Friday, January 31, 2020

impeachment undercurrents and consequences

An Alabama journalist's impeachment op-ed was in my online Tuscaloosa News feed this morning. I interjected comments in bold.


GARY COSBY JR.: If he is innocent ...

I have not written about the impeachment of Donald Trump or the trial in the Senate. To my mind, it has been pointless. The Democrats were going to do everything they could, including changing the charges until they found something that would fit, to impeach the president. Agreed, and I think the Democrats should have left no stone unturned getting to the bottom of President Trump's allegations about Vice President Joe Biden and his son's dealings in Ukraine.
The Republicans were going to do everything they could to ensure the president was acquitted. It’s just that simple. This has been virtually 100% partisan from the outset. It certainly illustrates the deep divide we are experiencing throughout the nation. Agreed, and I think the Republicans should have left no stone unturned getting to the bottom of what President Trump and and his staff did.
The one thing I have had a problem with since the beginning of this mess has been the White House’s attempts to block witnesses and subpoenaed evidence. If President Trump is innocent, evidence and testimony should clearly illustrate his innocence. I can’t understand why he would even attempt to block anyone from testifying. Consider the legal doctrine "res ipsa loquitur," Latin for "The thing speaks for itself."
He has, from the outset, said to read the transcript of the disputed phone call. If the transcript is faithful, then how can calling witnesses contradict the transcript? I know that part of this is simply the political back and forth between two parties that can’t agree on much of anything. Another part of it is the hatred that President Trump has gone out of his way to generate between himself and the Democrats.
Of course, I can only speculate as to why he has put so much effort into rupturing an already fractious relationship between the two parties, but he has taken a sledgehammer to it. His tweets have relentlessly pounded the Democrats and they have responded with the impeachment. I don't think the tweets had anything to do with the impeachment. I think the Democrats in Congress know the Democratic National Convention (DNC) really screwed up by nominating Hillary Clinton in 2016, and instead of admitting that is why Donald Trump was elected, and instead getting their own very splintered, squabbling house in order, the Democrats in Congress are projecting their party's screw up onto President Trump
And, yes, I am suggesting that this impeachment is a direct response to Donald Trump himself more so than to anything he has or has not done. I am as certain that Trump used leverage against the Ukrainians to accomplish his goal as I am of the sun rising. I am equally certain that every president, Republican and Democrat, has done the same thing, if not for the same reason. You are certain every president before Trump asked Russia and a former Soviet Bloc state to help him get elected?
This impeachment is going to come back to bite whoever the next Democrat is to occupy the White House. As Bugs Bunny used to say when he had been slighted, “This means war!” And it will mean war. You can be absolutely certain that the next time we have a Democratic president and a Republican-controlled House there will be an impeachment attempt. To assume otherwise is na├»ve. I think the impeachment could bite the Democrats in the ass at the polls.
Back to the point, presidents not telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is nothing new. We are all familiar with the missing minutes on the Watergate tapes and the lies that were uncovered that actually did topple a presidency. Bill Clinton’s continuing denials of his Oval Office trysts with an intern very nearly caught up with him.
But then, Richard Nixon was guilty, and his guilt was proven by testimony and evidence, but Nixon protested his ignorance and his innocence for a very long time before it was proved otherwise.
I guess being a journalist for all these years has caused me to believe little of what I hear coming from Washington, no matter which party is in the White House. I gave up on hearing the whole truth a long time ago. What I do know is that when someone tries this hard to conceal evidence and prevent testimony, there is usually a good reason for doing so. Res ipsa loquitur.
As much as I don’t like President Trump, I am also not stupid. Removing a president from office leads to instability. In the case of Trump, it could lead to near riots from his constituents, many of whom agree with him that this whole process has been nothing but a witch hunt. There is some truth to that allegation. Electing Trump in 2019 let to instability he made increasingly worse.
Impeaching a president should not be a political game. We should have more respect for the institution and office and for the stability that a president brings to the nation and the world than to bring charges of impeachment unnecessarily. Taking down a president should not be a partisan game. Looks to me Trump is a Russian and a Saudi Arabian asset saying he made America great again.
On the other side of the coin, the president should not fear the process, especially if, as he claims, there is nothing to the charges. Evidence and testimony will certainly show that, and we can quickly get back to the business of being a country. The very idea that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would attempt to block witnesses reeks of a cover-up and cover-ups are almost always worse than the act that is being concealed. Just ask Richard Nixon about that. Looks to me McConnel will go down in history as President Trump's Heinrich Himmler. 
Gary Cosby Jr. is photo editor of The Tuscaloosa News. Readers can email him at

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