Bill Clinton was impeached after a years-long hunt for malfeasance on the charge of lying under oath about an extramarital affair. No hearings were held in the House at all, because the Starr Report was so detailed and comprehensive. (The investigation was also secret — a precedent that surely undermines the ridiculous argument that this impeachment procedure is illegitimate because its early hearings were not public.) And lying about an extramarital affair, even under oath, is a trivial offense that does not involve affairs of state, or abuse of power, is not treasonous, or a bribe. It does not amount to a fear that the president would continue to abuse his public office, and needs to be reined in.
… It’s a little much for Republicans to have insisted on the Clinton impeachment and yet declare this one unworthy to be considered because the offense, while bad, did not rise to the “high crimes and misdemeanors” standard.
Andrew Sullivan. That much is pretty much a very effective episode of “Gotcha!” But there’s more:
The White House instantly knew this was a serious problem, because after complaints, the recording of the call was placed in a top-secret file, and the reconstructed transcript of the call edited to remove specific references to Joe Biden and Burisma, the Ukranian energy company that hired Hunter Biden. This is an admission of guilt, and an attempt to mislead Congress and the public. The ellipses in that “rough transcript” are the equivalent of the missing minutes from the Nixon tapes …
Conspiracy with a foreign government to intervene in an American election is clearly a high crime. The Founders were fixated on foreign influence when they came up with impeachment. More to the point, the president refuses to admit any wrongdoing at all, and is now almost certainly repeating the Ukraine gambit with China, in trade talks. In other words, this is part of this president’s modus operandi, and he insists he has an “absolute right” to do it in the future.
… Trump has done all of that in this case, abusing his foreign-policy power, forbidding anyone in his administration to testify, hiding and then editing evidence, and declaring the constitutional process as a “witch hunt” with no legitimacy. And he has declared all of this as “perfect” and completely without fault. He will never admit his misdeeds or apologize for them because his sick psyche prevents him from ever doing that in any situation.
And that’s the real purpose of impeachment: to prevent future abuse of power. Exonerating Trump, who has admitted nothing wrong, is a carte blanche for him to commit the same crimes again. He initiated the Ukraine business immediately after the Russian question had been resolved. He has openly said that Article 2 gives him the right “to do whatever I want.” He is a corrupt liar who loves flirting with treason. He’s gotten worse with every passing day. And yet the Republican Party seems intent not only on letting him off the hook, but enabling him to a second term.
Impeachment exists because the Founders feared a president like Trump — corrupt, contemptuous of the Constitution, obstructing justice, dishonest in everything, abusive of his power, and infecting domestic politics with the influence of foreign powers. If we do not use it in this case, we will be betraying them.
That’s just part II of Sullivan’s usual 3-part weekly blog. Part I is a very solid coverage of our unseemly and harmful haste to help teens with rapid-onset gender dysphoria, likely the result of faddish “social contagion,” to take irrevocable hormonal and surgical “transition” steps to which they cannot give meaningful consent. (Sullivan is more circumspect than I, referring to the preceding conclusions of mine as possibilities or suggestions.)
That’s one of the great crimes of our day, and I look forward to mercenary physicians sitting in the dock in the lawsuits that should, and if it please God, will, so day give some approximate justice to the human guinea pigs who suffer from others’ hubris.
Part III riff’s off of President Obama’s recent, and well-covered, remarks on call-out culture, with a surprise anecdote about the kindness of one of today’s stock villains.