Watching the events resembled being transfixed by horrific train wrecks — that was watching the Watergate hearings of 1973, and the Clinton/Lewinsky hearings of 1998.
Watergate implicated President Richard Nixon in a petty theft of papers from a Democratic Party office.
The other hearing involved a perjury charge against President Bill Clinton regarding a sexual liaison.
In both cases, I was captivated. I found myself revoltingly riveted to the television, cringing as I watched the melodramas unfold.
Should we impeach or should we skip impeaching the current president? Do the findings of the Mueller report warrant impeachment?
Congress is responsible for balancing the power between itself and the executive branch. The House’s ability to impeach an executive is its tool to help ensure that balance of power.
Based on that premise, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.-D) stated, it is Congress’ responsibility to begin impeachment proceedings.
“I took an oath to the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution makes clear that the accountability of the President is — lies through Congress, and that’s the impeachment process,” explained Warren. She is running in the Democratic primary for the 2020 office of president.
Warren believes that members of Congress can “walk and chew gum at the same time.” Indeed, we hope that is so, however, the issue is not so simple.
Assume the House Democrats decide to enact impeachment proceedings. How will the Republicans respond? Granted, holding executives accountable for their actions should rise above partisan politics. But, will it? I fear that many Republicans in Congress will view impeachment as an unwarranted attack on the President.
Thus, it is likely that the majority of the Republican party will shutdown dealing with the Democrats in Congress. Ergo, any hopes of addressing issues such as health care, immigration, infrastructure improvements, environmental problems, enacting needed cybersecurity regulations, etc., will vanish.
Granted some members of Congress feel that they have a moral obligation to move to impeach regardless of political results.
“Is this the time to impeach? If the aim is to establish some stability so this Congress can be productive, then this is the moment to focus on dealing with issues that impact constituents. It really seems pointless to run witnesses through hearings since Mueller did a thorough investigation job.” -Steven Nevada.
According to a Vox April 27 article, “Overall, a majority of Americans oppose impeachment with only 37 percent saying they favor starting the process and 56 percent saying they oppose the idea. Unsurprisingly, support for impeaching President Trump is divided along partisan lines.”
Amazingly, however, 58 percent of those polled actually feel that the President is less than truthful.
Impeachment hearings are always contentious, at least in the early stages, and the prospects of holding non-contentious hearings are dim given how oppositional our political outlooks are at the moment.
Many — at least a half dozen — individuals in Trump’s orbit have already pleaded guilty regarding Russian interference. Plus, investigations are still ongoing at the state level — New York’s Southern District.
Also, the New Jersey attorney general and the attorney general for the District of Columbia are pursuing separate inquiries into whether the Trump election committee violated civil statutes. -Vox, March 23.
So, investigations continue.
According to the House Speaker, “‘It is also important to know that the facts regarding holding the President accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings,’ (Nancy) Pelosi wrote in a letter. ‘As we proceed to uncover the truth and present additional needed reforms to protect our democracy, we must show the American people we are proceeding free from passion or prejudice, strictly on the presentation of fact.’” -Vox, April 27.
Peggy Noonan, on the April 28 Meet the Press roundtable, explained, that although a majority of people polled did not believe in the President’s integrity, still, they did not want him impeached.
“To me, they’ve got it exactly right... I understand the investigative...fervor going on in the House. What is curious to me is what exactly, if you devote the next six, nine months to more investigations and hearings are you looking to learn?”
Noonan explained that hearings will simply offer a parade of witnesses who will be reiterating to Congress — and to us — the same information that is in the 448-page Mueller report.
“My thought is actually the Mueller report did the work it had to do over two years — 500 people questioned and interviewed, 40 investigators and FBI officials. Oh my goodness. Let everyone in America read it.”
Noonan added, “...by the way, if the House moves to impeach and if it has big, serious, prolonged hearings, I think everybody assumes the President will really hate that.”
Indeed, logic would dictate that a sitting president would find impeachment hearings abhorrent. Ah, there is the catch. The President does not follow normal dictates. Peggy Noonan, who is a Wall Street Journal columnist, offers this prediction:
“I think he’s going to use that fact every day on TV. He’s going to use it as a foil. He’s going to be tweeting. He’s going to be fighting. He’s going to be playing the part of the besieged person. I think he’ll love it and nothing will get done for the next year.”
So if we impeach, we will be stuck with a phenomenal three-ring circus. In fact, it will totally eclipse past impeachment hearings. It will also convince the President’s supporters that he is being falsely accused, despite the Mueller report.
Volume II, Page 8 of the report stated, “Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent present difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.”
Obviously, the Mueller report did not exonerate President Trump regarding obstruction of justice.
Even so, we should be cautious. Our righteous indignation may actually land us in a stalemate. It is entirely possible that bringing impeachment proceedings against the President will sacrifice any chance Congress has of addressing issues that are critical to voters.
It is likely that all the impeachment hearings will do is treat us to a really big show!
It is a spectacle that I can do without!