AN IMPEACHMENT CONVERSATION: Is Trump’s Acquittal a Negation of Democracy?
A Facebook friend who felt the US president Donald Trump’s acquittal from impeachment charges meant that America was no better than Nigeria in upholding democracy published a post to that effect which gave rise to the following conversation. Although others were part of the exchange, I have extracted just his contributions and mine in order not to have an unwieldy presentation. I have also removed his name because the aim of this post is not to ridicule him.
I’m sharing the post to show that analogies and analyses in writing are only as good as the facts they are based on. Unless we are in the propaganda and misinformation business, we need to study an issue well before offering opinions on it. I also want to show that we can have civil conversations on controversial matters like politics. Some parts of the thread under the post I responded to were burning up because of the incendiary language used to attack the writer.
Here we go!
An Impeachment Conversation
Original Post (OP) by Mr. A.
Trump has been acquitted by the US senate but think deeply about this…
If what just happened in the US has happened in Nigeria – the Nigerian President tried for corruption and abuse of office, convicted on both counts by the House of Representatives after he barred all government officials from testifying…
But then acquitted by his own party who are the majority in the senate after they refused to entertain testimony of witnesses, unprecedented in the nation’s history:
1. There would be statements of concern from the United States and other Western countries about the “slide in democratic practices,” and a “worrying decline in the rule of law”.
2. The PDP would carry placards to the US Embassy asking that all APC senators be bared from getting visas to the United States.
Trump thinks Africa is a ‘shit hole’ and probably has more supporters in Nigeria than the US. So let me keep quiet.
You missed it on the procedure in the US. The fact that what happens in the Senate is called a trial does not equate it with what happens in a regular court. The House of Reps investigates the matter (Impeachment Inquiry). Witnesses are called there and in this case, there were 17 witnesses and loads of documents. The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee barred House Republicans and the president’s lawyers from the depositions in the basement of the Capitol Building. The president’s team was not allowed to call any witnesses and selective leaks of testimony were made to the media to shape the narrative in favour of the Democrats. These are the unprecedented aspects of the Inquiry.
When some of the president’s staff were sought and denied on the grounds of executive privilege which every president enjoys, the House should have issued subpoenas which would be argued in court because the judiciary is the arbiter in disputes between the executive and legislative arms of government as between citizens. But the House chose not to follow that path but to rush a vote on Impeachment. The president’s team were only allowed in during the last week of the 77 or 78-day Inquiry.
Remember the charge was said to be quid pro quo, then extortion, then bribery. But when the Democrats couldn’t find evidence to back up those allegations (which by the way were formed from focus group studies by Speaker Pelosi of members of the public to see what they considered impeachable offenses), the charges were turned to the vague abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The fishing expedition didn’t pay off but the Democrats insisted on impeaching the president. This was just a smear campaign to hurt his chances of winning in 2020 since the Democrats have no presidential candidate to speak of.
The job of the Senate in an impeachment trial is not to seek for evidence (that is the job of the House) but to examine the evidence presented by the House and render a verdict. Any additional information or clarification sought would come from the witnesses who already testified before the House. Pulling out red herrings and subverting the process when it doesn’t suit them are well-known pages from the Democrat playbook.
They knew they had no case, that is why Speaker Pelosi delayed sending over the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate until the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threatened to dismiss them. The Democrat hope was to drag out the case for as long as they could just like they did the Muellar investigations which dragged till the Midterms to give them this majority they currently have and are abusing in the House. The House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff kept saying he had overwhelming evidence of Trump’s collusion with the Russians and that swayed enough voters for them to take the House. Shortly after, the Muellar report was released and Schiff is yet to bring forward his incontrovertible evidence of collusion.
What I have said through this lengthy explanation is that your analogy is based on wrong premises. The Democrats were neither robbed nor were the Republicans wrong to acquit Trump. The Dems knew Trump wouldn’t be removed from office. They were just putting on a show in collusion (I like the sound of that word now) with the liberal media to damage Trump’s chances in 2020.
The point being missed here is that this post is more about perception in international politics and the undue interference by Western Countries in the internal affairs of ‘dependent nations’ rather than whether or not Trump was guilty of the impeachment charges against him or whether the Democrats who controls the House of Representatives followed the correct procedures in impeaching Trump.
Whether you believe it or not, Donald Trump has a cult-like grip on his supporters. They would justify all Trump transgressions and are prone to blaming real and imaginary enemies for all self inflicted problems of the current POTUS.
We have a situation in Nigeria where the Supreme Court delivered a unanimous judgment that made Hope Uzodinma governor of Imo State against all odds. Many Nigerians have protested over this judgement and even the opposition PDP has gone to the United States embassy, asking that the justices of the Supreme Court be sanctioned for interpreting the country’s laws the way they deem fit.
I personally believe that that judgment is flawed but I’ve learned to respect separation of powers in a constitutional democracy. I had issues with the US Supreme Court judgment regarding the Florida recount during Gore vs Bush saga but I realised that nothing can be done about it as their judgment was final. No one outside of the United States protested this judgment.
Be it as it may, you mentioned that Trump refused to allow some government officials to testify due to Executive Privilege. Why is he afraid of their testimony if he has nothing to hide. You also stated that the House could have subpoenaed those people but you are aware that a subpoena would go through the courts which would take months if not years to be resolved.
You also made it look like the senate is not like a court of law that needs the testimonies of witnesses before they can acquit or convict but you conveniently refused to mention that the previous three times where a US president was impeached, the senate called witnesses.
It is a fact that the democrats knew from the outset that the US senate would never remove Trump from office because the Republicans are in the majority there. And there was the realization that the impeachment may hurt their party’s electoral prospects. But I agree with them that they owe it as a duty to the American people to ensure that the country would not have a president who believes that he is above the law and behaves in the same way.
An imperial American president would be detrimental to democracy not only in the United States but the rest of the world.
Analysis based on faulty premises should be declared as such and that is the point I made. The mention of the “flawed” Supreme Court judgment on Imo State is a flawed position because you realise that there can be no meaningful separation of powers when the judiciary and the legislature have been subjugated by the executive.
Trump may have some die-hard followers but he also has many followers who have no illusions about his character. Many Christian Evangelicals, Jews, Muslims and conservatives of different persuasions who support him do not even like him personally. Many of them cringe at his colourful use of language and inability to turn the other cheek, for instance, and call him out for these (like his attack on Mitt Romney and Nancy Pelosi at the National Prayer Breakfast a few days ago). They agree with his opponents who say he often acts unpresidential and acknowledge he is an imperfect man as we all are. But they also know he is an authentic person who speaks his mind, loves America, cares for Americans of all races and classes, has been consistent in most of his public policy views for decades and keeps his word. Some voted for him simply because it was prophesied that God would use him to take America back from the godless, globalist path and restore family values. He seemed like a very unlikely candidate for that job being a far from perfect example of a Christian, having married thrice and owned casinos, etc. However, he has done exactly what he was said to come to do- give Christians and conservatives a voice again, restore religious freedom (like prayer in schools and freedom from litigation for upholding one’s faith), fight late-term abortion and the killing of abortion survivors, bring prosperity to Americans across board, etc.
Furthermore, the Democratic Party has been taken over by radicals who espouse communist and anti-Semitic views. The party advocates open borders and support of illegal aliens with resources American citizens don’t fully enjoy, higher taxes, lax criminal laws, free social services that will destroy the economy, late term abortions, allowiing transgenders into homeless/trafficking victims’ shelters and bathrooms used by biological females and a host of other wild ideas. The states and cities they run have terribly high taxes, are overflowing with filth, crime, the homeless and drug addicts to the extent that they are being likened to Third World countries. Citizens are fleeing such states like New York, California and Illinois, in their droves. So that party is for all practical purposes not an option for many people. Trump may not be as gentlemanly as his vice, Mike Pence, but he’s the kind of fighter needed to resist the vicious Democrats and their media collaborators.
You mentioned Trump’s refusal to allow certain witnesses to come forward. Executive privilege and classification of info exist for that very purpose. A president should be able to hold confidential discussions with his aides and advisors without everything brought to the public domain. Besides, as I said earlier, the Democrats were on a fishing expedition. How come all their “bombshells” from the House Inquiry yielded nothing? This matter was not going to end as long as the Democrats held out hope that anyone mentioned by their media collaborators could add a little weight to their case. Imagine that! Anyone who had a grudge against Trump, including people he had fired over policy diffrerences like John Bolton, could allege whatever they wished and the Senate would put its business interminably on hold to hear their witnesses. And I wasn’t wrong on the Senate not hearing new witnesses. There have only been two presidential impeachment trials in the US Senate (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon resigned to preempt his impeachment). In both cases, the witnesses that were heard in the Senate were those who had already been deposed and testified before the House of Reps (not like in this case anyone whom the NYT or WaPo happens to mention his or her name in a hit piece against Trump 😄😄😄).
If anyone is acting like they are above the law, it’s the Democrats who have a different set of standards for others than for themselves. Their hypocrisy is unbelievable and you know what would be good for America’s democracy and the rest of the world? It’s upholding the American Constitution and reverring its institutions indeed by these rascals, not attempting to tear everything down to have their way and putting up a theatrical performance declaiming the opposite while they are at it.
The good thing is that many Americans see through their theatrics and more are pulling off the wool over their eyes by the day. That is why Trump’s approval ratings grew, the stock market soared and the liberal media ratings kept going down in spite of it. Perhaps, if you didn’t swallow liberal media talking points, you would see things differently too. 😄😀😎
It’s been nice chatting with you. Have a good night.
“Furthermore, the Democratic Party has been taken over by radicals … and their media collaborators.”
(He quoted that entire paragraph.)
This simply means that the Democratic Party wants to destroy America, right? It’s interesting that this passage could have come from one of Trump’s bombastic speeches in his campaign rallies.
‘Open borders and illegal aliens… ‘
I’m quite surprised that some people in Nigeria would be in support of Trump’s racist policies that restrict legal migration, making it difficult for people from poor countries to enjoy the ‘American Dream’. If this policy has been in place, Trump’s grandparents would not have had the opportunity of migrating to the United States from Germany. His current wife Melanie would also have stayed back in Slovenia. The US had a Democrat as president for 8 years before Trump. How did the ‘open borders and illegal aliens’ hurt America during this period?
The American conventional media are now tagged the ‘Liberal Media’ by Trump supporters. And so the likes of Fox News, Breitbart News, New York Post, Daily Caller and Drudge Report have now become mainstream media? So these far right racist outlets have become the new mainstream media just because they are in bed with Trump?
My African background means that I personally have issues with some of the policies that the democrats advocate like gay and transgender rights. But it’s unfortunate that the American society has moved beyond this. That’s the reality.
I get freaked out by sitting beside a transgender in a bus in New York or seeing two men kissing passionately in Atlanta but I realised sadly that I’m the queer one – every other person seemed at home with such things.
Rev J, my previous statement about Trump and his cult-like following isn’t meant as an insult to his supporters and I apologize if you saw it in that light. But I wrote something that is anchored on perception in international and local politics and it has been turned into an appraisal of Trump’s impeachment saga, Trump’s Victim hood and the demonization of the United States Democratic Party.
I don’t want to say someone has a cult-like grip… 😂 😂 😂
Big man, sorry for the late reply. I wrote a Val story yesterday evening which you can read, if you wish, at Aunty Edith. All my responses on this thread arose because I saw some errors of fact and interpretation upon which your post’s “perception of local and international politics” was based. The teacher in me felt compelled to intervene. 😄😄😄
And it’s not Nigerians alone who saw through the impeachment charade as this video shows.
On immigration, Trump’s policy is basically the same as that of former US presidents of both parties, including Bill Clinton and Barak Obama. Even the means of enforcement- travel bans, deportations, employment of more border guards and fencing the Southern border are not original to Trump. (See video below) The difference is that the Democrats are weaponising the immigration crisis which got worse with huge migrant caravans “invading” the US from South America. Trump came up with stricter enforcement, the building of a wall instead of fencing that determined migrants and human traffickers can breach and recently, the revocation of pregnancy tourism through which women come to the US to have their babies and those babies could automatically become American citizens (I don’t even know if that policy is in place because most of these ideas are contested in courts and Congress before taking effect.) It will interest you to note that even on the issue that has caused the greatest furore: the separation of migrant children from their parents at the border- this did not start under Trump. As a top ICE official stated during a Congressional invitation, it is standard procedure in law enforcement to separate children from their offending parents. But the mainstream media and the Democrats scream to make political capital out of this unfortunate but unavoidable reality of immigration law enforcement as they do about other issues.
There’s nothing racist about protecting your country from illegal immigration so that undocumented workers do not take the opportunities your citizens need. Minorities (Blacks, Latinos and Asians) are very grateful about this and those who migrated legally or are waiting in line to become citizens feel cheated by the creation of sanctuary cities for illegal aliens and these other policies Democrat-run states are coming up with to fight Trump on immigration. These policies just hurt their own people and they contribute to exarcebating conflict and division in America.
If Trump is so much against immigration, why is he introducing a Migrant Work Visa Program to enable qualified people from different countries come to work legally in the US to fill up some of the job opportunities created by the recent economic wins the country has had.
Concerning the media you mentioned, they are still called mainstream media but are widely acknowledged as having a liberal bias. Even someone who didn’t study Mass Comm. can easily deduce this by reading or viewing their contents. This was obvious in the last impeachment case. Going further back, during the buildup to the last US Midterm elections, the coverage of these media focused on the Democratic Party and its efforts to retake the Houses of Congress from the Republicans. It just seemed as if the main American TV networks (ABC, MSNBC, CNN, etc), the newspapers (the NYT, WaPo, USA Today, etc.) and their European counterparts like Reuters and the BBC were working for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). It was the same thing before the Nov. 2016 presidential elections. This is (a twisted form) of advocacy journalism masquerading as objective reporting because these media claim to have no vested interests. Here are posts that show this to be so.
The right-leaning media you pointed out are acknowledged as such and Fox gives more airtime to liberal voices than the others do to conservatives.
Like some have stated here, I doubt that these lucid explanations can change your views about the matters raised or Trump (that is not even my intention), but I’d like us to get the facts straight. And I think, perhaps, we have visited every matter arising from your OP. It’s a busy week ahead.
Have a beautiful one! 💐
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