Three times since I turned 30, we have experienced the Constitutional impeachment process; twice by a Democrat House or Representatives, once by a Republican House.
Being a Nixon man I suffered greatly during the Nixon impeachment process that ended with hsi resignation. I further believed that a unanimous Supreme Court decision forced Nixon to turn over to Congress audio tapes of incriminating private conversations. Without the tapes Nixon would have survived.
Nixon turned over the tapes; they led to his downfall. Republican Senators went to the White House and told Nixon he was done.
He resigned before the House impeached him.
Next came William Jefferson Clinton, the “Aw shucks” southern boy that literally savaged Presidential integrity he inherited from history. Not only by lying to a grand jury but by organizing a gigantic “suspect” enterprise of his post-Presidency Clinton Foundation.
Since President George Washington, generally speaking, American Presidents managed to keep scandals away from themselves. The Harding/Coolidge Presidencies tested history, as did Harry Truman (Freezers) and fur coats during Eisenhower’s years. Then came Nixon.
The Watergate “Third Rate” burglary attempt by Republican operatives ended Nixon’s Presidency.
The Constitution’s Article 1, Section 2 grants the House the exclusive power to impeachment U.S. officers. The 1973-4 public was fascinated of evidence against Nixon. Eventually, the public shifted from no impeachment to impeachment and that led Republican Senators to dump Nixon.
The evidence was such, people, including me, changed their minds. The day Nixon resigned, a healthy American majority was for impeachment and removal from office of the man who scored a record electoral victory when he carried 49 of the 50 United States in1972. He resigned in disgrace.
Totally corrupt Bill Clinton (proven by his post-President years through his Clinton Foundation) did not resign and had better approval numbers after the Republican House impeached him. Despite a sham trial in the Senate, Clinton did not change his ways and left office on January 20th, 2001, with a massively corrupt “pardon” of a fleeing wanted criminal – Marc Rich – whose wife was a perfect example of Bill Clinton’s personal corruption. The impeachment labeled Clinton forever.
Today, we are in the middle of another Presidential impeachment.
President Trump has brought it on himself. He attacked almost 40 million Mexican Americans and 120 million next-door Mexicans during his formal announcement for President. He falsely mouthed vicious characterizations of the trillion-dollar-a-day trade with our number one trading partner, Mexico and number two trading trader, Canada. Not enough for impeachment.
His appointments of totally incompetent and corrupt members of his cabinet and administration, however, have come full circle and condemned him in the eyes of many Americans. Trump has been a totally incompetent President.
But being incompetent and appointing crooks and idiots to office does not warrant impeachment, only “bribery,” “treason” and “high crimes and misdemeanors” warrant impeachment and removal from office.
Does Trump qualify for impeachment? Yes. Because only the House can impeach, impeachment is defined and implemented by the House alone, per the Constitution. The House has determined that the President has violated his oath of office, abused his office and obstructed the U.S. Congress from its function to oversee the Executive and Judicial branches.
One thing is certain, he now knows where the Ukraine is; more than likely he had no idea where it was before July 25, 2019, when he explicitly asked a foreign power for investigating help in his bid for 2020 reelection.
The Constitution is our basic law, it must be adhered to in all situations, by all. It cannot be ignored as Trump has done almost every day, week and month he has been in power.
In the final analysis, Trump’s impeachment will destroy Trump’s reputation and place in history. Every media article written from this day forward will state, probably in the first sentence, that Trump was the third American President in the country’s two, three or five hundred year history to be impeached.
Trump may be found “not guilty” by a Senate trial and win reelection in November 2020, but that won’t matter.
A thousand years from now, no one will remember that Trump managed to sell a few extra pounds of butter to Canadians, or defended coal until Miami was under water.
Like Clinton after his impeachment, Trump is done.
Contreras is the author of THE MEXICAN BORDER: IMMIGRATION, WAR AND A TRILLION DOLLARS IN TRADE; he formerly wrote for the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate