Posted by: David Offutt | June 23, 2017

Impeachment Problems: What to Do about Trump

Multiple lawsuits against President Trump, numerous investigations involving the president, the rejections of traditional American values, the decline of U.S. leadership and prestige abroad, the denial of climate change, and the pending dismantlement of the U.S. government and the social safety of the American people have raised urgent questions about what to do about The Donald. (Photo: Matt Dunham/AP images)



In his perceptive memoir “The Last Time I Saw Paris” (1942), Elliot Paul included a commentary on France’s fledgling Communist Party during the 1920s. He wrote that “…it is impossible for them to keep their traps shut when discretion would be the better part, not only of valour, but of strategy and tactics as well. “ The same could be said today of President Donald R. Trump, who seems determined to inspire more and more investigations and talks of his possible removal from office.


None of his tweets, speeches, and actions do him any good except with his base and only raise more suspicions on multiple fronts: His seemingly clear violation of our constitution’s emoluments clause involving his profiting from receiving payments from foreign powers; his campaign’s possible collusion with the Russians in influencing our 2016 elections; his firing of former FBI director James Comey and his appearance of obstructing justice; and his refusal to share his tax returns, which begs misgivings about multiple conflicts of interest.


The problem, of course, is that the results of the 2016 elections placed us in such a position that nothing good can come from.


President Trump listens to his accolades from each of his cabinet members. Fortunately, some were more subdued than most.

First of all, under current circumstances we can forget about using the 25th Amendment. No matter how ignorant, incompetent, irresponsible, and malicious he may appear to be, Trump’s ego would never allow him to admit that he’s not up to the job and let the vice president become Acting President.  Neither is there a chance that his vice president and a majority of his cabinet will declare Trump to be “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”


At the first full cabinet meeting, Trump essentially turned it into a personal fan club and listened to most of them swear fealty to his lordship. Very few of them would have ever been considered by any other president from either party for their present positions: Rick Perry at energy, Jeff Sessions at justice, Tom Price at health and human services, Ben Carson at housing and urban development, Betsy DeVos at education, Scott Pruitt at the EPA, and Mick Mulvaney as budget director. We can fully expect these people to turn their agencies into Orwellian departments contrary to their purpose. They’re highly unlikely to consider what’s best for the nation.


As for impeachment, no matter how convincing the evidence may be – and we won’t know until Special Counsel Robert Mueller completes his investigations – what is the likelihood that a House of Representatives controlled by Republicans would indict a sitting president of their own party? None whatsoever. Remember that the makeup of the G.O.P. since the advent of Newt Gingrich “Khan” as Speaker of the House in January 1995 bears no resemblance to those in the party at the time of Richard Nixon when he resigned in 1974.


President Trump is not threatening to gun down Vice President Pence. He’s only pointing out the man whom he placed a heartbeat away from the presidency. Having Pence next in line is the best insurance for survival that Trump has. (Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP)

Another problem is the man who is next in line of succession – if by some remote chance Trump is impeached and then convicted in the Senate by a two-thirds vote.  The vice president is Mike Pence, a former U.S. representative and later governor of Indiana. Mr. Pence was an anti-government extremist years before the billionaire Koch brothers invented the TEA Party to prevent the rich from being taxed for health care reform.  He is also an avowed supporter of fundamentalist/evangelical culture warriors who know how everyone else should live his or her life. Mr. Trump uses anti-government and evangelical spiels for personal gain but we don’t know what he really believes from one day to the next. Mr. Pence, however, is a true believer.


V.P. Pence is already lawyering-up. It’s going to be hard for anyone close to President Trump from being contaminated and swept up in Mueller’s investigations, which may lead in all sorts of directions. In the unlikely event that Pence has to resign or is also impeached, who’s next in line to the presidency? It’s Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. And that’s another problem.


Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, second in line of succession to the presidency, hopes to use Trump to cut taxes on the wealthy and undermine the social safety net of the American people. (Photo:

Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is widely revered as the Republican Party’s man of ideas. He’s always coming up with repetitive budget proposals that cut taxes on the wealthy while miraculously raising revenue only by the resulting economic growth – which historically doesn’t happen – and by cutting unspecified government programs that presumably don’t directly benefit the wealthy. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has described Speaker Ryan as “the flim-flam man.” Ryan’s a follower of Grover Norquist, who wants to cut taxes on the wealthy so as to drown the government of the United States of America in a bathtub. Ryan is also a devotee of Ayn Rand, whose philosophy she explained in her book “The Virtue of Selfishness – A New Concept of Egoism.”


Vice President Spiro Agnew and President Richard Nixon in prison strips. Neither went to jail, but both resigned from their offices. (Photo: from Lead Pipe Posters/published by Yippy Inc.)

We need to recall that what allowed us to get rid of Richard Nixon was not only the “smoking gun” tape that proved conclusively that he was guilty of planning to obstruct justice.  As long as Spiro Agnew was vice president, Nixon’s job was secure. Agnew as president was unthinkable. When Agnew pleaded no contest to bribery charges, Nixon tried to save himself by picking the mediocre Michigan U.S. representative Gerald Ford as his new vice president. However, the lightweight Ford was known to be honest and likeable – Nixon was neither and that’s what made his removal possible.  He resigned to avoid impeachment, conviction, and losing his pension.


Ryan’s defense of The Donald is probably the best there is: Trump’s never been in government before, so he simply doesn’t know what he’s doing. The disease of Trump, an apparent con artist and pathological liar, is scary and embarrassing, but the cure of Pence or Ryan would be even worse. As long as we understand that he primarily wants to use his office to increase his family’s wealth and the wealth of his fellow plutocrats, we can try to check him accordingly. His and his congressional allies’ incompetence may prevent their irresponsibility and maliciousness from doing us lasting harm. It won’t be easy, but we need to plan on staying the present course of enduring and resisting over the next three and a half years. ensuring there’s then enough left of our nation to restore.



  1. Good words where we are as a nation. Is scary. May God help us. Are you still on vacation?

    Sent from my iPad


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