The perilous precedent of impeachment

With the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel, we may get answers to the nature of the Trump-Russia relationship based on facts rather than evidence-free leaks based on anonymous sources with their own agendas.

Robert Mueller

Mueller by all accounts is an honest person and a dogged prosecutor, not committed to either political party.   He has a difficult dual mission.

One is to determine the precise natural of the relationship between Donald Trump and his minions with Russia and Russians.

The other is to determine whether any laws have been broken. These are related, but separate.

Conversations between Trump supporters and Russian diplomats are not, in and of themselves, illegal, but we the American people have an interest in knowing what they are.

Conversations between Donald Trump and former FBI Director James Comey about the investigation may have amounted to an obstruction of justice on the part of Trump, which would be an impeachable offense, but this does not throw any light on the alleged Trump-Russia relationship.

I oppose President Trump, but I am not willing to see him removed from office by any means necessary.

For one thing, his replacement will be Vice President Mike Pence, a person of greater maturity and emotional balance than Trump, but just as committed to war and Wall Street.

For another, any justification for removing Trump from office will be a precedent for getting rid of any future radical reformer who threatens the status quo.

The secret agencies of government, the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties and the Washington press corps would be out to get a Bernie Sanders-type reformer even more than they are out to get Trump.

Trump won slightly less than half of the votes in the 2016 election, which represents about one-fourth of American registered voters.  A certain fraction of them—say an eighth of the electorate—are Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables,” a hard core committed to Trump no matter what.

Hard-core Trump supporters happen to be the most heavily armed part of the electorate.   They constitute a majority of those who own firearms and are willing and able to use them.   They also have sympathizers among the police, the military and the other gun-toting arms of local, state and federal governments.

If they feel they have been cheated out of their election victory, I don’t know what would happen.

The special counsel and the Congress should do their duty regardless of any potential threat of violence or rebellion.   But it is important not only that exact justice be done, but that it be seen and understood to be done.


The Pitch President by Doug Muder for The Weekly Sift.  The first part of this news roundup is a list of questions to be answered by any investigation.   It’s a good list, although Muder takes for granted certain facts that have yet to be proved and may not be true.

Special Counsel Appointed for Trump-Russia investigation by Patrick Caldwell and AJ Vicens for Mother Jones.  [Added Later]

What the Special Counsel Appointment Means by Matt Ford for The Atlantic.  [Added Later]

Our Cassius Chearea Moment by Charles H. Featherstone.  Cassius Chearea was a member of the Roman imperial guard who assassinated the vicious and insane Emperor Caligula, setting a precedent for the Roman legions removing and appointing emperors.

Removing Trump Won’t Solve America’s Crisis by Robert W. Merry for The American Conservative.

Pence Takes Steps to Build War Chest as White House Stumbles by Bill Allison for Bloomberg Politics.

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2 Responses to “The perilous precedent of impeachment”

  1. whungerford Says:

    I agree that impeachment ought be reserved for clear crimes; even the President’s supporters ought to be convinced that impeachment is justified. But when warranted, I don’t think we should shy away for fear of setting a precedent. The case of RMN, who resigned to avoid conviction, seems not to have set a precedent. Even if we regard the attempted impeachment of WJC as payback, I think Nixon’s removal was justified.


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