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Dec-23-2019 00:02printcomments

Trump Impeachment in a Nutshell

The country deserves at least the appearance of a fair trial.


(SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.) - On December 18, 2019, President Donald J. Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. This is only the third time in history that a president has been impeached and the first time for a first-term president.

Both Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were impeached but the Senate failed to remove them from office. Richard Nixon resigned before a House impeachment vote.

Trump was impeached on two counts: 1) abuse of power by withholding Congressionally-approved aid to Ukraine and a coveted White House visit to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, his possible opponent in the 2020 election; and, 2) obstructing Congress.

However, Trump has violated his oath of office in so many other ways — obstructing the Special Counsel’s investigation, intimidating witnesses, constantly lying, profiting off his presidency, failing to hold Russia accountable for interfering in our elections, and much more.

Kudos to House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Reps. Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, and the other House Democrats who voted to impeach. I’m proud to have Ms. Pelosi as my Representative. Shame on those House Republicans who engaged in clownish behavior.

What’s next? Ordinarily, articles of impeachment would be immediately forwarded to the Senate for trial. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he would not be an impartial juror and would coordinate closely with Trump and his counsel.

This is like having the jury foreman consulting with the defendant. This is contrary to the oath he and other jurors swear to "do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.”

I am not surprised at what McConnell said, but I am surprised he would say it in public. The House will probably delay sending the impeachment to the Senate until they set satisfactory rules for the trial to include, I presume, witnesses and document production.

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 71% of Americans say Trump should allow his top aides to testify in the expected Senate trial. Notably, 64% of Republicans say so, as do 72% of independents and 79% of Democrats.

Will this sway McConnell and other Senate Republicans to agree to a Senate trial with witnesses and document production? Guess these Republicans will hear from their constituents during the holiday recess.

The country deserves at least the appearance of a fair trial even though the Senate is unlikely to remove Trump from office. Sixty-seven votes are hard to come by.

No matter what happens in the Senate, the House did what it could and can stand tall. Impeachment itself is a victory.


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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.