Op-Ed in New York Times on Trump's Impeachment Trial Brief

"Don’t Impeach Trump for Acting Like a Politician "

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

The New York Times asked me to write an op-ed about President Trump's trial brief. In the limited space provided, I only covered the first Article of Impeachment based on "abuse of power." I did not have enough room to write about the second Article of Impeachment Based on "obstruction of congress." Nor did I have space to discuss the GAO decision (which I wrote about here).

Here is the introduction:

The way things look, President Trump will almost certainly not be removed from office. The precedents set by the articles of impeachment, however, will endure far longer. And regrettably, the House of Representatives has transformed presidential impeachment from a constitutional parachute — an emergency measure to save the Republic in free-fall — into a parliamentary vote of "no confidence."

The House seeks to expel Mr. Trump because he acted "for his personal political benefit rather than for a legitimate policy purpose." Mr. Trump's lawyers responded, "elected officials almost always consider the effect that their conduct might have on the next election." The president's lawyers are right. And that behavior does not amount to an abuse of power.

Politicians pursue public policy, as they see it, coupled with a concern about their own political future. Otherwise legal conduct, even when plainly politically motivated — but without moving beyond a threshold of personal political gain — does not amount to an impeachable "abuse of power." The House's shortsighted standard will fail to knock out Mr. Trump but, if taken seriously, threatens to put virtually every elected official in peril. The voters, and not Congress, should decide whether to reward or punish this self-serving feature of our political order.

And an excerpt from the middle:

Mr. Trump is not the first president to consider his political future while executing the office. In 1864, during the height of the Civil War, President Lincoln encouraged Gen. William Sherman to allow soldiers in the field to return to Indiana to vote. What was Lincoln's primary motivation? He wanted to make sure that the government of Indiana remained in the hands of Republican loyalists who would continue the war until victory. Lincoln's request risked undercutting the military effort by depleting the ranks. Moreover, during this time, soldiers from the remaining states faced greater risks than did the returning Hoosiers.

Lincoln had dueling motives. Privately, he sought to secure a victory for his party. But the president, as a party leader and commander in chief, made a decision with life-or-death consequences. Lincoln's personal interests should not impugn his public motive: win the war and secure the nation.

And the conclusion:

An impeachable offense need not be criminal. But our Constitution does not allow Congress to take a vote of "no confidence" for a president who pursues legal policies that members of the opposition party deem insufficiently publicly spirited. Presidents who take such actions with an eye toward the ballot box should be judged by the voters at the ballot box.

The first article impeachment turns on conceptions of what is, and is not in the national interest.

The Wall Street Journal house editorial was on a similar wavelength. (I wrote mine a few days earlier–the review and fact checking process takes some time):

House Democrats are going much further and declaring that Mr. Trump's acts are impeachable because he did them for "personal political benefit." He isn't accused of corruption per se. His Ukraine interventions are said to be corrupt because he intended them to help him win re-election this year. In other words, his actions were impeachable only because his motives were self-serving.

Mark Tushnet flagged a related point at Balkin:

Here's the version from the House: "Overwhelming evidence shows that President Trump solicited these two investigations in order to obtain a personal political benefit, not because the investigations served the national interest." The contrast between "the national interest" and "personal political benefit" is explicit.

And here's the nagging concern: Suppose Trump believes, as I'm sure he does, that his reelection after a campaign against any rival is in the national interest. Or, to put it in the House's terms, the national interest coincides with a "personal" -- but really "political" -- benefit to Trump. So, why is it impeachable to act to ensure a re-election that is in the national interest? ….

Otherwise, maybe the argument supporting the House's formulation is simply that the equation of personal political benefit with the national interest, which I'm imputing to Trump, is simply wrong. Here the formulation probably should be that it's fine for Trump to think that his reelection would be better for the nation than the election of any rival, but that the increment of national benefit isn't great enough to justify irregular and secret actions to defeat rivals. And finally, in my view that may be the best way to understand the use of the phrase "abuse of power."

I am grateful for co-blogger Ilya Somin's recent post. He cogently crystalized our disagreement:

Unlike unjust deprivation of life, liberty, or property, removal from power doesn't violate anyone's human rights. When real human rights are at stake, it may make sense to allow ten guilty people to go free, in order to save even one innocent from conviction. When it comes to positions of power, almost the opposite is true: Removing ten "normal" politicians is more than justified if that is the only way to get rid of one who engages in grave abuses of power. It's not as if we suffer from a shortage of ambitious politicians who would be happy to take the places of those who get removed.

Ilya thinks it is justified to remove "ten 'normal'" Presidents to "get rid of one who engages in grave abuses of power." In more than two centuries, we have had only 44 Presidents (45 if you count Cleveland twice). If Ilya's standard is correct, then it would have been appropriate to remove nearly a quarter of American Presidents. Every generation would have at least one convicted President. To get Trump, would it be worth it to remove the prior nine presidents:  Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama (well, exclude Nixon, and perhaps Clinton)? Ilya's "n guilty men" standard may make more sense for lower-ranking officials. Their removals do not alter the arc of history. But the President cannot be considered a "'normal' politician." Indeed, removing any one of these Presidents would have altered the Republic in ways I cannot fully articulate. I do not agree with Ilya that such an over-inclusive approach would be justified. Such avulsive changes would tear at the fabric of our country on a quadrennial basis.

I acknowledge one perverse consequence of my theory–it would be easier to remove lower-level officers, whose powers may be relatively insignificant, but harder to remove the President, who personally wields "the executive power." I think that asymmetry must flow from how the President, and the Vice President, are selected: by a nationwide vote. "Officers of the United States" must be appointed pursuant to the Appointments Clause. The people had, at most, an indirect say in their selection. (I do not think members of Congress can be impeached.) I reject the argument that impeachments have the effect of "undoing" an election. But such frequent changes to our polity after elections would shake the faith the people place in the ballot box.

Moreover, frequent impeachments based on mere "abuses of power" would transform the impeachment process into the equivalent of a no-confidence vote. Many parliamentary countries around the world permit these types of proceedings. I offer no opinion on their strengths and weakness, but do not think they are consistent with our constitutional structure.

What then to do about a President who "engages in grave abuses of power" that do not rise to the level of impeachment? I find some solace for my position in the fact that members of Congress stand for election every two years. Midterm elections can allow new members to check the President's authority, both through legislation and oversight. The 2010 and 2018 midterm elections serve as important examples of the opposition party regaining control of Congress.

Practically speaking, neither of these options is particularly useful. First, Congress has delegated so much power to the President, and courts are generally deferential to those delegations. Most Presidents can find a statute to do just about anything they want. Consider the travel ban, for example. (In the two years since Trump v. Hawaii, the House has not passed any bill to modify 8 U.S.C. 1182(f)). Second, oversight requests can be ignored, and the courts are very slow to litigate subpoena cases. And even when subpoenas are honored, probative information is seldom revealed. Presidents have aggrandized far too much power. Congress only complains when the President in power uses that power in ways Congress disagrees with.

Ultimately, I find more solace in the short term of the President's tenure. Every four years, a President must stand for election. (Table for a moment objections to the Electoral College.) If the people decide to grant another term to the President, perhaps Congress is mistaken that he has "engage[d] in grave abuses of power." One person's "grave abuses of power" is another person's policy decisions. I often disagree with President Trump's actions, but I recognize that other people may reasonably draw different conclusions. I do not begrudge their choices. Such disagreements are part of any political give-and-take.

Four years may seem like an interminably long time. In the moment, absolutely. In hindsight, it moves with the blink of an eye. November 2020 will be here before you know it.

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  1. So “L’etat c’est moi” is just a policy difference then? Good to know.

    1. Oh, and it’s still illegal to solicit foreign help in an election even if you do believe you are so important that the nation can never go on without you.

      1. Can you tell me the statute that makes foreign help illegal?

        I’ve heard that assertion many times, after the election Mueller thoroughly investigated the Don Jr. Trump tower meeting, and made no assertion that a crime may have been committed. I’ve heard the counter assertion that when Hillary’s campaign hired a Steele, a UK citizen, who then started spreading Democratic money in Moscow then it must have been a crime, but no one ever cites a statute.

        As far as I can tell the misperception comes from Federal election law that band contributions from foreign Nationals or governments, and defines a contribution as anything of value. But that can’t include just plain old information. I could see it including services that would normally be charged for like a PI firm conducting an investigation for free, but police don’t charge for investigations, and asking the police to investigate a plausibly alleged crime couldn’t be considered a thing of value.

        I’d like to hear some sort of legal basis for claiming it’s a crime. We know both Mueller and the House impeachment never claimed it was criminal let alone cite a possible statute.

        1. It’s pretty well understood that campaign finance laws cannot treat speech as “a thing of value” for 1st amendment reasons. Well, pretty well understood by people who aren’t trying to use campaign finance laws as a weapon to get rid of freedom of speech.

          And even if foreign sourced information could be construed “a thing of value”, all you’d have to do is pay for it, since only foreign donations are barred. All Don Jr. needed as a defense was, “Well, if she’d had anything useful we’d have paid for it.” and Mueller knew it.

        2. You are correct that the normal laws cited in this context are campaign finance laws, and you are correct that they are problematic. Information is sometimes treated as a thing of value in campaign finance law — for instance, mailing/phone lists and polling data. But that’s sort of commodity information. Treating the recitation of ordinary historical facts as contributions is mostly unenforceable and poses 1A problems.

          Trump may have committed technical violations of the campaign finance laws, but that is not the appropriate lens through which to look at his abuses of power, IMO.

          Two errors unrelated to Trump:

          1) Clinton didn’t hire Steele. She hired Fusion GPS, a U.S. corporation.
          2) Hiring a foreigner wouldn’t be a campaign finance violation anyway. It’s not a campaign contribution to sell something — only to donate it.

          1. “only to donate it”

            … or to solicit the donation.

      2. “it’s still illegal to solicit foreign help in an election”

        No, it’s illegal to solicit foreign MONEY in an election.

        1. The Obama administration’s spying and investigation of the unfounded Trump-Russia conspiracy theory involved soliciting help from at least thirteen (13) foreign intelligence agencies.

      3. So, Otis, does that include travelling overseas and seeking endorsements from foreign government leaders?
        How about coordinating a foreign government release of hidden evidence in an ongoing investigation of an opposition party staff member?
        How about getting a foreign government to purchase an advertisement in a major US paper explicitly denouncing one candidate in favor of the other?

        Are any of those “illegal”?

    2. C’est la vie!

  2. “our Constitution does not allow Congress to take a vote of “no confidence” for a president who pursues legal policies”

    Withholding the aid was illegal both statutory and a violation of the Constitution. This makes a big difference.

    1. If it had been withheld, anyway, which it wasn’t.

      A delay which doesn’t stretch past the statutory deadline for paying is not “withholding”. You don’t suddenly have to spend the money extra fast if you see a benefit in waiting until the payment is due.

      1. Even if your argument were right — and it’s not, plus you ignore the fact that the money was only given because Trump got caught — your facts are wrong. The delay did stretch past the statutory deadline. Only some of the money was given then; Congress had to pass a new law to allow the balance of the money to be given.

        1. And this – The delay did stretch past the statutory deadline [NB: it was a delay of six days] – is what you find impeachment-worthy. You do know that if you set the bar here, every POTUS going forward can be impeached on these grounds. You really sure you want that?

          1. Of course it is almost always not an impeachable offense to delay a Congressional expenditure. But in this case, to those like Dershowitz who believe an egregious abuse of power without a violation of the law is not impeachable, the combination of the abuse of power and a legal violation ought to suffice.

            1. Almost always not…..but just this time…. conditional much?

              Josh, do you see the issue here? One standard. One set of weights and measures. Not one weight heavy, and the other light.

              Not, we’ll ignore the standard and make up our own standard just this one time…because Orange Man Bad.

              Tell me: Why not let the electorate deal with this in 10 months?

              1. Tell me: Why not let the electorate deal with this in 10 months?

                Because elections are not a substitute for removing people who abuse their office, and especially in this case where the abuse of office was directly aimed at tilting that election in his favor.

                There’s no, “If you abuse your office in the last two years of your term you get a free pass” provision of the constitution.

                1. So Obama should have been impeached over DACA which is a more egregious abuse of power than this piddly shit by Trump.

              2. I’m using a single standard.

          2. is what you find impeachment-worthy

            No. That’s not what I find impeachment worthy. I didn’t say that’s what I find impeachment worthy. I said that this was what was mistaken about Brett’s claim.

            You do know that if you set the bar here, every POTUS going forward can be impeached on these grounds. You really sure you want that?

            I think impeachment should be used much more frequently. The imperial presidency needs to be taken down a peg or six.

          3. It is already conceded that in the unlikely event a D is allowed to win the presidency that she would be immediately impeached.

        2. Well, the GAO opinion (not report) is disputed by the OMB, but even if the GAO were accurate, the law specifies that the correct action is for Congress to then vote on whether or not the delay is acceptable to them.
          The Act the GAO cites specifically says that if the President wants to defer or revoke the spending authority, he can stop the spending, and then wait up to 45 days for Congress to tell him he can. Otherwise, he can’t (and can’t try again).
          Trump didn’t get Congressional approval to stop the spending, but he also did not wait more than 45 days or refuse to spend after Congress confirmed that he must.
          Calling that “illegal” when it was done in accordance with the law is quite a stretch.

          Also, your mind-reading powers are amazing. Tell me, when did you use your telepathy to discover Trump’s motive for releasing the fund was because he “got caught”? If you had read his mind at the time, why didn’t you say anything then?

    2. “violation of the Constitution”

      What provision?

      1. “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,”

        1. “President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation” United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., 299 U.S. 304 (1936) at 319

          Congress acted in violation of the Constitution, not Trump, by invading the president’s Article II power over foreign relations.

          1. Lucky you can’t be disbarred for making up fake law on a blog.

            We’re not talking about speaking or listening¹; we’re talking about expending money, which Congress has the sole power of deciding under the constitution.²

            “It remains true, of course, that many decisions affecting
            foreign relations—including decisions that may determine
            the course of our relations with recognized countries—
            require congressional action. Congress may “regulate
            Commerce with foreign Nations,” “establish an uniform
            Rule of Naturalization,” “define and punish Piracies and
            Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations,” “declare War,” “grant Letters of
            Marque and Reprisal,” and “make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.” U. S.
            Const., Art. I, §8. In addition, the President cannot make
            a treaty or appoint an ambassador without the approval of
            the Senate. Art. II, §2, cl. 2. The President, furthermore,
            could not build an American Embassy abroad without
            congressional appropriation of the necessary funds. Art. I,
            §8, cl. 1. Under basic separation-of-powers principles, it is
            for the Congress to enact the laws, including “all Laws
            which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into
            Execution” the powers of the Federal Government. §8,
            cl. 18.

            In foreign affairs, as in the domestic realm, the Constitution “enjoins upon its branches separateness but interdependence, autonomy but reciprocity.” Youngstown, 343
            U. S., at 635 (Jackson, J., concurring). Although the President alone effects the formal act of recognition, Congress’
            powers, and its central role in making laws, give it substantial authority regarding many of the policy determinations that precede and follow the act of recognition itself.

            […]

            In practice, then, the President’s recognition determination is just one part of a political process that may require
            Congress to make laws. The President’s exclusive recognition power encompasses the authority to acknowledge, in a
            formal sense, the legitimacy of other states and governments, including their territorial bounds. Albeit limited,
            the exclusive recognition power is essential to the conduct
            of Presidential duties.”

            Zivotofsky ex rel. Zivotofsky v. Kerry, 135 S. Ct. 2076, 2087 (2015)

            ¹By the way, notice that the quote says “president,” not “president-elect.” When Trump’s crooked henchman Michael Flynn was negotiating with Russia while Obama was president, he (and Trump, if he was doing it at Trump’s direction) were violating that, as well.
            ²Well, of course the president has a say in that he can veto the decision, but once that time has passed, the president’s discretion comes to an end.

            1. “fake law”

              Its a real quote from Curtiss Wright. As real as your quotes.

              Money is speech, in foreign affairs no law can MAKE the president spend money. Nothing in your quotes says otherwise.

              The president may not be able to build an embassy on his own but Congress cannot make him locate an embassy where he does not want it to be either.

              Congress can declare war but they can’t make the president prosecute it.

              Congress can make rules for the army but it can’t tell the President which commander to pick for an attack.

              All powers have limits, including the power to spend money.

              1. No, Bob, money is not speech. That’s a left-wing caricature of the theory underlying decisions like Citizens United.

                I suppose one could argue, based on the president’s recognition power, that Trump could’ve withheld the funds from the government of the Ukraine if he had decided to recognize Putin rather than Zelensky as the legitimate leader of the Ukraine. But he didn’t do that, and so his recognition power is simply irrelevant to this discussion, and he does not have any other exclusive foreign policy power.

                1. “he does not have any other exclusive foreign policy power”

                  Not remotely true.

          2. Did you forget about the slendjng power? Does your expansive view of Trump executive power include that as well?

    3. What was the statutory deadline for spending the money and when was it actually spent? If the administration spent the money on or before the statutory deadline then there was no “delay” or “withholding” of the money.

      1. The money was not spent before the deadline, but your claim flunks English, as well.

        If you tell me that you’re going to the post office, and I hand you my credit card payment and ask you to mail it, and you take it and shove it in the bottom of your briefcase and mail it three weeks later, the fact that it arrived before the payment date would not mean that there wasn’t a three week “delay” in your mailing it.

        1. What was the statutory deadline and when was the money actually spent?

          1. September 30 was the deadline. Much of the money got there before then, but $35 million did not, and Congress has to pass a new law to allow that $35 million to be spent.

            1. Thank you David.

  3. One person’s “grave abuses of power” is another person’s policy decisions. I often disagree with President Trump’s actions, but I recognize that other people may reasonably draw different conclusions. I do not begrudge their choices. Such disagreements are part of any political give-and-take.

    ^^ This. I am sure there were plenty of people grinding their teeth during Obama’s terms in office.

    Our elected leaders have shown themselves uniquely unable to resolve their political differences. Therefore, We the People will settle this at the ballot box in November.

    1. A thought experiment helps to highlight the problem that our elected leaders are unable to deal with what constitutes a “grave abuse of power.” Imagine the same scenario except substitute “Obama” for “Trump” and “Romney” for “Biden.” Sadly, I would expect the roles of Democrats and Republicans to be reversed. But, they shouldn’t be. The conduct is easily impeachable no matter who engaged in it.

      1. Well, not really Josh. To what scenario do you refer?

        Obama literally used the IRS to target people who had different political viewpoints, and was not impeached. Obama literally spied on American journalists, dozens of them, and was not impeached. We can argue whether he should have been impeached or not.

        Your ‘whataboutism’ thought experiment is not making it for me.

        1. “Literally” does not mean what you think it does.

        2. If it can be proven that Obama used the IRS to target his political opponents for political gain, that is an impeachable offense in my opinion. The charge sounds like a Sean Hannity talking point.

          1. Yes, the GOP investigated this extensively, and as far as we know never found anything liking Obama to Lois Lerner’s conduct. I think it safe to say that if they had, we’d have heard about it.

        3. No he did not do that.

  4. “I often disagree with President Trump’s actions . . . ”

    ‘but I eagerly and repeatedly crawl naked over broken glass and poison-painted land mines to propose a legal justification for those actions.’

    “{O]ften disagree” is as silly as “Often libertarian” in this context.

  5. If Ilya’s standard is correct, then it would have been appropriate to remove nearly a quarter of American Presidents. Every generation would have at least one convicted President. To get Trump, would it be worth it to remove the prior nine presidents: Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama (well, exclude Nixon, and perhaps Clinton)?

    I’m okay with that. Pour encourager les autres.

    Such avulsive changes would tear at the fabric of our country on a quadrennial basis.

    I think you have this wrong. It’s treated as so traumatic precisely because it’s rare; if it were common, then it would be treated as more normal. (We don’t treat elections as tearing at the fabric of the country, even though they can result in a drastic shift in power. Why? Because they’re common and people are used to them.)

    1. “It is better that ten innocent Presidents suffer than one Orange Man escape”?

  6. Does anyone else find the phrases “personal political benefit” and personal political gain” problematic?

    Performing official acts for personal gain (a judge ruling for one side in a lawsuit in return for a cash payoff) is obviously unacceptable. Performing official acts for political gain (vote for or against a bill or nominee, or else you will lose the primary) is obviously acceptable, or should be. The use of the term “personal political benefit” seems to be an attempt to conflate the two, and thereby taint ordinary and customary political behavior.

    1. Do you think that tasking your personal attorney to pressure a foreign government to announce an investigation of your political opponent is ordinary and customary political behavior?

      1. Given the large number of presidents of both parties who have tasked their personal attorneys or other non-ambassadorial friends, colleagues and coworkers with all sorts of quasi-diplomatic communications and actions all through history, I think that part of your argument is hyperbole. Unless you are really going to argue that all those presidents going back to at least Jefferson were in the wrong even though no one ever even hinted to such a position until Trump?

        That leaves pressuring a foreign government to investigate your political opponent – again, something that presidents and politicians on both sides have done for many years with no one previously raising an objection. In fact, in more than a few cases (where the investigation actually uncovered corruption), the foreign cooperation was lauded on both sides. What makes this suddenly different?

        1. When have presidents pressured a foreign government to investigate a political opponent?

          1. When have they not? With two exceptions, I can think of examples for every modern president going back at least to Roosevelt. (The exceptions are Eisenhower and Carter – who may also have done it but I don’t know about it.) As several people have pointed out above, Obama pressured up to 13 different foreign governments to help investigate his political opponents.

            It may be the wrong thing to do. It may be unethical. It may even be illegal (though I think probably not). But it is definitely not unusual.

  7. This is awful. Normalizing Trump’s conduct to own the libs.

    This is dangerous to the republic, and Prof. Blackman should be ashamed that his chosen defense is to normalize Trump’s use of America’s law enforcement & diplomatic functions.

    From Marty Lederman: “When McGahn told Trump it’d be unethical for him to pressure Sessions to “unrecuse” so as to be able to control the investigation to Trump’s benefit, he responded:
    You’re telling me that . . . Obama didn’t tell Eric Holder who to investigate?”
    As if everyone knows that every President directs Attorney Generals to use the prosecutorial function to protect friends/injure enemies.

    The Roy Cohn view of the world. ”

    Prof. Adler is right that Trump’s wrongs are well above what Blackman is saying they are. But in my opinion that’s merely why you’re wrong. This rout of defense is why you’re debilitating our form of government to defend your guy.

    Shame.

    1. Warren just announced she will form a special Justice unit to investigate the outgoing administation. Calling it corrupt etc.

      Comments?

      1. Letting the torturers, mercenaries, and war profiteers off the hook was a substantial mistake by Democrats a few years ago. I hope that mistake will not be repeated with respect to the Trump administration’s corruption.

        Most of the damage to wrongdoers, however, will be precipitated by the inevitable revelation of misconduct. The Republicans are merely fighting about when the information is to be disclosed to the public.

      2. An independent commission within the DOJ that would not answer to the White House. Absolutely in support. We should have had one look into the build-up to Iraq. And if it will make you feel better, I’d support the creation of such a commission at the start of every new presidency. I might even support it after each term.

        1. What is an “independent” task force?

          You are advocating for permanent prosecution of political enemies by the incoming party. Ask the citizens of the Roman Republic how that turned out.

          1. Hillary has been investigated pretty much without end since the time the GOP took over control of Congress. I didn’t hear your concern then.

          2. I hope you’re attractive because brains aren’t getting you anywhere. Where did I say anything about “permanent prosecution of political enemies”?

            An independent commission is one, in this context, that would be established by the DOJ to do a full review of the previous administration with the focus on corrupt practices and egregious abuses of power. Lesser issues would be referred to the proper Internal Affairs agency much in the way crimes outside the Mueller review were. It would not be answerable and would not report to the White House. And it would provide a mandatory complete report to both Congress and the public. Man. Da. Tory. That’s the rough sketch.

            But why the flop sweat? Yes, the grifters, conmen and demolitionists in this admin would be the first affected, but you’d get your pounds of flesh, too. Probably not as much but there’s always a stink that leads to something rotten somewhere.

            1. “Where did I say anything about “permanent prosecution of political enemies”?”

              Its the effect of your proposal.

              If outgoing politicians are going to be routinely investigated by their political enemies, they will take steps to ensure their political enemies never come to power.

      3. Where’s the personal benefit there, Bob?

        1. She punishes her political opponents.

          1. After they’ve left office, they are not her opponents.

            You okay?

            1. “After they’ve left office, they are not her opponents. ”

              Biden left office in 2017. So, not a Trump opponent?

              1. You think Trump is going to run against Warren?

    2. This is awful. Normalizing Trump’s conduct to own the libs.

      Sarcastro, I think it’s a mistake to see the impeachment process, which basically can’t remove a President without an overwhelming societal consensus that favors immediate removal, as “normalizing conduct”.

      Elections normalize conduct. If a party thinks that if they do X, they will lose the election, they won’t do it. It doesn’t matter if they won’t get impeached. They won’t do it.

      1. And besides, Obama investigated his political opponent with the help of 13 foreign intelligence agencies.

        Who is normalizing what conduct now exactly?

        1. Your conspiracy theory may fool you, but it doesn’t fool anyone else. Obama didn’t do anything; there is no evidence he ordered anything at all.
          The IG found the investigation was properly predicated and nonpolitical.

          Take off your tin foil.

          1. I meant the Obama administration. And that’s exactly what happened. Furthermore, we now find the DOJ has admitted the FISA warrants were not properly predicated. The IG never said otherwise, but only opined that the earlier counter-intelligence investigation was properly predicated.

            You are so dense it’s amazing. Your stubborn refusal to face facts is just a severe mental condition of political bias I guess.

      2. I’m not talking about the process, I’m talking about this op ed.

  8. If the people decide to grant another term to the President, perhaps Congress is mistaken that he has “engage[d] in grave abuses of power.”

    This amounts to allowing any Presidential act as long as it is popular. Constitutional limits of power and guarantees of rights exist precisely to prevent that.

  9. Please help me out on this one.
    How in the world is Joe (or Hunter) Biden the President’s political rival????
    Biden has not one a single delegate, much less his partys nomination.
    Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg are Bidens political rivals, not the President.

    Does running for the nomination of a party for President make one immune to investigation for corruption? If so, how did Obama investigate Trump, who was the nominee???? And against Obama’s Secretary of State????

  10. This is essentially my view. Ukraine was political dealings, which you can disagree with and take your opinion to the ballot box. Vote out the President if you don’t like his dealings, or vote for opposing Congressmen who can be a check on his power. But it doesn’t rise anywhere near the level of impeachable. We should’ve impeached probably every single President if that was the bar.

  11. Just out of idle curiosity, what is the historical scholarship that supports your assertion that impeachment and removal of a president from office was only intended to be used as “…an emergency measure to save the Republic in free-fall.” Pretty amusing that your post comes right after one talking about left-leaning historians using shoddy scholarship to make contemporary political points.

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