by Thomas Adcock
Copyright © 2019 • Thomas Adcock
NEW YORK CITY, near America
In last November’s federal legislative elections, Democrats swept to party leadership in half the two-chamber Congress of the United States—the House of Representatives, affectionately known as “the people’s House.”
At last! Power to the people!
Voters turned out in historically high numbers to demonstrate their profound disgust with the cupidity, immorality, and criminality of Donald J. Trump and his enablers of the hear-no-evil, see-no-evil Republican Party. Heeding the message of upstart Democratic contenders, featuring a bumper crop of women candidates, voters ousted feckless male Republican incumbents of the House who failed—who refused—to reign in a gangster presidency.
Did we not hear from Democratic Party elders that they, too, would heed the message brought forward by the upstarts? That they would help bring justice to The Donald, forthwith? What was it they said, over and over and over and over…?
Just you wait, Mr. and Ms. America! Once we get our righteous hands on that Mueller report from that investigation of his, begun back in the summer of 2017, we’ll have the goods on the gangster. Then, by god, we’ll do what needs doing. You’ll see!
The pressing need of the people is the catharsis of evicting Donald Trump from Washington’s most prestigious address, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The straightforward method is the congressional process known as impeachment.
Robert Mueller, appointed by the Justice Department as special counsel to drain the Trump swamp, indeed delivered his report on March 22. With it, House Democrats had their long-awaited map: ten documented instances of presidential obstruction into a duly instituted government probe of collaboration between the Kremlin and Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign organization, more than sufficient grounds for proceeding to impeachment.
Yet Donald Trump remains in place. And there is no movement—neither serious nor symbolic—to commence impeachment.
Why? Because panjandrums of the Democratic establishment, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have opted for doing little more than supine Republicans about Mr. Trump, il capo di tutti capi of a crime syndicate. Ms. Pelosi and her deputies issue stern press statements, showboat for television cameras in the corridors of Congress, yip and yap about Trumpian sins and transgressions, and pledge to launch dozens of committee hearings, by god.
Further, the Democratic yippers and yappers lament, there is no chance that the other half of Congress—a Republican dominated Senate—will do its necessary part in removing a criminal president from office once the House carries out its rôle. In essence, the impeachment process would die in the Republican Senate; in essence, Democrats would cede their oversight responsibility to political calculation—unless forced to act as they ought to.
These Democrats put me in mind of something said by the late father of my dear friend, Morag H.: “It’s a timid dog that barks behind a fence.”
Mr. Mueller’s 448-page report of decidedly unpatriotic conspiracy between a rightwing presidential candidate and the Russian government—behavior so often conducted in plain sight as to be obvious to a cocker spaniel—was embargoed for more than a week by Attorney General William Barr. In unethical (and possibly illegal) consultation with the Kremlin’s man in the Oval Office, Mr. Barr used the interregnum to censor whole paragraphs of the Mueller report before turning it over to Congress.
Two hours prior to the official handoff, Mr. Barr conducted a televised press conference for the partisan purpose of gaslighting the polity. Before anyone in Congress or the public had read so much as the cover page of the eagerly awaited report, Mr. Barr quoted lines that failed to give a full, nuanced picture of the analysis at hand. He simply parroted, repeatedly, the president’s own claim of “no collusion,” an expression of no legal meaning. As a feat of propaganda in accordance with the Big Lie technique of Joseph Goebbels, Mr. Barr’s performance was boffo.
—And why on Earth was the attorney general in consultation with Mr. Trump? Supposedly, Mr. Barr serves the Constitution, and the people, rather than the presidency. In practicality, he might as well have worn a red MAGA hat, official headgear of the cock-a-whoop, foot-stomping Trump cult.
Republicans, of course, were quick to dismiss the damning Mueller report. Senator Lindsey Graham, a lisper from the state of South Carolina, spoke for the consensus of his partisans during a CBS-Television appearance: “It’s all theatre, it doesn’t matter.” Not even, as documented in the report, in the case of Mr. Trump’s order to White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mr. Mueller in the early stages of his investigation—a prima facie obstruction of justice. “I don’t care what he said to Don McGahn,” said Senator Graham, insisting, “The president never obstructed.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Barr refuses to testify before a House committee hearing scheduled for Thursday, May 2, unless he is politely questioned by barking dogs. The committee chairman has blustered about sending a subpoena to the recalcitrant attorney general. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has declared that no underling of his shall honor a subpoena.
Here it now stands in America: There will be no accounting for an outlaw presidency until and unless Democrats in the House grow spines and proceed toward drafting articles of impeachment against the outlaw—in effect, indicting him. Never mind that Senate Republicans will abdicate in their responsibility to conduct the trial of Donald Trump, in effect countenancing the outlaw regime.
The question becomes, Which side are you on?
Speaking for himself, congressional Republicans, and his cult, Mr. Trump took to Twitter on April 20 in defense of his side: “Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue. …[It is] total bullshit.”
—Earlier, in May 2017 when Mr. Mueller was charged with investigating his relationship with Kremlin cyber-warriors, the report said Donald Trump’s reaction was: “Oh my god. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”
On the other hand, there is the singular voice of grace and rectitude among Democrats—that of Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, currently seeking her party’s nomination for president in next year’s election. Following is her written statement of April 19:
The Mueller report lays out facts showing that a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help Donald Trump, and [that] Donald Trump welcomed that help. Once elected, Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into that attack.
Mueller put the next step in the hands of Congress: “Congress has authority to prohibit a president’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice.” The correct process for exercising that authority is impeachment.
To ignore a president’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways.
The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States.
I want to make sure you know where I stand.
—Thomas Adcock is America correspondent for CulturMag