Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanours

If impeachment is the only way to hold our corrupt president to account, so be it.

Wendy Kaminer
columnist

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Topics Politics USA

‘Darker spirits’ have been cavorting in the halls of Congress, the House chaplain, a Jesuit priest, intoned in an 18 July chamber prayer: ‘In Your most holy name, I now cast out all spirits of darkness from this chamber; spirits not from You.’

Desperate times, desperate measures, but the exorcism failed. One week later, Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow bipartisan election security bills to reach the Senate floor for a vote. Why? As McConnell correctly stated, legislation aimed at safeguarding elections from foreign (or domestic) interference and requiring campaigns to report offers of help from foreign agents to the FBI would confer a ‘political benefit’ upon Democrats.

This is the state of our union. The Senate majority leader feels free to state openly and shamelessly that he chooses preserving Republican power over defending the integrity of our elections and protecting our democracy. He need not don even a pretense of patriotism. There is no real dispute about the fact that Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 election, on the side of Donald Trump, ‘in sweeping and systematic fashion’, the Mueller Report documented and Robert Mueller personally confirmed to Congress. His testimony was halting and its ‘optics’ were widely disparaged, but on the subject of election interference he was forceful and clear. Russians are preparing attacks on the 2020 election, ‘as we sit here’, Mueller testified, while other foreign actors are developing similar plans and capabilities. Or as a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report found, Russia targeted election systems in all 50 states in 2016, in what is suspected to have been a reconnaissance mission, seeking out vulnerabilities for future attacks. Russia’s cyber-activities pose a ‘real and urgent threat’, Republican Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr warned, to no avail. The president refuses to acknowledge the future threat or the previous, heavily documented Russian assistance he received in 2016, and the Senate majority leader is content to allow foreign interference so long as it aims to benefit Republicans.

Privately many Republicans in Congress are critical and wary of their ignorant, thuggish, autocratic president. Publicly they praise and pander to him in order to retain favour with the Republican base. Trump doesn’t have to shoot someone in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue to demonstrate his cultish support, as he once assured us he could do without consequence. He has been shown to have welcomed Russian electoral interference in his behalf, to have lied about his business dealings with Russia during the 2016 campaign, when he hoped to build or brand a Trump Tower in Moscow, to have lied repeatedly about his efforts to obstruct the Mueller investigation and to have lied in written testimony to Mueller. Still Republican obeisance to him has not wavered.

Trump and his congressional acolytes respond to these damning facts mostly by ignoring them and distracting their voters with conspiracy fantasies, painting the always aggrieved president as the victim of an attempted ‘deep state’ coup. (You’d never know Republicans once tried impeaching Bill Clinton merely for lying about sex.) They respond to these facts by race-baiting virtually everyone and red-baiting Democrats, labelling them socialists or even communists in a callback to the 1950s. No matter that socialists are a tiny minority among Democrats, communists are non-existent, and the Republican party favours arguably socialist subsidies for its farming base, as well as generous corporate welfare programmes.

Republicans have helped Trump smash through the ‘guardrails’ and constitutional norms that were once supposed to contain him. ‘I have the right to do whatever I want as president’, he recently declared. Of course Trump doesn’t have that right under the Constitution (which he has probably never read), but supine Republicans have given him that power – after lambasting Obama’s exercises of executive authority. These days, believing in the health and resilience of American democracy or the patriotism of the president and his minions is like believing in the tooth fairy, or the House chaplain’s attempted exorcism.

In relatively normal or less abnormal times, we could hope to vote the administration out of office, but given the documented vulnerabilities of our electoral systems and decreasing faith in their fairness, thanks partly to successful voter-suppression campaigns and false claims of voter fraud, that hope dims. An impeachment effort by the Democratic House may prove necessary and inevitable, even though it is bound to fail in the Republican Senate. Indeed, as some legal commentators have suggested, the House Judiciary Committee has effectively begun an impeachment inquiry by asking a federal court for access to grand jury testimony underlying the Mueller Report. The inquiry will be divisive, but no more so than the racially charged re-election campaign on which the president has already embarked. The impeachment process could at least draw attention to his high crimes and misdemeanors. It could, perhaps, restore some focus on the facts.

‘Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.’ Usually attributed to the late senator and presidential adviser Daniel Patrick Moynihan, this pithy statement of the obvious has never seemed more quaint.

Wendy Kaminer is an author, a lawyer and a former national board member of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Comments

Prodos Marinakis

2nd August 2019 at 7:31 pm

I thought for a moment I was reading The Onion.

kevin king

30th July 2019 at 11:30 pm

I would suggest the author sticks to the law. Her ignorance of what has been going on in American politics for the last 3 years is breathtaking.

Jerry Owen

31st July 2019 at 8:30 am

I keep saying that Trump could find a cure for cancer and he would still not get any credit. Kaminer like most ‘never Trumpers’ is incapable of logical joined up thinking, I’m surprised Spiked can’t do better than her. By all means have articles critical of Trump .. but these written by Kaminer are quite dreadful, especially when she deliberately misleads people by manipulating quotes. Kaminer has yet to commend Trump for anything whatsoever he has achieved .
Like him or loathe him he has made some smart moves.

Neil McCaughan

30th July 2019 at 7:08 pm

Of what is President Trump guilty?

Putting the Clinton gargoyle in her place? The world owes him thanks.

His success with the economy? 5.8 million fewer Americans are dependent on food stamps than when his useless predecessor was in office.

His personal success with women? Unlike Clinton he didn’t have t resort to rape, and unlike Obama he didn’t have to to settle for a Wookiee.

Trashing bien-pensant progressives with a well turned tweet?

Appointing judges to the Supreme Court as is his right?

Well what?

Hana Jinks

30th July 2019 at 7:37 pm

Insane stuff.

Jerry Owen

31st July 2019 at 8:38 am

Neil you are guilty off letting hard facts get in the way of Kaminers bigotry !
Kaminer is a never Trumper, so we can enjoy her tears again in 2020 !

Emmett Elvin

30th July 2019 at 6:54 pm

The Spiked editors must have thought it was feeding time at the zoo to toss their readership such laughable tosh. Sadly, not only is there no meat on these bones, it’s indigestible offal. A cursory sniff and then walk away was all this reader could manage.

Robert Weitzer

30th July 2019 at 5:16 pm

Aren’t there a thousand other sites that rehash Democratic party talking points in editorial form? Spiked’s American coverage is getting really weak… The dems want to control the flow of information. Period. Of course they won’t hesitate to use the fbi and other intelligence agencies to dig up dirt on republicans. But this will be exempt from claims of “foreign interference.” This is a partisan hack piece.

Aidan Condie

30th July 2019 at 4:35 pm

Aaaaggghhh, the Russians have infiltrated my feeble mind and I am powerless to do anything about it ‘cos I’m so dumb.

I can feel Vlad Putin grabbing hold of my hand as I cast my vote. Aaaaaggggh.

Wendy, one day get an IQ.

Hana Jinks

30th July 2019 at 5:18 pm

She has one.

She’s a lawyer….just try and imagine what kind of real-world situations that she could possibly represent you for?

Scary shit.

Jerry Owen

30th July 2019 at 2:51 pm

I see Trump has brought his own brand of plastic straws out ( biodegradable ) at 15 dollars a pack of 100 to counter the eco loons paper straws which for me have never lasted till the end of my MacDonalds strawberry shake going soggy two thirds down.
It’s stunts like this from Trump that simply make Liberals heads explode Kaminer is a prime example as we can see from her unhinged articles.. love it !

Ven Oods

30th July 2019 at 1:54 pm

‘… merely lying about sex…’?
From memory he addressed the US electorate on TV and claimed no sexual encounter took place. Who knew that a Rhodes scholar wouldn’t think that included a blowjob in the Oval Office?

Amelia Cantor

30th July 2019 at 12:52 pm

Thank you, Wendy. Okay, you’re cisgender and yo’ure white, but you’re a wombyn too and that proved enough to get you to face reality and speak truth to power in terms of issues around the Orange Rapist and Narcissist-in-Chief.

Hana Jinks

30th July 2019 at 1:48 pm

Lol, not sure how white Wendy KomeInHere is.

Amelia Cantor

31st July 2019 at 11:17 am

Is that an antisemitic dog-whistle, Hanna? Sure enough, it is.

But don’t worry: I’m sure you’re already on lots of watchlists everywhere from Israel to the US to Australia.

Hana Jinks

31st July 2019 at 12:40 pm

I can only apologise. I’ve read her stories on here before and googled her to find a blach woman. I’ve just googled her again and our Wendy is obviously not black.

I wonder if you’ll apologise for being a sanctimonious grammar-nazi?

I’m sorry, lm too tired and emotional to try and decipher what an anti-semitic dog-whistle is. I understand what the words mean, but l don’t get the relevance to anything, or even what it means.

I prolly don’t wanna know. Anyway, good luck to snoops with watch lists finding a person that doesn’t exist. I guess it’s best for them to be active, even if only in a futile way.

christopher barnard

30th July 2019 at 12:29 pm

‘Vulnerabilities of our electoral systems’ is liberal speak for the tendency of people to vote the wrong way.

Claire D

30th July 2019 at 11:36 am

Not sure what ‘ normal times ‘ are; history ?
As an outsider and observer of the US it seems to me Trump uses words both in his speeches and on social media, mostly the latter, to say the hitherto unspeakable. As I understand it the issue of Race (is it really the issue of Race or is it actually vociferous opposition to the Democrats ?), the issue of Race in particular is forcing the Democrats to focus on that rather than their more likely vote winning policies, like Health and Education. So his ‘ racism ‘ is a tactic; he learnt in the last election how well ‘ sexism ‘ worked out for him. As a strategy it is offensive but also very clever.

Hana Jinks

30th July 2019 at 9:23 am

Wendy KomeInHere.

You really should come in here for a chat sometime. It’s good that you have a connection to aclu, as I’m sure that that must mean that you’d allow me to use speech freely.

As you’ve clearly seen little need for sanity and no longer have any, l don’t fear for you in that sense, but your health is becoming a bit of a concern. I suggest that you make tracks for Alabama post-haste. Or even Texas or Georgia. I’m reliably informed that pretty much everyone in those states is qualified to provide treatment for Trump Derangement Syndrome. (TDS). They’ll even do it for free.

You wrote the same story a few months ago and it hasn’t changed. There was no collusion. It’s insane to keep thinking this, let alone attempting to propagate it again even after it’s been proven to be a dem-inspired lie.

Propagating lies is your strong suit. You are all communists, in that you are diversity-communists. Or are you so politically illiterate to not even know what you are?

Mr Trump did not say one racist thing to those four lunatics. To suggest he did is either just outright ignorance or a bald-faced lie. I’d have to go with the latter at this stage given your form.

Ignorant, thuggish and autocratic. I sure do hope that I’m allowed to find out whether you can give it as well as take it. You’d do well to understand that you could more reasonably have been talking about some of the other top commies of the last century.

Hana Jinks

30th July 2019 at 2:56 pm

Cheers dudes.

How about lightening up on the anti-free speech- need a mod angle?

It’s pretty creepy anyway, but mostly because you have a banner perpetrating free speech.

And you do so many stories on free speech.

And yet you insist on mods.

Do you know anything about doublethink?

Hana Jinks

1st August 2019 at 5:50 am

…in favour of, not perpetrating

Neil McCaughan

30th July 2019 at 8:44 am

Less corrupt than the murderous but utterly useless Obama, far less corrupt than the totally corrupt Clintons. What exactly is wrong with Trump? Apart from putting the worthless, incompetent, degenerate Democrats in their place?

This article merely reminds us why the Democrats are on course for a catastrophic – and richly deserved – drubbing in the 2020 Presidential. Trump has done well by America, while his opponents are a tired irrelevance, or worse, people like Omar, Tlaib and the idiot AOC.

Amelia Cantor

30th July 2019 at 12:55 pm

This article merely reminds us why the Democrats are on course for a catastrophic – and richly deserved – drubbing in the 2020 Presidential.

Bwa-ha-ha! I think you’ve been forgetting to take your meds and become even more delusional than usual.

Hana Jinks

30th July 2019 at 1:51 pm

Ameliorate Cant.

I had delusions about being a troll-king until l came across Neil.

gershwin gentile

30th July 2019 at 3:19 pm

Amelia sed: I know you are, you said you are, but what am I? Someone pretending to be something they aren’t.

Neil McCaughan

30th July 2019 at 4:31 pm

We all remember your forecasts for the EU referendum and the 2016 Presidential election. You are invariably wrong.

Andrew-Paul Shakespeare

30th July 2019 at 8:41 am

I’ve got a better idea.

Let Trump stand for reelection. If the American people think so little if him, they’ll elect somebody else to be their president.

The People appointed him. It’s for the People to fire him.

Jim Lawrie

30th July 2019 at 10:59 am

Ms Kaminer wants to choose a forum and format where she can win.

Jerry Owen

30th July 2019 at 8:22 am

Wendy Kaminer
Your articles get more and more unhinged, your language ever more hysterical, this was an article so bereft of sanity it says more about you than Trump.
You suffer from ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’.
Let me remind you and others here this is what you stated on this site once.
I quote you :-
( Some neo-Nazis are ‘very fine people’ , he famously declared.)
Except he didn’t, you distorted what he said and attributed a part quote to make out he supported neo Nazis .. it is all in the quotation marks. You deliberately tried to deceive your readers.
How can I or anyone take anything you write with any seriousness.
You are a disgrace to accurate journalism.

Hana Jinks

30th July 2019 at 10:42 am

I’ve said basically exactly the same thing as you Jerry Oven-Kraut, so l hope my comment goes through. At least they profess to support free speech, l guess.

Michael Lynch

30th July 2019 at 8:01 am

The Democrats lost because they did nothing for the struggling masses outside of the big cities and they’ll lose again for the same reason. You’d think that they would have done everything possible to win back the trust and confidence of the majority of Trump supporters over the last four years. Putting together a set of attractive policies and finding a believable candidate for the upcoming election. No, instead they went off on an insane witch-hunt and spent millions trying to prove Russian collusion. They seem to be desperately clutching at straws now. Just like the anti Brexit brigade in the UK. Are these the actions of wise people who are fit to rule? I think not.

Hana Jinks

30th July 2019 at 10:48 am

They’ll lose again because thankfully, most Americans are a wake-up to communism.

And the left are getting weirder by the day.

Bobby Roberts

30th July 2019 at 7:50 am

dear oh dear, this stuff is more twitter than Spiked, but I guess you have to let the loonies on so you can claim balance. This is all the usual ranting Trump derangement with no factual content or basis whatsoever to consider. Not worth a reply really, what’s the point with the ACLU these days, there’s no basis for rationale discussion just polarised rhetoric.

Ian Wilson

30th July 2019 at 5:35 am

I have to laugh at the constant Russian interference tag, it’s just pathetic. The same rubbish is still peddled about Brexit. Grow up, fight the election on policies, and if you lose again, stop complaining and accept democracy.

Jim Lawrie

30th July 2019 at 10:46 am

Ms Kaminer cannot countenance the idea that The Deplorables voted based on what they thought. “The Russians” stuff is just another version of The Deplorables as pliable mush, easily moulded by anyone who gains access to them.
She cannot accept that the game is up for her and her condescending cronies. Instead, in the best traditions of the left, she decides that the problem is that they did not lay it on thick enough for us to grasp the message. So the solution, as always, is more of the same times three. How Donald Trump must love her. She would fit in perfectly with the covenous quartet.

Jim Lawrie

30th July 2019 at 1:35 am

Sounds like you have already ceded the 2020 election and are getting your excuses in early.

You accuse Donald Trump of not having read The Constitution, a compulsory subject in most American schools for many decades, but you clearly did not read the reports you reference.

The sum total of what the Russians achieved was nil, tipota, di nada.

You do not understand the stuff you reference above. For that I do not blame the schools. Just our limited IQ.

Mitch McConnell was against the running of elections being transferred to a single, central authority in Washington. He thought it best to leave that with the individual states, who have had over $1bn to improve security.

mister wallace

30th July 2019 at 12:12 am

Seriously, I had my chequebook out and was just about to send spiked! a cheque ’til I read this rubbish. I’m not sure if it’s an unattributed piece belonging to The Onion or a piece of satire or a written as something serious. Having to assume it’s serious, the cheque stays in the book.

Jerry Owen

31st July 2019 at 8:34 am

Mister Wallace
I kind of agree with you, and yes paying for something you don’t like isn’t easy, however an echo chamber is of no use to anyone except the left.. Kaminer being a perfect example. She is my least favourite on Spiked , however Spiked overall is an excellent publication and worth supporting as I do .. the assault on free speech continues unabated so we have to conclude that even Spiked may be on quicksand soon, support it whole you can.. Be honest Kaminer is entertaining and her tears are a joy to behold !

Jerry Owen

31st July 2019 at 8:35 am

*while* you can.

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