Opinion: Donald Trump should be impeached

(AP)

In his terse, four-paragraph letter firing James Comey as head of the FBI — a firing that supposedly had nothing to do with Comey’s investigation into collusion with Russia — President Trump made a curious assertion that will echo through history:

“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the department.”

Those “three acquittals” have become central to the scandal that is now playing out.  In an interview with NBC, Trump says that two of the incidents occurred in phone calls between the two men, one of which Trump initiated. In short, by Trump’s own account, you’ve got the president of the United States, worried that he might be under investigation, calling up the head of the FBI and demanding to be told that he is not. That alone, in any other administration, would be a startling confession.

According to Trump, the other occasion came during a private White House dinner between the two men. As Trump describes it, Comey “wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on. We had a very nice dinner at the White House.”

Comey, through associates, confirms that part of the story. The dinner in question occurred back in January, seven days after Trump’s inauguration. In Comey’s version, he wants to stay on as FBI director, but he is asked to pay a price. He is asked to pledge his loyalty to Trump, and he demurs, pledging to give him only honesty.

Later in the dinner, Trump again asks Comey to pledge his loyalty. As director of the FBI, Comey knows he cannot legally or ethically do that. His job is to remain politically independent, sworn to protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, but to pledge his loyalty to no man and no party. So he again demurs, pledging only to be honest with Trump. They settle on the term “honest loyalty” to describe their relationship.

In Comey’s eyes, that refusal four months ago to kiss the royal ring led directly to his firing on Tuesday. Trump was demanding a quid pro quo — in exchange for loyalty, he gets to keep his job — and Comey refused. The Trump White House totally rejects that account, claiming that the subject of loyalty never came up in that dinner.

That puts us in a bit of a quandary, because it forces us to choose between two conflicting accounts of an important event to which there are no other witnesses. As Trump put it just a few minutes ago:

So who’s telling the truth? I think we already know the answer. On one hand, we can choose to believe a habitual, even obsessive liar who constantly remolds reality to suit his own needs. On the other, we have a man whose judgment can at times be questioned but who throughout his career has demonstrated an obsessive need to tell the truth.

I don’t need to attach names to those descriptions. You know which is which already.

We also have corroborating evidence. We have Trump spokesman and confidante KellyAnne Conway earlier this week, justifying the Comey firing by saying that the president “expects people who are serving in his administration to be loyal to the country and to be loyal to the administration.”

Again, by law and duty, the FBI director cannot be loyal to an administration, and cannot be pressured to be loyal to an administration. That is simply not acceptable.

We also have Trump’s own words.  Look again at the paragraph from the letter firing Comey, and more particularly at that word “nevertheless.” Basically, it’s Trump announcing that “even though you’ve told me I’m not under investigation, I’m going to fire you anyway.” It draws a clear link between continued employment and the investigation.

In an interview this week with Lester Holt of NBC, Trump repeatedly expresses his frustration that the Russian investigation hasn’t ended. “It should be over with, in my opinion, should have
been over with a long time ago,” he tells Holt. “Cause all it is, is an excuse (for Democrats losing the election).”

Then he goes on:

“I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.”

He fired Comey to make this “made-up story” go away. I know of no other way to interpret those words.

Trump defenders and apologists argue that his ploy hasn’t worked, that public scrutiny and internal FBI outrage are now so intense that the Justice Department wouldn’t dare try to undermine the investigation. That’s probably true and it certainly doesn’t matter. A botched attempt to use the powers of the presidency to intimidate law enforcement and short-circuit an investigation is still an attempt to intimidate law enforcement and short-circuit an investigation.

If any other president of either party had been caught so red-handed, impeachment proceedings would already be underway. If it were Barack Obama, Jason Chaffetz and Trey Gowdy would already be hammering together the gallows on Pennsylvania Avenue. Only the collapse of public expectations for presidential behavior under Trump, combined with blind partisan loyalty, has so far allowed Trump to slide.

And that in itself is sign of how troubled our republic has become.

 

Reader Comments 0

4045 comments
KUTGF
KUTGF

Trump the new Spicey sheetz

KUTGF
KUTGF

It sure is funny to see the whiners like DIA complain about how they are given a time out for using a term directed at another poster and then, without substantiation, claim that another poster did the same thing and Jay was made aware of it in a timely fashion and did nothing because they were a "proggy".

Oh the delusions of these posters. 

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@KUTGF  No, that's not what I said...since I was in time-out, I did not report them, simply noticed that no one, including you, bothered to correct them. 

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll published Sunday shows Trump’s decision to fire Comey — after he received a recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who cited Comey’s handling of the Clinton email probe — is opposed by just 38 percent of Americans.  Nice try, proggies.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

“But I actually think that the issue that required the most political courage was the decision not to bomb Syria after the chemical weapons use had been publicized and rather to negotiate them removing chemical weapons from Syria,” Obama said in an interview, after he received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. “Now, we know subsequently that some remained, so it was an imperfect solution. But what we also know is that 99 percent of huge chemical weapons stockpiled were removed without us having to fire a shot.”  I don't think that's how history is going to remember this.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

"It's like shooting fish in a barrel" - Downs

1)  Where did that phrase originate? 

2) Is it really as easy as it sounds?

"My first instinct is to hide in this barrel, like the wily fish." - Zapp Brannigan

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Nick_Danger 

The Mythbusters did a segment on this.

They ended up blasting a barrel with a .30 cal mini gun.

Kamchak
Kamchak

 SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS!

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Reset my computer clock. Not sure how it went whacky on me.

Thanks, guys!

I was rushing my time away. 

KUTGF
KUTGF

@FIGMO2 You forgot to thank Hillary for the reset button!  Schnirtkles

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@KUTGF @FIGMO2

HECK! I'm thinkin' it was the Russians who messed with my computer clock.

schnirt

KUTGF
KUTGF

Sources have come forward to claim Trump recorded his interactions before taking office, with at least three former employees telling The Wall Street Journal they saw the tycoon use a device to tape conversations at Trump Tower in New York City. That article follows a June 2016 report from BuzzFeed featuring four ex-workers claiming Trump listened in on calls at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, in the mid-2000s.
____________

Seems like there will be more recordings to seek than just those made by Trump in the White House.  I wonder how many recordings were made during the campaign and the transition?

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

So I got my form email response from Isakson. No response from Perdue. I guess they're just gonna let this play out. Sad.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@KUTGF @JeffreyEav

Me too. Nothing in reply.

And nothing from my "representative" either, who is in hiding this week, no public appearances. Golly, you think he'd want to sell that swell AHCA that they were all celebrating, what was it, last year?

td1234
td1234

@Visual_Cortex I got an email response from David and Johnny both thanking me for my outreach and informing me they are working to repeal and replace Obamacare as their campaign promise. 


Well it could have something to do with the fact that I gave both of them money for their campaigns. 

Kamchak
Kamchak

It's 2:55?

The things I learn on this blog...,.

Boggles the mind, it do.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Kamchak

Did you post that comment 31 minutes ago, 'cause that's what I'm seeing next to your Kamchak?

jezel-dog / Coach - me
jezel-dog / Coach - me

For those of you who are concerned about our checks and balances ...and the assault on our institutions......


But the framers of our Constitution designed our system to have hidden pockets of resiliency, and the power of the states is one of them.

“For those of us who are protectors of the rule of law, the state attorneys general,” Schneiderman said, “we have a role to play, to make sure that the system survives.”

This is a president who doesn’t like to see checks on his power,” he said, and a Congress with “a real reluctance to serve as a check on the Executive branch.”

“If it’s hard to get checks on the presidency from Congress, we’re going to try to fill that space,” Schneiderman said.


http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/05/eric-schneiderman-on-keeping-trump-in-check.html


FIGMO2
FIGMO2

My bad!

Kyle's put up a new thread. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

2:55 and no new thread here, or at Kyle's.

Is it a holiday or sump'n? 

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@FIGMO2

Maybe in whatever time zone you're in right, now, felicia. But not where we are.

Peachs
Peachs

@justaniceguy @_GodlessHeathen_ I tell you one thing if I was in a restaurant and saw that, I would order anything but what he is eating.  Something in his diet cause that!

Kamchak
Kamchak

@gotalife 

A new conservative news network is in the planning stage, so Fox has to go

Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

Fade the ideologues as for 8 years we had the "other side" saying the same and doing cartoons of a skinny Pres O on his knees doing things like drawing red lines in the sand.  The progs would respond every time with ......ghazi Rolls have now foolishly reversed.  Fade the simple minded and go do, meet, and improve. 


Almost 4000 comments in, and, still, NO one has articulated a coherent reason that Trump should be impeached.  Not, even the author.  smh


DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@Kamchak @Cupofjoe  Or..."I can't articulate like an adult, Soooo, I'll post the same Facebook meme for the eleventy thousandeth time!  That'll show 'em!"

KUTGF
KUTGF

@Kamchak @DownInAlbany Better be careful or he'll tell you how he does not care about comments as he whines and whines

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@TBS  I was given a time-out, though, I peeked in a couple of times...long enough to see one of the proggies use the same term multiple times, with a couple of FOAD's thrown in.  It's awfully dry down here...cry me a river?