By Rob Schlegel
So Bob Mueller has spoken and most of us should just read the book. The movie version wasn’t a box office best seller. As comedian Samantha B said, it was like watching depressed paint dry.
For the most part, this magazine has refrained from discussing Donald Trump. We’ll make an exception with this issue. One of the constant criticisms of the Mueller, and now the House investigation, is the amount of time it has taken. It seems to us, had Trump simply cooperated, the Mueller investigation could have been over in less than 12 months. Trump is the one whom has drawn this whole thing out by denying Mueller or the House the documents they request, refusing to be interviewed and refusing to allow his staff and former staff to testify.
Have the Republicans already forgotten they spent two years and four months investigating Benghazi? It produced no indictments, but the Mueller investigation has already indicted or obtained guilty pleas from 34 people and three companies, including top advisors to President Trump. Not to mention, the report itself is a literal indictment of the President for numerous crimes, all of which he will likely be charged with, either during impeachment or after he leaves office.
Have the Republicans also forgotten that Hillary Clinton testified before the House committee investigating Benghazi for over eleven hours? It was the eighth committee to investigate the same thing. Contrast the no-indictments, no guilty pleas of Benghazi to the investigation of Trump and one must wonder what Trump is putting into the Kool-Aid for his allies in Congress.
In 1974 and again in 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that the president’s generalized assertion of privilege must yield to the demonstrated, specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial and the fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration of criminal justice.
What part of the Mueller report did the president not read?
We learned from the Mueller report, and it was reiterated in testimony, that Trump and those around him are serious security threats. Trump lied about his business dealings in Moscow. He has had numerous meetings with Putin and other Russians, most without any aids or intelligence officials present. We should assume that Trump’s private conversations with the Russians are taped. The Russians could have even bugged the White House – they certainly had the opportunity when invited into the Oval Office without any US personnel present in May of 2017. Trump and his sycophants are ripe for blackmail.
The human rights violations at our border are disgusting. The separation of children from their adult parents or relatives, often under the flimsiest excuses, like the adult broke the law by crossing the border, the relative is an uncle or aunt and not the parent (usually bringing the child to the parent already in the US) or even a parent having HIV.
Standing room only in cages, air conditioners intentionally turned down to frigid temperatures, no access to showers or bathing facilities, no privacy to use the toilet, children being forced to take care of babies and toddlers. What is almost as sad, is that the atrocities have become so common that the average person is becoming immune to hearing about them. Why are men and women who work for ICE and other parts of the Trump apparatus still treated as respectable members of law enforcement?
Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. Climate change is the single biggest factor which is causing migration from the rural areas into the cities of Latin and South America. When rural families move to the cities, the children are forced into gangs. That, plus crime in general and the resulting poverty from not being able to sustain a family on a farm, forces migration to the US borders. The US, which was the biggest cause of climate change, has answered the humanitarian crisis by closing its legal border crossing, separating families, caging humans, forcing others into the crime ridden areas of Mexican border towns. Then adding insult to injury, we have cut back on humanitarian and development aid to countries where people are forced to fl ee from.
With that in mind, withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, cutting back on regulations against major polluters in the U.S., putting industry lobbyists into cabinet level positions to police the various businesses which employed the lobbyists (and will again when this administration is over), are all crimes against humanity. What part of the 1939 trip by the German ocean liner, the St. Louis, do we again need to be reminded of?
We’re sending desperate immigrants back, often to certain death, just like the 937 mostly Jewish passengers on the St. Louis. What type of barbaric nation have we turned into?
At the moment, an impeachment would be wrong because even if it passed the House, Trump controls the Republicans in the Senate. He would not be found guilty. When not found guilty, he would lie and say he was found innocent. Those are two different things, but Trump and his base would believe otherwise.
An impeachment inquiry might uncover enough crimes to convince part of the Trump base and part of the GOP in the Senate that something must be done. Trump has to be convicted in the court of public opinion before he should be impeached in the house. A synonym for “impeached” would be “indicted” or “charged.” When public opinion forces the GOP controlled Senate to face the facts of this administration, then and only then would an impeachment be worth the paper it was printed on.
An impeachment is just a charging document for a president, judge or cabinet officer. Locally, if a prosecutor doesn’t have a good chance of getting a conviction, an alleged criminal often isn’t charged. What’s the point of a jury (Senate) trial if you know going in, you can’t win? Worse yet, if the Senate held the trial and didn’t convict Trump, you would likely have four more years of of Trump and one wonders if our nation would survive.
So yes, let’s begin the impeachment inquiry and when the American public, including Fox News and One America News Network (OANN) – the partially Russian-funded sister-media outlet to Fox News – can no longer deny the crimes against humanity, against the US people and our Constitution, then it’s time for a full blown impeachment.
Only when the Senate can no longer hide the crimes of their party leader, should we go forward with an impeachment.
Next month, we’ll discuss Gov. Steve Sisolak and why he denied 535,000 Nevadans a living wage. Stay tuned.