Editor’s Note: The Lake Geneva Regional News presents “Party Lines,” a monthly discussion of political issues featuring side-by-side guest columnists from the local Democratic and Republican parties. The column below represents one side of this month’s discussion. Click here for the other side.
Recently, President Trump called an ongoing impeachment probe into his conduct “a lynching.”
His comment stirred up controversy and attention-grabbing headlines. His insensitivity, lack of understanding of history, and his disregard for the democratic process is mind boggling. He, again, diverts attention away from the real issues facing his presidency: Has he committed treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors?
James McGovern, in his book, “Anatomy of a Lynching,” documents the gruesome murder of Caude Neal that attracted thousands of participants. How ironic that it was almost 85 years to the day of Neal’s lynching that the president made his comment. The president will have an army of attorneys (including the Attorney General), a sympathetic media (Fox News), and a hearing.
Tell me, again, why the impeachment inquiry is like a lynching.
The Founding Fathers were very concerned about the president becoming a king or a dictator. They did not want the president to be above the law. They wrote into the Constitution provisions that protect our fragile democracy. Article 2, Section 4 states that “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Article 1, Section 2, states that “The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”
Article 1, Section 3, provides for a trial with this statement: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried the Chief Justice shall preside; And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.”
Finally, our Constitution protects us from the undue influence of foreign governments by what is known as the emoluments clause (Article 1, Section 9): “And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
The authors of our Constitution spent a great deal of time thinking about how to protect us from undemocratic acts by our elected officials. These early patriots set in place protections that are still with us today. Impeachment is a not a dirty word. It should be looked at as our patriotic duty if something is amiss in our democratic nation. We should be thankful that impeachment exists and protects us from leaders like Putin, Edrogan, and other infamous dictators.
Should President Trump be impeached? The Mueller Report states: “The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”
Mueller told us that he was not allowed to indict the president for obstruction, because the rules of the Justice Department prevented him from during so. He then states that it was the duty of Congress to investigate and to determine if there was any obstruction of justice by the president. By voting for the impeachment inquiry, the House is doing what the Constitution requires.
Calling the impeachment probe a lynching is unpatriotic and against our democratic principles. The president will have his day in court. He will be flanked by his highly paid attorneys and be afforded due process. There will be trial in the Senate. That trial will determine if the president is found guilty or not guilty.
Impeachment is needed to finally clear the air about the deeds of the president. It should be welcomed as the way a democracy works. It doesn’t undermine the will of the people; it is the will of the people. In our country, no one is above the law — not even the president.
Steven Doelder of the village of Bloomfield is a member of the Walworth County Democratic Party.