President Donald J. Trump is impeached by the House of Representatives. He extorted another head of state using the power of his office to get a personal favor. Then did everything he could to obstruct congress’s investigation into the extortion. This should disturb all law abiding Americans. But I am even more disturbed by others’ participation in this impeachment affair.
Like many Americans, I knew what we would be getting in Trump before he was even elected. So none of his criminal acts since he took office have surprised me. He has done pretty much what I expected he would do once he took office.
The parties to this impeachment who have not done what I expected they would do are the Republicans in congress. Perhaps I was naive but I thought that, when faced with important issues of governance, they would do their duty as our representatives and put their country before the Grand Old Party. I assumed that they would realize that allowing a Republican president to trample on the Constitution would come back to haunt them when a Democrat POTUS would later take the office.
I could not have been more wrong. Not only have some of them betrayed their oath of office to uphold the Constitution, almost all of them have. The only Republican who has publicly voiced opposition to Trump’s high crimes, Representative Justin Amash, was literally ejected from the GOP for doing so! Not even retiring Republican congressmen are expressing any objection. And Trump’s former opponents in the Republican presidential primary election who once excoriated him are now the ones carrying the most water for him.
If Republicans opposed the impeachment on principle and with integrity, it would not disturb me. But the GOP is rife with hypocrisy on this matter. Only Trump could do the things he does and not be widely condemned by Republican legislators. Any Democrat doing the exact same things would have been impeached and removed from office already and deservedly so. It’s likely that even any other Republican doing the same things would have suffered the same fate.
It’s not as if there is a lot of disagreement about some of the most condemning facts about the Ukraine scandal. For example, Republicans will all concede that the White House’s memorandum of the July 25 phone call with President Zelensky (AKA the “transcript,” as Trump likes to call it) accurately reflects the call. But imagine if every mention of Trump was changed to President Barack Obama. Then if every mention of the Ukraine was changed to Israel and every mention of Zelensky to prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And every mention of Hunter Biden was changed to Mitt Romney’s son. Other than that, leave all the rest of the wording unchanged. Who seriously thinks the Republican congress would have sat on their hands if Obama were to have released such a memo?
Now imagine if Obama had refused literally every subpoena for documentation and testimony from congress when they opened an investigation into the phone call, which the at-that-time-Republican led congress would have assuredly done. Would Republicans have defended such an action as Obama’s executive prerogative? You can even look back at special counsel Robert Mueller’s Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election. It cites at least five cases of obstruction of justice by Trump. If Obama and his administration had taken those same actions, would the Republicans in congress have ignored them?
We all know the answers to these questions. There’s no way the GOP would have put up with Trump’s high crimes from a Democrat president instead. Congress would be able to curtail Trump if Republicans would behave the same way toward him as they would have toward a President Hillary Clinton. But because they are not, Trump can go on trampling the Constitution with impunity, just as we knew he would. That’s why I’m even more disturbed by the GOP than I am by Trump.