impeachment attempt is not one of them.

Further Reading:

Texas Democrat Calls for President Trump’s Impeachment on the House Floor

How the Impeachment Process Works

 

‘You’re Fired’ Has a Different Meaning in the White House

I’m not saying that Trump has colluded or is colluding with Russia. But when he fired Comey, the man investigating him, he raised a few red flags.

This week has been all about James Comey, the (former) director of the FBI.

BACKGROUND:

Back in the last few weeks of the 2016 election, Comey made waves by revealing that the FBI would be broadening its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.  Due to the tight race, this caused many Democrats to accuse him of meddling in the election.  Trump praised him for his actions at the time.

Comey spoke at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about his actions, remarking that he felt “mildly nauseous” at the thought that his actions may have interfered in the presidential race.  However, he also said that if he had to do it all over again, he would not change his choices.

RUSSIA:

After the election, it came to light that the FBI had also been investigating the Trump campaign for its alleged ties to Russia.  These ties became even more suspect after the public discovered that Michael Flynn, the now-former National Security Advisor to Trump, had spoken to Russian officials about future policy prior to Trump’s inauguration.  As he was not an official of the US government at the time, this was illegal and eventually forced him to leave his post.  Comey pledged to continue the investigation, and has been doing so—until now.

FIRING:

Just this week, Trump fired Comey.  Poor Comey found out via the TV playing the news behind him while he was briefing some of his staff.  The official reasoning behind the termination was Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation.  However, various Trump aides and even Trump himself have contradicted this story.

Comey’s firing is weird.  That’s the only word I can think of to describe it.  For one thing, while his actions during the campaign might have been unprofessional, it ultimately helped Trump.  So why he would want to get rid of this guy is beyond me.  For another, even if Trump is not involved with Russia in the slightest, this certainly makes him look like he is.

Again, I’m not saying that Trump has colluded or is colluding with Russia.  But when he fired Comey, the man investigating him, he raised a few red flags.

I’ll admit it.  When Comey possibly changed the course of the election—and the course of the first few years of my adulthood—I wanted nothing more than to see him fired.  But it’s deeply unsettling to me now that it’s happened.

  1. Trump now has the ability to pick the next FBI director. Let me rephrase that: a man under investigation by the FBI gets to pick the next man to investigate him.  There’s nothing unjust about that.
  2. FBI directors serve ten years terms and are meant to be impartial. President Obama—a liberal—appointed Comey—a conservative—because he did not want to look like he was being partisan.

Of course, with a scandal like this, every political commentator is making comparisons to Nixon.  The real problem isn’t a Nixon-like Trump, though; it’s a Congress that is decidedly not like the one during Nixon’s time.  If push comes to shove, and Trump does something unforgiveable, will leaders like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan stand up to him?

If things keep going the way they are, I suppose we’ll see.

(Previously on Miss Presidential)

FURTHER READING:

It Took Guts—How Trump Once Praised Comey

James Comey ‘Mildly Nauseous’ Over Idea He Swayed the Election

Politico Symposium on the Firing of James Comey