It is unlikely that the current Senate will convict Trump. But political calculus aside, the Constitution's separation of powers must be defendedby James Zirin / September 25, 2019 / Leave a comment
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom handed a stinging rebuke to Boris Johnson. The Metropolitan Opera fired its greatest living star Placido Domingo amid persistent allegations of sexual harassment. (Domingo, who has sung at the Met for 51 years, vigorously denied the allegations._
And Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Democrat Nancy Pelosi, measured tempered Nancy Pelosi, turned the corner on impeachment, the awesome remedy the United States Constitution provides where the president is guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanours.”
Pelosi had been always cautious on impeachment. There had been little political appetite for it in the country. One of my friends called the drumroll of impeachment talk in the press “impeachment porn”; he meant it was all so salaciously repetitious that it had become boring.
The real argument against it is that a bill of impeachment is an exercise in futility. Conviction would require a two-thirds majority in the Senate, and the votes are not there: The 100-person Senate consists of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two independents, who caucus with the Democrats. Senate Republicans, who hardly present these days a “profile in courage, seem to be possessed of a certain tribalism and are sufficient in numbers to block conviction and removal from office.
Only twice in American history, in the cases of Abraham Lincoln’s successor Andrew Johnson and that of Bill Clinton, has the House of Representatives voted a bill of impeachment. Nixon resigned while the House of Representatives was drafting a bill of impeachment to remove him. In the cases of Johnson and Clinton, both were acquitted and served out their terms.
President Donald Trump had already been accused in the Mueller Report and elsewhere of such impeachable crimes as obstruction of justice, welcoming aid from the Russians in his 2016 presidential campaign, ignoring subpoenas from the House and law enforcement, trashing the Constitution with his persistent attacks on press freedoms, and accepting “emoluments” from foreign dignitaries staying at his hotels. None of these astonishing facts had been sufficient to force Speaker Pelosi off the dime.
Then, Trump turned the corner. A White House whistleblower reported to the inspector general of the intelligence community that Trump had been involved in a breach of national security. The scandal centres on a phone call…