Why shouldn't Donald Trump be charged?

Impeachment against US presidents : Trump would have to be charged with many more offenses

Elizabeth Drew is a Washington journalist and author of the new book "Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon's Downfall"

Even if US President Donald Trump has been mocking the impeachment process for months, he definitely didn't want it. No president wants that because something like that is always a dirty stain on his vest. And Trump has probably never really been held accountable in his life. Since the House of Representatives, which is dominated by the Democrats, became active, he has been boiling with rage for weeks.

But despite all the comments about the "scope" of the impeachment decision of the house, the occasion seems somehow anemic. The reason for this, in my opinion, is that the charges do not do justice to the scope and gravity of Trump's violations of his oath of office.

These violations are manifold: Trump systematically ignored the separation of powers that is so central to the US constitutional system.

For example, he was annoyed that Congress denied him all the funds he wanted for his utopian wall along the border with Mexico. So he just siphoned off the money from what Congress had earmarked for the Department of Defense.

In addition, Trump has disregarded the constitutionally regulated prohibition of ancillary income - in the form of money or personal benefits from foreign governments, which - sometimes on an extravagant scale - do business in his many hotels and golf clubs. And he also found other ways to silverise his presidency.

Favoring in its purest form

In addition, he has tried to supply friendly companies with government tenders - or to exclude those he does not like, such as Amazon, whose founder Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post is. And according to the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump has tried to obstruct investigations into his campaign team's ties with Russia.

But since a Justice Department rule from Richard Nixon's presidency prevents an incumbent president from being prosecuted, Mueller has begged Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings against Trump on the basis of ten specific acts.

Compared to this list - which is probably still incomplete - the two impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress seem like lukewarm beer to many.

On July 25, 2019, Trump tried to force Volodimir Zelensky, the newly elected President of Ukraine, to conduct a state investigation into Joe Biden, a Democratic candidate for the 2020 election - and against his son Hunter, who opposed himself during his father was US Vice President and responsible for US policy in the region, was awkwardly appointed to the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

At the heart of this charge was that Trump, by withholding Congress-approved military aid against Russia-attacked Ukraine, was taking advantage of his government position to gain himself.

Dictatorial behavior

The second charge against Trump was for "obstructing Congress" - that is, for banning his advisors from testifying to Congress and congressional investigators about the Ukraine affair any to hand over the desired documents. No president before him, not even Nixon, has ever acted so dictatorially.

Nancy Pelosi, the spokeswoman for the House of Representatives, has long resisted impeachment - fearing that it could mobilize Trump's supporters for the 2020 presidential election. She also feared the process could jeopardize Democratic control over the House, which will also be re-elected next year.

To secure the majority and her own position as spokesperson, she cannot afford to lose many of the 41 Democrats who took over former Republican seats in the 2018 midterm elections - seats from districts that Trump won in 2016.

But when Trump's behavior towards Ukrainian President Zelensky came to light, Pelosi came under increasing pressure from the democratic faction in the house to open an impeachment investigation.

She and her close ally Adam Schiff, the chairman of the US House of Representatives Committee on Intelligence, who had also campaigned against impeachment, now concluded that Trump's reluctance to approve military aid to Ukraine had endangered national security.

The blackmail of Ukraine meets with understanding

They also believed this was a subject that the public might understand. Additionally, some of the Democratic newcomers recruited by Pelosi and others are veterans of the military or the CIA.

The Democratic leadership believed such candidates would have better chances of winning in Republican counties, and that turned out to be correct. And although these newcomers had spoken out against impeachment, they could identify with the link to national security.

For these reasons, Trump's Ukrainian scams became the basis for the charges against him. At the hearings that Schiff held on the subject, many government officials who disregarded Trump's order of silence confirmed that the US's official Ukraine policy was through a foreign policy

Single-handedly bypassed under the direction of Trump's private attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Myths spread in the process included a hoax published by the Kremlin that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 elections to help Hillary Clinton.

The charges should not be limited to the Ukraine affair

Many, including myself, believe that the charges against Trump should not be limited to the Ukraine affair. You'd think the Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives failed to see the true nature of Trump's presidency, and tactically speaking, anyway, given their sectarian support for Trump, it would be better to force Republicans into more than one issue in him To take protection. But it is no coincidence that Pelosi is the House Spokesperson: she knows her faction, and the new members want well-defined reasons for the charge that they can easily explain to their constituents.

For Pelosi, Schiff and their allies, time is an important factor: They did not want the impeachment and subsequent Senate proceedings to extend too far into the presidential election year. Schiff publicly stressed that it was important to prevent Trump from again allowing one or more foreign states to interfere in a presidential election.

Trump wants a trial quickly - for fear of new revelations?

But almost nothing goes smoothly when it comes to Trump: After the two impeachment charges were established, Pelosi announced that she would withhold them instead of, as traditionally, forward them to the Senate - where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced had that he would oppose an impeachment of Trump and make common cause with the White House in staging the trial.

[Translated from the English by Harald Eckhoff. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2019. www.project-syndicate.org]

Pelosi had hoped to influence the Senate's procedural rules. Given a disagreement between McConnell and his Democratic colleague Charles Schumer, Congress broke up without resolving a number of important questions about the Senate process - including the important issue of whether or not to allow witnesses to be called.

McConnell's leeway is limited, however, because Trump urgently - and soon - wants a trial. Since a two-thirds majority is required to find him guilty and remove him from office, the president expects to be acquitted. But the more time it takes to go to trial in the Senate, the sooner it is possible for new and explosive revelations to come to light.

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