The impeachment inquiry has a fundamental problem. The House Democrats and Republicans, who have handled most of the questioning and been the prominent spokespersons at news conferences, have made black or white arguments.
Democratic Representative Adam Schiff would have you believe that the country is teetering at the edge of the abyss. Schiff and Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeatedly remind us that they are taking no joy in pursuing impeachment.
So, we are to believe that Democrats, who started plotting Trump’s demise before he took the oath of office are not positively gleeful that they have been able to drag him up the impeachment gallows? I suspect that there was a fair amount of figurative fist pumping when they finally got their quid pro quo confirmation.
As for Republican leaders they are positively stunned, stunned I tell you, that Donald Trump could have tried to coerce the Ukrainian President into digging up dirt on the Bidens. After all, certainly nothing in Trump’s background or his behavior since the election would suggest that he’s motivated by self-interest, right?
So, for those not in denial, it is clear there was a quid pro quo with the once-honorable Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, operating a parallel diplomacy with Ukraine that was more about the 2020 election than standing up to the Russians.
The practical question is this: Do Trump’s reckless and self-serving overtures to Ukraine rise to the level of impeachment? That’s an extremely subjective question, since the majority party makes up the rules and could impeach Mother Teresa if it could whip the votes.
I don’t believe his abuse of power—and it was an abuse—warrants impeachment or removal. If you are going to overturn the results of a national election, then the offending action better be pretty damn momentous.
The political executioners who want Trump’s head are screaming bribery, extortion and even treason, but what occurred was a ham-handed attempt by a vainglorious President to squeeze an ally for political gain. Certainly, that’s never happened before.
The offense by Trump is mitigated by the fact that there was no Ukrainian investigation into the Bidens or the 2016 election interference and the military aid was delivered.
Still, what Trump did was wrong and there should be consequences, and Congress has options other than impeachment. The Constitution gives Congress the power to censure a fellow member, the President, federal judges and other government officials.
This reprimand would not please the more extreme wing of the Democratic Party and it would aggravate some Republicans who have strapped themselves to the mast of Trump’s ship during this storm. However, it would satisfy those of us who believe that the President made an egregious mistake for which he should be held accountable.
A formal reprimand by both chambers of Congress would demonstrate that rogue actions have consequences. The 2020 campaign is well underway, and the election will be here before you know it. Americans will soon decide for themselves whether Trump should be removed from office.