OK this is my first real big status update in a while. This is a long time coming but I'm going to reflect on politics for a sec.
Disclaimer: *THIS IS NOT AN ARGUMENT OVER THE MERITS OF THE PRESIDENT SPECIFICALLY, BUT RATHER A REFLECTION ON THE PROCESS AND OBJECTIONS FOR THE IMPEACHMENT. THIS MEANS WERE NOT HERE FOR WHETHER HE'S A GOOD OR BAD PRESIDENT BUT WHETHER OR NOT THE DEMOCRATS HANDLED THEIR CONCERNS CORRECTLY. NO POLITICAL BATTLES! THE MODS WILL BE ON THIS QUICK IF THAT HAPPENS, SO LET'S KEEP THIS CIVIL AS POSSIBLE!
TLDR: The impeachment process is, at this point, just barely above useless due to lack of impartial judges, poor timing and missed opportunities
Again we're not here to argue for or against impeachment or removal, but rather assuming the process to be inevitable, how should it have been handled. With that in mind, I don't think he should have been impeached right now for the Ukraine Scandal.
This should have happened a LONG time ago if it was going to happen.
So I'm going to start by separating two points not only for semantics and defining my position but also to keep the topic on the facts and process, not personal opinions.
So I'm separating points of whether we think an action was morally wrong or not vs whether it is factually legal or illegal.
1. Let's take a look at the current charges
A. Abuse of power (Ukraine Call) - I don't know all the law and precedents, but from my perspective, this is a grey area where we are questioning moral wrongdoing. Facts are he placed the call, a gov official was worried and reported it. The call was hidden on a server to protect the president. It came to public attention that a whistleblower reported the call. Trump was so confident that he did nothing wrong that he willingly let the public read it. In the record of the call, he said he would like a favor though. I am not a lawyer, but a youtube channel that does legal analysis broke down the quid pro quo for us.
Both from my own analysis and reading along with the legal definitions found in the video, I would say it is factual that there was a Quid Pro Quo. It was even admitted by Mick Mulvaney that it was a Quid Pro Quo, who has since stepped back on his wording of it. So if we take the legal definitions, the record of the call, and the blunt admittance by staff, and we call this factually a quid pro quo, then we get to the harder question. Is a quid pro quo illegal?
For me this is two questions.
1. Is quid pro quo illegal in itself?
As far as I can tell, no. It is used often in foreign policy and is nothing new or explicitly given as being illegal. Bribery however is factually illegal.
Most of the legal questioning seems to fall on the next question.
2. Are the leverages he used and the gains he received from the quid pro quo a problem?
So the gains the received are questionable. I don't think it's a far stretch to assume his political gain from investigating his potential rival in the next election. If his intent was factually proven or admitted to be a political motivation, then this would be factually illegal, possibly considered bribery. As it stands unless he admits or we find written evidence of that motivation, we are only assuming and cannot legally prove his motivations. Common sense arguments are not admissible as fact in court, so this one stands as questionable.
So for the first charge of abuse of power during a call with Ukraine, we are left with arguing intentions. Sure the democrats had enough in house to impeach him on this and the second charge, but when it comes to arguing the opinion of whether it was wrong enough to remove him from office, we all know where this goes once it hits Senate. And whether you are happy or sad for this outcome, it is obvious from past rhetoric and examples that Trump will take the non removal and spin it as an exoneration of all crimes, likely even claiming it nullifies the impeachment decision, which is factually not true yet has already been claimed by many who favor him. More than likely, these factually inaccurate claims will empower his movement and base, bringing him closer to re-election next year.
B. Obstruction of Congress - Factually accurate and illegal. He blocked the necessary testimony of a constitutionally approved process. Having said this, this one depends on the impeachment proceedings happening at all. This has precedent in a contempt of court or other charge given during a normal court case for behaviour during the trial. Honestly I think this is the strongest charge of the two both in facts and precedent. It is not a good thing when the strongest case you have against a murderer is that he didn't sit still during his trial
Again I'm not going to argue for or against the president or his actions here. But I will say this was NOT the thing to impeach him with.
This goes to a larger problem which is timing. The accused side of any political trial like this always has someone complaining it is rushed, put together hastily because of lack of evidence. This is a ridiculous argument. I believe that an impeachment proceeding should be dealt with the same way a police officer is put on a temporary suspension while investigating a possible wrongful death or other issue. If the president is doing something bad enough for you to say he needs to be removed from office, then why let him continue sitting there while you deliberate?
Similar to how a judge can decide whether or not a defendant has the option for bail during a trial, we should be deciding immediately that this accused offence is either illegal or harmful enough to warrant a temporary suspension of duty or not. If the offense being argued doesn't have enough grounding to warrant a few days of suspension while deliberating, then it probably doesn't have the legal grounding to get the official in question impeached or removed from office.
How do we decide this though? Well for this I think there is a major problem with the entire impeachment process as a whole. It doesn't include an impartial judge. For those arguing the process is too politically motivated, well of course it is! The house has the sole power of impeachment and the senate has the trial and is "judge and jury", meaning any political majority in either the house or senate can have a large potential impact on the impeachment, regardless of facts or law. A prime example of this is the second charge in this trial. Trump factually obstructed the powers of congress to issue subpoenas during this trial. That is a fact, and a crime. Despite this, when it gets to the senate, there is no constitutionally bound legal expert (ergo a judge) presiding. If we found an email from Trump saying he bribed ukraine for dirt on biden for no other reason than to stop biden in the election, or even an email saying he worked with putin to rig the election, even in those circumstances, the impeachment would still go to senate and they could just pretend he hadn't admitted to it and not remove him. My point being the impeachment is lacking fair and impartial judges. In the current political system, any president or anyone who holds a political office has a political party they back. It is unreasonable to assume the members of this party will always care more about facts and law than keeping their political agenda going by supporting the office holder when a trial comes along. If I killed a man and was on trial, this whole thing would be similar to the policeman being the man's family and the courtroom judge and jury all being my closest friends and family. Judges are held to a higher standard and should be a part of the process here.
IMO the ideal scenario is a panel of all nine supreme court justices being called as soon as accusations are being brought against an official. The official would be out of office for 3-5 days or shorter if the deliberation is quick.In the case of the president, the vice would temporarily take over while the panel would discuss the following:
1. Whether the charges are impeachable, based on precedent, the constitution, and their legal expertise as members of the supreme court
2. Whether the charges are of a legal factual basis (Crime is clear, evidence is clear and present already) or part of the "high crimes and misdemeanor" category of grey area left in the constitution. This essentially is saying if this were a normal citizen in a normal criminal case, would it be cut and dry or not.
3. Whether the charges are of a serious enough matter to warrant the official being removed from office during the extended trial or whether he can be trusted to continue work in the government while the trial goes on.
Again all this needs to be viewed from "if this were any citizen", because the main issue is that no one should be above the law. But because someone is president they have an entirely different trial and proceedings. I'm fine with things being different because the nature of the position and the implications of either outcome are vastly different than a normal citizen, btu this cannot be an excuse to allow the president to be above the law. As I said before, even with solid factual proof of crimes, a political motivation can currently keep a public official from facing the same impartial judge and jury that every other citizen has to go through.
After these questions were initially answered by the panel, the impeachment proceedings would either proceed from there or be blocked entirely. The reason I say this is because right now the president has been impeached. That is a fact, but it is almost meaningless, and we still have to go to a biased judge/jury who have already told us they plan to block it before the trial has even occurred. What I propose makes sure that a president cannot be impeached for just whatever because the house is majority one side or the other. The charges themselves would be scrutinized before they had the chance to mark someone permanently in the history books as being officially impeached. I further believe that same panel of judges presides as the judge/jury of the actual trial if the charges continue past the initial scrutiny of the panel.
One thing I do agree on is house starting and senate ending the process. The house of representatives is much larger and by name designed to better represent the needs/desires/opinions of the country. Senate only has 100 members and will be better for keeping a concise trial.
So tldr up to this point is
1. that's the wrong thing to impeach
2. there's serious flaws in the structure of the impeachment process.
The last argument I want to make is about number 1. I say this was the wrong thing to impeach about. So If I favored impeachment, what was my alternative. This brings us back to timing.
Impeachment should have started right at the beginning. The reason I say this is because there were far more factual offenses from day 1 than the ukraine call. The emoluments clause in the constitution aims to prevent corruption and foreign influence in the presidency by making any potential president willingly give up control of any business assets or interests which may be corruptible during the time of their term. Trump has repeatedly refused to turn over any control of his businesses or ventures. I would personally argue the family separation policy that he started was a human rights violation. I'm not sure of the legal precedent of human rights violations being a crime, but I'm positive it would have been easier to argue that the quid pro quo on this call.Again I'm not here to argue for or against him, but there were simply other opportunities to bring charges against him from day 1. Regardless of your political leaning, the following statement is undeniably true.
Whether you agree or disagree with the vast number of scandals against the president, we can all agree the number has been VAST.
There are dozens of websites trying to track the nearly countless numbers of accusations against Donald Trump.
This one, for it's obvious bias, does a great job of sorting "trump scandals" from "scandals by his staff/administration"
The Wikipedia article on this breaks the scandals into categories and alphabetizes the list for us.
The simple fact is this Ukraine call has not been the first thing Democrats believed to be wrong or even illegal!
The timing of this impeachment has been as if I saw my son taking a kid from my daughter, told him that was wrong and then let him do it a hundred more times before I finally decided to put him in time out. And the worst part is how it looks. By not punishing my son the first time, or the second time or the 35th time, I've taught him that he can get away with it most of the time, and when I finally get mad enough to stop him, It will be a slap on the wrist and two minutes in the corner and he can continue doing it another hundred times.
TLDR: If you agree with the scandals he has had up to this point, you have had dozens of opportunities to impeach him for far worse and far more cut and dry offenses than this call.
Furthermore doing this NOW, AFTER damage has been done is scolding a teen driver for wrecking the car after spending 20 minutes watching him speed in a rainstorm. Especially the time being this is about to be a new election, so any support for the president during the impeachment and the lack of senate support in removing him from office will only serve to embolden the president and the party behind them.
It's no secret that I don't favor him, but this is a criticism not only of the process itself but of how it has been timed and handled by Democrats. They impeached for the wrong offense, went too narrow in even that offense, only making two charges, and did all of this too little too late. Democrats aside, I think the entire process is lacking impartial oversight and only encourages political slandering.
That is the end of my rant. Again, no he's good or he's bad in the comments. Only replies about the process and how it's been handled.