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A Little Impeachment for Large Abuses

By adopting narrow grounds for impeaching US President Donald Trump, Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives failed to confront the true nature of Trump’s presidency. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had read her caucus, and the new members wanted simple charges that they could easily explain to their constituents.

WASHINGTON, DC – Much as he mocked the process for months, US President Donald Trump very much did not want to be impeached. No president does; it’s an ineradicable stain on their record. And Trump has just about never in his life been called to account. He was more or less in a rage for weeks as the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives moved forward, and his mood didn’t improve in the immediate aftermath of his becoming the third president in the history of the United States to be impeached.

Yet, for all the commentary about the “momentousness” of the House impeachment vote, the occasion seemed somehow lifeless. In my view, that’s because the Articles of Impeachment weren’t at all commensurate with the scope and egregiousness of Trump’s violations of his oath of office.

Those violations are legion. Trump has systematically defied the separation of powers at the heart of the US constitutional system. For example, frustrated that Congress denied him all the funds he wanted for his phantasmagorical wall along the border with Mexico, he simply plucked the money from funds that Congress had allocated for the Defense Department. He has also flouted the Constitutional prohibition on accepting emoluments – money or personal benefits from foreign governments that do business, sometimes of extravagant proportion, at his various hotels and golf clubs – and has found other ways to monetize the presidency.

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