Today the US Senate acquitted Donald Trump on impeachment charges that should have never been brought. Faced with a mountain of open corruption, the Democrats chose to bring the weakest charge imaginable, one that involved subjective interpretations of conversations (some second-hand), the temporary withholding of weapons that Barack Obama refused to give to Ukraine – and the political fortunes of a top Democrat, ensuring that the entire case would be super-charged with partisan wrangling. This was a recipe for failure from the very start — and it is very hard to believe that the House leaders didn’t know this.
There was an alternative. They could have easily impeached Trump for his rampant, daily criminal violations of the Emoluments clause of the Constitution. From the very first hour of his presidency, Trump — who brazenly refused to use even the fig leaf of a ‘blind trust’ but kept direct control of all of his financial interests — has been putting money directly into his own pocket from foreign countries, foreign companies and domestic enterprises who have business with the government. This happens at his many resorts, pleasure palaces and rental properties all over the world, but for efficiency’s sake, the case could have been focused on a single entity: the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.
To impeach Trump for the largest bribery and corruption scam in U.S. history, the only thing the House Democrats would have needed were the receipts from the DC hotel. These would have proved, irrefutably, in black and white, that Donald J. Trump had committed impeachable offences and should be removed from office. That’s it. No need for witnesses or subjective interpretations — or for trembly, ludicrous claims of fending off a Russian invasion of the United States. All the House needed to say to the Senate was this: “Here are the receipts. These bribes were paid to the president’s business interests and he accepted them. Now vote.”
Would the GOP senate — a gaggle of extremists, dimbulbs and corporate bagmen — have still voted to acquit Trump? Perhaps. But it would have been infinitely harder to muddy the waters — and infinitely easier to raise public pressure — with a charge of straightforward, crystal clear, undeniable bribery. No “moderates” bleating on CNN: “Well, he probably shouldn’t have been so heavy handed, but hey, no harm done; Ukraine got the weapons and didn’t dig up dirt on Biden, so why be so draconian about it?” No, they would’ve had to stand up and say straight out: “Yes, this is bribery, but I’m not going to do anything about it.” Even thoroughly corrupt figures like Lamar Alexander might have blenched at having to be as blatant as that.
But the House leadership made a very deliberate, very considered decision NOT to impeach Trump for his open bribery. Indeed, they are not even investigating it: no special committees probing government corruption, no public hearings highlighting Trump’s monstrous depredations — nothing. No probes of Trump’s top advisors — his daughter and son-in-law — pocketing millions of dollars from foreign governments (such as China) with a direct interest in influencing American policy. The House leadership has made no sustained, systematic, high-profile effort to use all the powers at their command — or any of the powers at their command — to bring the unprecedented corruption of the Trump administration to justice … or even to the public’s attention. This has been one of the most monumental, tragic and destructive failures in American political history, an outrageous dereliction of duty that will have immense consequences for the nation and the world for decades to come.
- Written by Chris Floyd
- Published: 05 February 2020