Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

The Radical Underuse of Impeachment

By David Swanson


Al Capone wasn’t prosecuted for tax evasion because it’s cool or smart or strategic to prosecute murderers for lesser crimes, but because proving murder in court was going to be more difficult.

That’s not analogous to a Congressional impeachment, but the opposite of how Congress operates. Congress sits on indisputable evidence of the greatest crimes while impeaching presidents for lesser offenses that are harder to prove.

Andrew Johnson publicly did everything he could to limit “freedom” for African Americans to a meaningless word. He was impeached for firing the Secretary of War.

Richard Nixon had indisputably bombed Cambodia, a crime that one failed article of impeachment charged him with, not to mention Vietnam and Laos. In fact, he had sabotaged the peace process and kept a war going for years during which millions of people were killed. Lyndon Johnson (who had committed similar horrors) believed Nixon guilty of treason for the sabotage. When Nixon fled Washington, he was about to be impeached for employing a group of thugs to break into a Democratic Party office.

Bill Clinton had, like Nixon, launched a war in violation of not only laws but also of the will of Congress. Lesser charges could have included numerous disastrous policies that haunt us still from trade to banking to media to prisons to welfare. Congress impeached him for lying about sex.

Donald Trump came into office openly violating both emoluments clauses, threatening to wage wars to steal oil and kill people’s families, promising to discriminate in immigration on the basis of religion, inciting violence at events, fighting vote counting in courts, and committed to politicizing prosecutions. Republican Congress Members are upset that RootsAction.org advocated impeachment on inauguration day. I hadn’t wanted to wait that long. Trump has publicly threatened nuclear war on two countries, waged and escalated numerous illegal wars, and dramatically increased the drone murder program. He’s abused the pardon power and the power to declare emergencies. He’s promoted racism and hatred. He’s separated children from their families. He’s illegally torn up treaties and proliferated weapons technology to brutal dictatorships. He’s intentionally exacerbated climate collapse. Congress has ignored indisputable public acts, and impeached Trump for demanding information about a political opponent while delaying a gift of money to Ukraine to buy U.S. weapons.

Of course in their rhetoric and through the media many Democrats have claimed that Trump secretly works against the United States on behalf of the Russian government and that Russia somehow elected him. If there were any evidence for such things, they would constitute a serious reason to impeach Trump and remove him from office. But there actually is evidence — unquestionable evidence — of numerous other outrages, and Congress isn’t interested.

In three presidential impeachments, Congress will achieve three somewhat intentional acquittals. Impeachment will be made to look weak and useless. People will be reluctant to give Congress a fourth swing at it.

But look at what’s been passed up without a word. Look what we’re supposed to imagine: that Barack Obama did nothing whatsoever that was impeachable, that George W. Bush committed no impeachable offenses, that every president going back through 45 of them — with these few exceptions — was undeserving of accusation.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against George W. Bush, not a one of which interested Nancy Pelosi, even though polls found a majority of the U.S. public in support of an impeachment that wasn’t even happening.

Launching the endless wars, imprisoning without trial, torturing, mass warrentless spying, secret laws, signing statements, domestic use of the military, and dozens of other outrages just don’t measure up to bribing Ukraine for dirt on Joe Biden (who himself publicly brags about bribing Ukraine for other purposes). Or so Congress would have us believe.

Impeachment has not been overused. It has been underused and misused. It and we are the worse off for it.

--

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate.

Sign up for these emails at https://actionnetwork.org/forms/articles-from-david-swanson.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Employers: On Wage Cuts, And The Listener’s Demise

Various levels of across the board wage cuts – 10%? 15% ?- are being mooted for workers in some of our larger firms, in order to help the likes of Fletchers, Mediaworks etc survive the Covid-19 crisis. It is extraordinary that unions should be having ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Use Of Existing Drugs To Reduce The Effects Of Coronavirus

So now, we’re all getting up to speed with the travel bans, the rigorous handwashing and drying, the social distancing, and the avoidance of public transport wherever possible. Right. At a wider level…so far, the public health system has ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Oil Market And Regulation Crusades

Safe to say, Vladimir Putin did not expect the response he has received amidships from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Earlier, Russia chose to walk away from the OPEC talks in Vienna that were aimed at reaching an agreement on how to reduce world oil production (and protect oil prices) in the light of the fall in demand being caused by the coronavirus. No doubt, Russia and its allies in the US shale industry probably glimpsed an opportunity to undercut OPEC and seize some of its customers. Bad move. In reply, Saudi Arabia has smashed the oil market by hugely ramping up production, signing up customers and drastically cutting the oil price in a fashion designed to knock Russia and other oil suppliers right out of contention. More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Strong Man Legacies: Burying Mubarak

Reviled strongmen of one era are often the celebrated ones of others. Citizens otherwise tormented find that replacements are poor, in some cases even crueller, than the original artefact. Such strongmen also serve as ideal alibis for rehabilitation ... More>>

Caitlin Johnstone: Humanity Is Making A Very Important Choice When It Comes To Assange

The propagandists have all gone dead silent on the WikiLeaks founder they previously were smearing with relentless viciousness, because they no longer have an argument. The facts are all in, and yes, it turns out the US government is certainly and undeniably working to exploit legal loopholes to imprison a journalist for exposing its war crimes. That is happening, and there is no justifying it... More>>

Gail Duncan: Reframing Welfare Report

Michael Joseph Savage, the architect of the 1938 Social Security Act, wouldn’t recognise today’s Social Security Act as having anything to do with the kind, cooperative, caring society he envisioned 80 years ago. Instead society in 2020 has been reduced ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On 22 Short Takes About Super Tuesday

With obvious apologies to the Simpsons….Here’s my 22 short takes on the 14 Super Tuesday primaries that combined yesterday to produce a common narrative –Bernie Sanders NOT running away with the nomination, Joe Biden coming back from the dead, and the really, really rich guy proving to be really, really bad at politics... More>>

 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog