WHAT MIGHT A BILL OF IMPEACHMENT SAY ?

constitution

^ please read the bottom line of this excerpt from Article 2 of the Constitution

—- —- —-

As we see it, Donald Trump, in the office of President for only five weeks, has already done things that merit impeachment. Many observers have cited several particulars, and we agree with many of these, yet the most obvious ground has yet to be cited: he has not carried out — indeed has acted to negate — “take care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

Let me set forth the argument, because it goes to the heart of his performance, indeed, to his entire approach to the duties of his office as set forth in the Constitution that he took an oath to uphold:

First, please read what Wikipedia says about the “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” clause of the Constitution :

Article Two of the United States Constitution, Section 3, Clause 5: Caring for the faithful execution of the law

The President must “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” This clause in the Constitution imposes a duty on the President to enforce the laws of the United States and is called the Take Care Clause, also known as the Faithful Execution Clause or Faithfully Executed Clause. This clause is meant to ensure that a law is faithfully executed by the President even if he disagrees with the purpose of that law.] By virtue of his executive power, the President may execute the law and control the law execution of others. Under the Take Care Clause, however, the President must exercise his law-execution power to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

Note no. 1. the “laws” that the President musty take care about include the entire United states Code, mostly administrative regulations issued pursuant to legislation and incorporated by reference therein. Yet the President, evidently acting in accord with the views of his top advisor, Steve Bannon, has appointed heads of departments whose mission is to “deconstruct” them (the verb is Bannon’s) and whosece3ntire lack of experience in the departments they have been nominated to head almost assures their inability to “take care” for the laws their department executes.

Note no. 2. in particular, yesterday the Attorney General, acting on the express orders of the President, suspended the enforcement of Title IX of the United stares Code with respect to protection of transgender students in schools. As the President must “take care” for laws even if he disagrees with them, his act contravenes his express duty.

Note No. 3. The President must FAITHFULLY execute the laws. What can “faithfully;’ mean but “in good faith” ? Executing the laws by means that intentionally violate Constitutional; protections is not “in good faith.” Yet the President has empowered, or allowed, agents of the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to violate the Fourth and 14th Amendment rights of people at random. Yesterday we learned that CBP agents are randomly, and without a warrant, demanding that passengers on domestic air flights “:show their papers.” CBP agents have no authority to do anything except at the nation’s borders; if the Fourth Amendment was enacted to do anything, it is to prevent this sort of abuse.

Note No. 4. the President has issued executive orders hastily, carelessly drafted, un-vetted by his legal teams, and in some cases without the slightest consultation with his executive agencies, or with Congress, that have violated the legal status of thousands of persons. His adviser Mr. Bannon applauds the “chaos” thus caused. Chaos is the opposite of “faithful” execution of the laws.

 

Does the President’s intentional violations of the “faithful” exercise amount to the “high crimes and misdemeanors” which the Constitution requires as grounds for a conviction to articles of impeachment ? I can’t think of any case in which this accusation has arisen. We have had incompetent Presidents for sure, but I cannot think of one whose intention was to override the laws and ignore the Constitution. An argument against impeaching on this basis is that there’s an alternative remedy : suits in Federal Court, one of which has already blocked the most notorious of the President’s violations of “faithful” execution.

Perhaps the Federal Courts can do the work more efficiently than impeachment. I hope so. But now to the rest of the arguments of impeachment:

The most grave is his potential involvement in Russian obstructions of the 2016 election, his numerous business dealings with Russian bankers, oligarchs, and maybe even mobsters, and his readiness to use the power of his office to advance his and his family’s business interests. Is his identification of his personal and family financial gain with the nation;s interests impeachable ? At some point it would be. Let us look at the very earliest impeachment case I could find, one from the late 1300’s :

William Latimer, 4th Baron Latimer – Wikipedia

When Parliament was called in April 1376, known as the Good Parliament and led by Peter de la Mare, the members wanted to remove corrupt advisers from court. Latimer, Neville, London merchant Richard Lyons and Alice Perrers were accused, and the charges against Latimer were that he had been guilty of oppression in Brittany; had sold the castle of Saint-Sauveur to the enemy, and impeded the relief of Bécherel in 1375; that he had taken bribes for the release of captured ships, and retained fines paid to the king, notably by Sir Robert Knolles, and the city of Bristol; and finally, that in association with Robert Lyons he had obtained money from the crown by the repayment of fictitious loans. Seconded by William of Wykeham, de la Mare sought to have Latimer immediately convicted, with the Commons acting on behalf of the king. They were unsuccessful and a trial took place.[3] The charges were proven and he was removed from his positions in the royal household and on the council, fined and imprisoned. He was pardoned in October 1376 and with Lancaster’s recovered influence he returned to favour.

Mr. Trump seems not to have done anything as crude as this, nor — so far — have any of his agents attempted anything so palpably criminal. Yet investigations are well under way now into his Russian dealings that, if any of it is true, do similar things, albeit with suavity and shell game cleverness.

Two outrages that Mr. Trump has unleashed do not seem to me impeachable : his venomous attacks on the press and his habitual lying. Even a President has a right to insult people, and even a President has room to lie every day. The remedy for these failings is political : vote him out.

Lastly, there’s his attempts to suborn Federal agencies investigating his ties to Russia and his intentionally persecutive travel ban executive order.

But back to the impeachment situation. Will articles of impeachment be brought against him at all ? I wonder. It suits the Democrats’ electoral purposes to maintain in office a man so disliked, so offensive, so damaging, because he will eb far easier to defeat in the 2018 mid-term elections and in 2020, than a restorative, healing President Pence. There is no honor in such calculation, but only a naive would doubt that calculation is the engine of political strategy. Impeachment articles will only be brought when and if the Republicans in Congress decided to do it; and with Mr. Trump enjoying about 80 percent support among Republicans voters — even as Independents and Democrats oppose him by almost three to one, aggregate — the prospect of Republicans bringing impeachment articles seems very, very remote.

This is the  depressing state of un-Constitutional federal governance as we head into the second month of  Mr. Trump’s deplorable presidency.

 

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

Author: hereandsphere

Here and Sphere is an online journal of news, opinion, reviews, advice, & bits n' pieces of everything else - from HERE to SPHERE...... Co-founded by Michael Freedberg, a long-time Boston Phoenix journalist, and Heather Cornell, a South Coast Massachusetts columnist and editor.

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