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Impeach!

Photo Source Mike Maguire | CC BY 2.0

The midterm elections have concluded. The Democrats have regained the majority in the House of Representatives. One can be fairly certain that a number of those Democrats will begin to backpedal on their more progressive campaign statements in the coming weeks. After all, like their GOP counterparts, those backpedalers are primarily interested in their own future, not the future of those who voted for them, especially the voters with little or no money. Consequently, it is up to the voters who put these Democrats in power to turn up the pressure on these politicians and keep it up.

There is no better way to do so than to demand that an impeachment investigation begin against Donald Trump. His administration’s abuse of power is at the least on par with that of the Nixon White House. Indeed, his Wednesday afternoon firing of Attorney General Sessions (who deserved to go for completely different reasons) and replacement with the Trump sycophant and scam artist Matt Whitaker is a page straight out of Nixon’s script in 1973. Congress would be failing in its duty to the US Constitution and the American people if it does not begin the process. Ideally, the Special Prosecutor’s office will provide any investigative committee with the evidence it has accumulated on the various criminal actions of Trump and his people. This evidence has already led to the convictions of numerous government and Trump campaign officials. One assumes it will lead to more. Trump’s continuous attempts to intrude and block the investigation are just one example of his ongoing attempts to obstruct the course of justice. One can safely assume that his actions known and unknown in this growing scandal are enough to make him a co-conspirator. Whether or not he is indicted for being so does not remove the fact of his participation. In a historical sidenote, it seems important to recall that Congress did not want to begin impeachment hearings against Richard Nixon in 1973 but did so after overwhelming political pressure from their constituents.

Trump’s criminality is assumed by a fair number of US residents. Judging from anecdotal evidence, it seems reasonable to conjecture that more than a quarter of US residents believe Trump to be guilty of at least a few felonies. Indeed, except for his hardcore followers, who have little if any use for the facts, it seems likely that of the millions of Americans who are withholding their judgement on Trump’s guilt, many of them would have little problem with an impeachment investigation. Of course, there are much smaller numbers who believe any such thing will happen. This is primarily due to the overall perception that Congress does not have the guts to challenge Trump and his bully boys. This brings us back to why it is up to those US residents who oppose Trump to pressure Congress to impeach. The evidence must be heard by us all

In the weeks prior to the recent election, Trump used his powers as Commander in Chief to send thousands of US military forces to the southern border of the United States. According to Trump the reason for this mobilization—which is complete with helicopter gunships, humvees, airplanes, and a varied assortment of lethal weaponry—is the presence of a couple thousand refugees walking to the US border to seek asylum. Mainstream media have quoted numerous active and retired, named and unnamed US military officers stating that this mobilization is politically motivated, unneeded and an inappropriate use of US military forces. In other words, it is a gross abuse of the powers invested in the presidency. Trump’s statements suggesting the troops will be allowed to use live fire on these refugees is a further abuse of those powers and, as far as international (if not national) military rules of engagement are concerned, completely illegal. The fact that the Pentagon has gone along with this abuse of presidential power, with some of its generals even using a convoluted rationale to justify it bodes ill for those who like to believe that the military will put the Constitution before the president. Indeed, “Mad Dog” Mattis appears to have already done so with these orders to send the troops to the US-Mexican border.

There are very few legislative avenues the elected representatives of the US people can take at this moment in history that might provide those who voted for them a chance to rein in the Trump administration. Cooperating with Trump and his right wing associates is not one of them. The election results make it fairly clear that the majority of the voters believe the Trumpist rampage needs to be stopped. The tax cuts for the rich must be repealed and the environment must be protected; the moves towards universal and affordable health care must be revived and the sheer criminality of this White House must be prosecuted. Any legislation supporting these ideas this Congress might pass would most likely be vetoed once it reached the Oval Office. Any legislation that is except for an impeachment investigation into the daily abuses of presidential power and the Trump administration’s criminality. Trump has no say in that regard. This is reason enough to write letters and send emails to your Congressperson, organize protests, talk to the media and demand that a Congressional impeachment investigation begin. The time is now.

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Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

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