24 October 2019

Unlawful and Disorderly

Since before World War II, the GOP has styled itself as the "law and order party." Against that background, consider the following three events which happened yesterday:

First, Matthew Whitaker, who served for a period as Donald Trump's acting attorney general, said yesterday in a television interview, in defense of the President, that "abuse of power is not a crime" (details here). What he failed to mention — or possibly even grasp — is that it's not necessary to commit an actual crime in order to be impeached. Some of Richard Nixon's articles of impeachment, for instance, did not involve crimes either and included abuse of power.

Impeachment is not a legal process but a political process. It is up to the House and no one else to determine whether or not a President has committed impeachable acts (details here).

But we should all thank Whitaker for affirming that Trump has engaged in abuse of power.

Second, in a federal court yesterday, Trump's lawyers argued that the President cannot be prosecuted or even investigated for any crimes he commits while in office, even if it's murder in broad daylight in front of witnesses on live television (details here). His attorneys were making this argument in an attempt to stop a criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney into possible tax and loan fraud committed by Trump.

The only remedy, his lawyers asserted, would be to impeach Trump should be commit a crime, remove him from office, and then prosecute him as an ordinary citizen. What Trump's attorneys failed to mention in court, however, is that Trump himself refuses to admit that impeachment is a valid process and his instructed his administration to ignore every subpoena for documents and appearances before relevant House committees.

Third, panicked about how the House Intelligence Committee hearings are uncovering damning information about Trump's quid pro quo crimes in Ukraine, with the President's approval and blessing, some hard-right Congressmen stormed a closed-door hearing yesterday, forcing a six-hour delay in testimony (details here). They claimed they acted to urge "transparency" but it's patently clear to everyone they were trying to disrupt the impeachment process.

So do these three actions sound like something a "law and order" party would endorse? Or are they the actions of a party that favors the unlawful and disorderly in defense of a deeply corrupt and criminal President?

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