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First, a confession: Presidential historian Allan J. Lichtman and I were colleagues at American University for many years, but I have not talked to him since I retired six years ago. I did recently listen to him when he talked about his new book, The Case for Impeachment. It’s interesting that Lichtman has written this book since he—of virtually all the presidential scholars out there—predicted that Donald Trump would win the election. Lichtman has been predicting the results of our presidential elections for decades with total accuracy, using keys that he devised years ago. My point, however, is to state that I do not regard my review of his book as a conflict of interest. I do not mean to link myself to the Trumps and the Kushners of the world (and the Republicans in Congress) and how they interpret conflicts of interest. I am simply stating that I feel qualified to review The Case for Impeachment without bias, in spite of the fact that I know the writer.
Second—and this is my stronger feeling about writing such a review—I remain a total believer in verifiable facts, something that, again, separates me from Trumps, Kushners, and Republican operatives. The world is flat; that can be verified. Donald Trump, who has the hands and brain of a six-year-old, is a chronic liar, something that can be verified by his own statements and one’s own eyes. (“Lock her up” and begging the hackers to locate more of Hillary Clinton’s emails, both recorded on video, although my sense is that Republicans no longer believe their eyes). So Donald Trump’s fall—to state the obvious—will very likely be the result of his own deplorable statements. Lichtman believes that it is still too early to determine what will happen, but with the sacking of James Comey as I was writing this review, and now the top secret information he released to the Russians earlier this week, Trump’s own statements continue to entrap him. Since he cannot control his gibberish (like a six-year-old), we all need to listen carefully as he continues to tie the noose around his own neck.
What is so compelling about The Case for Impeachment is the plethora of acts by Donald Trump that in a sane world would have brought him down long before he even ran for president. Past actions by an individual can be included in the grounds for impeachment, not simply those that have happened since the inauguration. Thus, violations of the fair housing act, his fraudulent charity that amounted to “laundered tax-free donations for his own gain,” a fraudulent university, attempts at starting a casino in Cuba during the economic embargo, plus his employment of undocumented immigrants—all of these acts would have led to the downfall of another person, but not Trump, a past master for deceit and fraud, or a wily fox, always out-tricking his pursuers (mostly by lying). But—and this is Lichtman’s point—they can still be used in the amassing of details for a possible impeachment.
All of the other actions that Lichtman documents about Trump’s infractions are almost totally proven by the man’s own career, statements, and acts. They include conflicts of interest, which actually do exist in spite of Republican intransigence; “lies, lies, and more lies,” which, again, can easily be verified; Trump’s war against women (one of the women he has abused may finally get her case heard); the Russian connections; the continual abuse of power; and—perhaps one of the most surprising—“the case against humanity.” The last of these has recently become the prerogative of the International Criminal Court. If Americans are too lily-livered to indict the man, the International Court can. The court, in The Hague, Netherlands, “recently expanded its priorities to include the prosecution of governments and individuals for crimes against humanity through ‘destruction of the environment,’ which could include catastrophic climate change.”
And then there’s treason, the likely outcome of the Russian investigation. It’s pretty obvious to me that Michael Flynn will end up in prison. Hopefully, there will be others. Lichtman says that if the collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians is proven, the country will have no other option than to impeach the president. Like Richard Nixon’s averted impeachment, even Republicans will be forced to admit the obvious when the facts are overwhelming.
The other transgressions that Lichtman chronicles against Trump include his repeated abuse of power; his wars against the judiciary and the media; even his use of fake news. Of the latter, Lichtman writes, “Trump projects onto the press his own inveterate lying when he scoffs that what they report is ‘fake news.’ Through this tactic of classic Orwellian doublethink, falsehood becomes truth and truth becomes falsehood, all in the service of ‘Big Brother.’ Yet Trump is willing to accept news from the media that suits his purposes.” Even his followers at some time will realize that the Emperor has no clothes, especially when they realize that he has only one reason for being president: monetizing his, his extended family’s, and his rich friends’ connections.
So the question is how likely is it that Donald Trump will be impeached? Excluding the possibility that that will happen if Trump is charged with treason, Lichtman states that there is only one fool-proof outcome for impeachment that will turn the tide against our lying president: “only if the people demand it.” That demand has not yet been reached a critical mass, but we are getting closer to it. As for myself, I believe that there is no possibility that Republican operatives will remove their benefactor from office, without a massive push from the people. But that will eventually happen.
Balanced critic that he is, Lichtman even provides a final chapter (“Memo: The Way Out”) for Trump to avoid impeachment, but—in spite of practical recommendations—Trump cannot hear any other opinion than his own. He’s not going to totally divest from his crooked investments. And he’s certainly not going to “add a shrink to the white house physicians.” That would require an element of sanity not demonstrated by our occupant in the White House. Still, you need to read The Case for Impeachment, a brilliant analysis of every fraudulent act committed by the child in the White House.
Allan J. Lichtman: The Case for Impeachment
Del Street Books, 304 pp., $24.99