Portrait in Prose of a Colorful Man – by and Unnamed Writer
There now lives among us a boorish and coarse self-appointed king, whose ideas, though somewhat polished and sharpened by education and experience are still large, florid, and untrammeled, as becomes the half of him which is barbaric. He is a man of exuberant fancy, and, withal, of an authority so irresistible that, at his will, he turns his varied fancies into facts. He is greatly given to self-communing, and, when he and himself agree upon anything, the thing is done. When every member of his domestic and political systems moves smoothly in its appointed course, his nature is bland and genial; but, whenever there is a little hitch, and some of his orbs get out of their orbits, his actions are driven by his barbaric instinct to survive, and nothing pleases him so much as to make the crooked straight and crush down uneven places.
I could not have written the description above because I don’t have the skills, and my writing style, which is sometimes flowery, is not so flamboyant and overtly stylish as this. I did edit the text, though slightly, taking pains not to alter the details of the description, which I think is remarkable and to the point. The writer has painted a portrait so colorful and descriptive that you know the man immediately from what you’ve heard him say and seen him do. You know too that the man gets blind obedience from most of his fervent subjects, though some have a love-hate relationship with him. But enough, the description fits the man. Who will dispute that? Leave me your comments.
Yesterday, January 31, 2020, 51 of the 53 Republican Senators voted to bar witnesses from testifying, as well as to bar documentary evidence from being presented in the impeachment trial of President Trump. Only Susan Collins and Mitt Romney broke ranks to vote to allow witnesses and documents. I predict that immensely important vote will be remembered in history as unprecedented and abusive. Why? Because it means that most of the same Republican Senators will go even farther next week and vote to acquit the President and end the impeachment trial. Their verdict will be rammed through, even as they block testimony and evidence that might show the President to be guilty as charged with abuse of his presidential power. The abuse-of-power charge is that he pressured a foreign leader to perform a corrupt in act in exchange for military aid that had been authorized by Congress.
Evidence that would have been important to the impeachment trial will come out eventually, some in timely leaks and some, perhaps in torrents. The 51 Republican Senators who voted against allowing witnesses and documents will be asked to account for their rush to judgment. You can be sure those Senators are already preparing for that eventuality, and it will be interesting to see how they handle those questions. No matter how disingenuous their explanations may be, those Senators will not outrun the judgment of history and time. You can bet that the public obituary of each of the 100 US Senators will make mention of how he/she voted January 31, 2020 on the motion to allow witnesses and other evidence in the Trial of Impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump.
If history repeats itself in the upcoming vote by senators in the impeachment trial of President Trump, the president will be acquitted. Why? Because no senator in the same party as a president on trial by the senate has ever voted to convict. But this brief article is not about whether the current president will be convicted. It’s about a two-pronged argument advanced by Alan Dershowitz, the most showy and scholarly lawyer on the president’s defense team. The first argument that Mr. Dershowitz makes is that a president cannot be impeached for abuse of power. The second is that a president cannot be impeached for an act that he believes is in the interest of the country. Then Mr. Dershowitz concludes that these two arguments lead to the following conclusion: since President Trump believes that his reelection is in the interest of the country, any action he takes to promote his reelection is not impeachable. Mr. Dershowitz is simply defending what President Trump has said on national television, that article II of the constitution gives him the right to do whatever he wishes. The argument made by President Trump and his scholarly lawyer, if accepted, would make the impeachment clause in the constitution superfluous. It follows that President Nixon could have finished his second term in office and be listed among the wisest and most honorable presidents in American history, if only Alan Dershowitz could have been on his defense team.
I made the photo from the deck of the Queen Mary II as she pulled of New York Harbor on a voyage to England in 2004.
One of the most solemn duties of a Senator is to sit as an impartial juror in a trial after a President has been impeached by the House of Representatives The Senate as a body has recognized the extraordinary importance of fairness and impartiality of such a trial and has required that each Senator take the following oath, which is in addition to his oath of office as a Senator.
“I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of the President, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.’’
The oath is clear: it gives a Senator no constitutional or moral justification to avoid doing his solemn and impartial duty in the trial of a President. It makes no difference whether a Senator believes the charges are justified or even whether they are trivial. Each Senator is bound by oath to consider all the evidence presented at the trial. He is then bound to render an impartial verdict that is in full accord with his oath – or else be guilty of breeching that oath and his or her solemn Constitutional duty.
Now, to the impending impeachment trial in the Senate of the current President. Some Senators have already boasted that they will make every effort to make a farce of the trial and to insure it will not be impartial. One Senator had this to say, “I’m not an impartial juror.” Note that his statement is an outright admission that he plans to violate his solemn oath of office and the Constitution. The Senator went on to say, “This is a political process. There is not anything judicial about it. Impeachment is a political decision.” Note that you won’t find anything in the constitution or the Senator’s oath of office to support his brazen promise not to do his duty.
Unfortunately the Senator mentioned above is not alone when he promises to turn the impending Constitutionally-mandated impeachment trial into a mockery of justice and the Constitution. Some Senators in both political parties have shown a willingness to treat the impending impeachment trial as a political process and refuse to do their Constitutional duties. How can we expect to remain a democratic republic if we continue to elect government officials who are willing to betray their sacred trusts solely for political reasons – and boast about it.?
The President has been impeached for specific, well-documented actions. But why he took those actions and made those statements is at the heart of of the charges levied against him.
The articles of Impeachment voted against President Trump December 18 are based on some of his most well-documented and undisputed actions and statements. Whether the President is guilty of the actions and statements for which he is accused depends only on whether he acted in the interest of the United States or in his own personal and political interests.
The first article of impeachment, when boiled down to its essence, is that the President abused his power when he asked the President of Ukraine to begin an investigation against Joe Biden, a presidential candidate, and his son Hunter. He has also stated publicly that Ukraine should begin that investigation. Neither of these is in dispute. One is based on what he said to Ukraine’s president in a well-publicized telephone call and the other is recorded on video. The question that must be answered during the President’s trial in the Senate is whether he asked Ukraine’s President to make that announcement to help root out general corruption in Ukraine – or whether he wanted the announcement to damage Joe Biden’s reputation, and in effect, to hurt Biden’s chances of becoming President of the United States. The interest of the United States would be served in the former case, but only the President’s personal and political interests in the latter.
The second article of impeachment is that the President abused his power by obstructing congress’s ability to carry out a constitutionally authorized investigation into the President’s conduct. It’s undisputed that the President acted to obstruct that investigation by blocking witnesses from testifying before Congress and denying congress the documents they needed in their investigation. What’s more, the obstruction worked, – that is important witnesses did not come forward and the documents were not released to Congress. In this matter the question which much be answered is did the President act in good faith and in the interest of The United States or were his actions illegal and contrary to the intent of the impeachment process as set out in the Constitution.
Another way to look at the impeachment and the upcoming trail in the Senate is to ask yourself the following question: Is it more likely that this particular President acted wholly in the interest of the country in both actions for which he has been impeached or is it more likely that he acted with the intent to corrupt the 2020 elections and then acted illegally to block Congress’s investigation into his actions. That goes to the very heart of what’s this impeachment and the upcoming trial in the senate is about.
The excerpt below from the New York Time brings out some of the kinder and more gentle instincts of President Trump – as he heaps praise on his democratic opponents and former stars of his administration. I understand that his language was harsher in describing some of his other favorite people.
As the first full month of his impeachment investigation began to wane, President Trump unleashed a rhetorical onslaught. He announced that his Democratic rivals are “crazy,” “hate our country” and “want to destroy America.” He apparently called the House speaker [Nancy Pelosi]“a third-grade politician” to her face, labeled his GOP critics “human scum,” knocked his first defense secretary [General Mattis] as “the world’s most overrated general,” and argued that the Kurdish people of northern Syria “are no angels” as they faced Turkish invasion and a possible genocide.
While his lawyers argued presidents cannot be investigated for murder and threatened to sue CNN for claiming to produce journalism, Trump joked that he would defy the constitution’s 22nd Amendment to stay in office 20 more years, while dismissing “that phony emoluments clause” in Article I, Section 9. He repeatedly implored Americans to vote for his former press secretary [Sean Spicer]“ on Dancing with the Stars,” mistakenly called his current defense secretary “Mark Esperanto,” instead of Esper, and threatened to get involved with a murder trial in Anguilla.
I see no other way to view what President Trump has done, or not done, in response to Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria – than a cowardly betrayal of a loyal friend and ally in the fight against ISIS. I’ve heard that as many as 11,000 Kurdish fighters were killed in the bloody fight to drive ISIS forces out of Syria and now, they have been abandoned to fight a much a stronger enemy to the north. For years Kurdish forces, with the support of the United States military, led the bloody fight against ISIS. Now, it looks like in a phone call between President Trump and President Erdogan of Turkey, President Trump gave his okay for Turkey forces to invade northern Syria and attack Kurdish forces there. In further betrayal the President announced publicly that American forces would not intervene and ordered the few remaining American military personnel to abandon those areas where the Turks were expected to attack.
How far Turkey will go in its incursion into Syria to weaken the Kurds is not known at this point. President Erdogan says he merely wants to clear a neutral zone in northern Syria, but the way he goes about that will make all the difference. I expect the Kurds to mount a strong resistance against the heavily armed Turks, and that will mean heavy Kurdish losses. We know already that Kurdish women and children are on the run and that multiple Kurds have been killed. I can only hope that the horrible consequences of this betrayal of a loyal American allay will be laid where it belongs – at the feet of President Trump. Revelations in recent phone calls between President Trump and other world leaders have shown his willingness to betray his oath of office. This phone shows his willingness to betray one of our most loyal allies.