I hope that Nancy Pelosi realizes very soon that to stop the most dangerous autocrat in our nation’s history from stealing the next election, Democrats need to begin impeachment hearings now. Here are three essential reasons why:
- Democrats Must Own the Investigation Narrative or They Will Lose it to Trump’s Diabolical Plan to Prosecute His Investigators.
During his Pennsylvania rally on May 20, Trump expanded his “witch-hunt” narrative and gave a preview of his re-election strategy for countering the numerous investigations into his actions and shady past. It will be the same strategy that Trump’s mentor Roy Cohn taught him 45 years ago: counter-attack, lie, and never relent.
At his latest rally, Trump accused the F.B.I. of treason, paused, and allowed the chants of “Lock Them Up” to resound. He then promised that Attorney General Barr, who has already effectively deceived millions of Americans about the findings of the Mueller report, will give “a very fair look” to prosecuting, for treason, those who dared investigate his Russian connections.
Three days later, Trump issued a new executive order giving Barr, as attorney general, broad authority to declassify government secrets and politicize intelligence to selectively reveal information that casts the FB.I, C.I.A. and N.S.A. in a negative light for “spying” on Trump. Giving an official who is not in charge of an intelligence agency the power to reveal its secrets has never been done before which, and, according to U.S. officials cited by the Washington Post, “threatens to expose U.S. intelligence sources and could distort the FBI and CIA’s roles in investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections.”
Barr’s unprecedented investigation of the investigators is underway. We can be sure that Trump’s Senate Republican enablers will add their own kangaroo court hearings into why Trump’s campaign was “spied” on, and cross examine “treasonous” law enforcement agents seeking to thwart his efforts to Make America Great.
If the Democrats fail to use Congresses’ impeachment powers to publicize Trump’s probable crimes they will cede the investigatory soapbox to Trump and his minions.
Some will see through his tactics and vote against him. But for all too many voters with short attention spans, the Mueller report may soon come to be seen as a political attack by the notorious “deep state.”
2) Impeachment is the Only Process that Can Expose the Corruption of Our Mad Would-Be King.
There is only one Constitutionally-derived mechanism to challenge a corrupt President claiming the powers of an autocratic despot: this is the Congressional power of impeachment.
Impeachment is being misunderstood by some Democrats as meaningless unless the Senate votes to remove the President from office.
This misses the point. Impeachment is an investigatory process designed to insure the transparency, accountability and integrity of our government. The process may be the only means of piercing the iron veil of secrecy that Trump has erected around his misdeeds. He is blocking every subpoena that Congress has brought, knowing that with his reliable fixer Bret Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, he has a good chance of getting a rubber stamp for his unconstitutional power play, while wearing out the clock while he steals the headlines.
A majority of Americans may not support impeachment at this moment, but, thanks to a campaign of lies by Trump, his attorney General Barr, and Fox News few of them actually know what the Mueller report uncovered. A courageous, historic statement by 900 former federal prosecutors, all of them legal experts who actually understand Mueller’s 400 page report, challenged Barr’s deception by explaining that, “Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.”
Americans can be forgiven for not noticing this unprecedented statement because they were distracted by Trump’s latest outrageous tirade or headline-grabbing unconstitutional action. This is the way he operates, knowing that the more complex news of his criminality will evade our sound bite news culture.
The one thing that will keep the public eye and news headlines on the real record of President “Don the Con” Trump will be a parade of Michael Cohen-like witnesses legally sworn to tell the truth to Congress, day after day and month after month, right up until the next election is on everybody’s minds.
Only a prolonged empowered fact-finding campaign of Trump’s unfitness for office can, for those with short attention spans, sway public opinion about the trustworthiness of our President—and convince millions of swing voters to send him packing on Election Day.
The impeachment process could also create a “long tail” of accountability for decades to come. As Elizabeth Warren recently explained, “Every single person in the House and the Senate should take a vote on whether what Donald Trump did to obstruct justice was an impeachable offense. And then they ought to have to live with that vote for the rest of their lives.”
3) The Political Graveyard is Full of Folks Who Have Underestimated Trump’s Dark Power.
What has allowed Trump, despite his history of failures and broken contracts, to win time and time again is that politicians, courts, journalists and citizens cannot imagine — and are unprepared to respond to — anyone who lies, cons and plays on feelings of anger and victimhood as well as Donald Trump.
The refusal of Democratic Party leaders to initiate impeachment relies on the assumption that, even without it, Americans will vote him out of office in 2020.
This is wishful thinking. With the help of the Fox News propaganda network, Trump has managed, in the eyes of millions, to recast professional news gathering organizations as fake-news-reporting “enemies of the people.” His self-serving lying is limitless.
Trump is a terrible businessman and the laziest, most narcissistic president ever. But he does one thing really well: Trump knows how to do whatever it takes to win.
In a recent interview, Professor Benjamin Hett, who has written four books on the Nazi’s rise to power, observed, “Hitler could only make angry arguments. Trump, too can’t make an appeal to reason. All he can do is push the anger button and throw abuse at people. In a sense, he is just lucky that the one thing he can do is something that resonates with a certain segment of the population.”
In light of Trump’s past, thinking that Democrats can beat Trump’s xenophobic and racist narratives of victimhood by appealing to common decency underestimates our president’s dark power. It is like bringing chop sticks to fight a back alley brawl against a bully armed with a spike-tipped baseball bat.
I have some personal experience underestimating Donald Trump. As I recounted in a recent Washington Post expose that received national attention, 35 years after I first interviewed Donald Trump for the Forbes 400, I discovered an audio tape of my phone interview with his “Vice President of Finance” John Baron and realized that it was Trump’s voice, and that John Baron never existed. It was part of a campaign that conned me and Forbes into putting him on the Forbes 400 when he should never have been there.
In Trump’s Pennsylvania rally Monday night, Trump tipped his hand on how high the stakes are for the next election. He told the crowd, “We’re going to have a second [term], and then we’re going to have another one. We’ll drive them crazy. And maybe if we really like it a lot, and if things keep going like they are going, we’ll go and we’ll do what we have to do, and a three [terms] and a four, and a five.”
My new dystopian novel, America 2034: Utopia Rising,” envisions President for Life Donald Trump, in his fifth term, ruling a nightmarish kleptocracy in which two-thirds of Americans toil in slave labor camps. The book starts with Trump stealing the 2020 election, and then doing “what he has to do” to end term limits, which requires jailing all opponents and amending the Constitution.
I am far from alone in my concern about Trump conning America out of our democracy. In a recent interview, Nancy Pelosi echoed Michael Cohen’s shocking warning to Congress that he believed Trump would contest the results of a lost 2020 election, refuse to leave office, and throw the nation into chaos.
After all, just to build his unpopular wall Trump defied 230 years of constitutionally-mandated congressional budgetary powers by declaring a State of Emergency. What might he do if he were facing a humiliating defeat that would remove him from political power and subject him and his family to criminal charges?
That’s why Democrats need to keep the spotlight on his many misdeeds by beginning impeachment hearings now, before Donald Trump does what he does best, seizes the microphone for his lies, and abuses his power to do whatever it takes to win.