By Janet Williams
Every time our president does something stupid or questionable — which has been daily lately — all of his critics start writing and posting about how it’s only a matter of time until he is impeached.
Janet Williams, editor, TheStatehouseFile.com
My plea is stop. Just stop it. Even though each act seems more outrageous than the last, the word “impeach” loses its power when it is so overused, especially when it is coming from people who don’t have the power to do anything about it.
Only the Republicans in the House and Senate have the power to take any meaningful action. For now, they’re quiet, at least in public.
The latest and most vocal cries for impeachment have come in the aftermath of the firing of James Comes as FBI director. Trouble is, we don’t know enough about the Comey firing to judge whether the president’s actions are impeachable. We have plenty of stories and reasons to choose from, but what really led to his firing?
Was it the Russia investigation? Did Donald Trump really ask Comey to let it go in reference to the behavior of Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor who had meetings with the Russians before the election and then lied about it? Was it because Comey refused to pledge his loyalty to the president in a conversation early into the Trump presidency, as has been reported?
Let’s face it, we just don’t know without a deeper and more thorough investigation. And that takes time.
Neither do we know enough about how and why the president shared highly confidential information with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister. Again, as president, Trump can tell them anything he pleases, even if it means compromising sensitive intelligence sources and possibly betraying a close ally, Israel.
Maybe we don’t like it, but it’s not impeachable. As we have heard many times this week, the president can classify or declassify any sensitive information he wants.
Besides, there is now a special prosecutor on the case — former FBI Director Robert Mueller — so at least there is a hope of unraveling the mess about Russian interference in the last election and influence on the current administration.
Many critics have plenty of reasons for wanting to see Trump gone, including the cabinet appointments that will undermine years of progress on climate issues and civil rights or renew the “war on drugs” that might sweep up an entire generation of millennials who got used to relaxed marijuana laws.
So what that he has stacked his administration with incompetent political hacks? The GOP-controlled Senate put its stamp of approval on the cabinet with the full knowledge of who they were voting for.
Or that the health care plan he cooked up with House Republicans has the potential, if passed, would drive as many as 24 million people from insurance rolls because of cost and coverage issues.
Or the commission he is appointing to look into voter fraud in the last election because, well, he couldn’t possibly have gotten nearly three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton. Right? Had to be fraud, even though there is not now nor has there ever been evidence of voter fraud in the last election.
Trump’s chief accomplice, Vice President Mike Pence, will have a role with this commission as does Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who has oversight of Indiana’s elections. It’s not enough that he’s tarnished Pence’s reputation by having him repeat a string of phony stories about Flynn and then Comey, Trump is now luring Lawson into the cesspool.
For now, at least, using the power of the presidency to pursue a non-issue issue probably isn’t impeachable. Because so many are focused on Trump’s outrageous actions, there isn’t much room to pay attention to what this commission might do.
And what happens if Trump has actually committed an impeachable offense? Does anyone really expect the enablers in Congress like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to remove him? They have proven again and again that they value party over country.
Let’s save the impeachment talk for when it might really matter — after Mueller and the FBI have conducted a thorough investigation.
Janet Williams is editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.