Exit Trump – It Won’t Be Long Now

Pence

Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule. But there is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy. 

— Gerald Ford, Swearing-in as president on August 9, 1974, after the presidential resignation of Richard Nixon. 

I expect that at some point prior to Labor Day, 2019, Mike Pence will speak virtually these same words upon his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States, succeeding Donald Trump, who will have recently resigned in disgrace.  To paraphrase the Beatles, it won’t be long now before Trump exits the Oval Office.

Trump’s fate became virtually inexorable Tuesday with the guilty plea of his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, to a felony violation of federal election laws; i.e. making an “excessive campaign contribution” to the Trump campaign.   

Specifically, Cohen was charged witharranging unreported payments in excess of campaign contribution legal limits to two women, including porn star Stormy Daniels, during the 2016 campaign to keep them from speaking publicly about affairs they said they had with Mr. Trump.  These payments were made “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office (Trump)” with the purpose of furthering his presidential candidacy, thus implicating the president as an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal felony crime. 

In my view, there is not even a scintilla of a doubt that Trump’s involvement in such a criminal conspiracy constitutes a clearly egregious impeachable offense, to wit, a “high crime and misdemeanor” under the United States Constitution.

The best definition of an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor was set forth in the Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton.  In Federalist No. 65, Hamilton wrote that impeachable offenses must involve “abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

Under the Hamilton test, the Trump/Cohen election law crime constitutes a flagrant breach of public trust, resulting in major damage to public confidence and faith in the ethics and integrity of the presidency, warranting Trump’s removal from office.  As Hamilton stated, the test for impeachment is political – the perception of the public of a breach of trust and abuse of power, rather than any statutory test, subject to the judgment of judges and lawyers.

Furthermore, the Trump-Cohen crime to which Michael Cohen pleaded guilty yesterday is one that directly casts into doubt the legitimacy of Trump’s election victory.  Had this crime not been committed and the public learned in October, 2016 about Trump’s affair with Stormy Daniels at the same time as the Access Hollywood controversy, there is no way that Trump would have been elected, even with the Jim Comey letter announcing the reopening of the Hillary Clinton investigation.

And I have no doubt that the Mueller report will also present substantial evidence of Impeachable misconduct of Trump and/or his key aides on both 1) the obstruction of justice issue; and 2) conspiracy to solicit the Russian government to provide assistance to the Trump campaign, in violation of federal election laws prohibiting acceptance of assistance from foreign sources.

The Democrats are a virtual certainty to capture control of the House of Representatives this November.  By May, the House will vote for Articles of Impeachment against the president.

It will then take the votes of 67 Senators to remove Trump from office. I expect that this vote total will be attained.  Any Republican Senator who votes against removing Trump from office, even if the Trump-Cohen offense is the only article of impeachment, will run a huge risk of defeat at the polls when he or she comes up for reelection in 2020 or 2022.   

If Michael Cohen is aware of evidence involving criminal conduct of Donald Trump, Jr.  or any other member of the Trump family, his continuing cooperation with the federal Department of Justice could offer another alternative route for Trump to depart the Oval Office.  The president could make an agreement with the Department of Justice to resign from office on condition that no prosecution be lodged against any member of the Trump family.  After his resignation, one could expect that Trump would continue to make speeches to rallies all over the country, proclaiming himself to be an innocent martyr who resigned from the presidency for the sake of his family.

In this column, as in others, I have compared Donald Trump and his misconduct in both the campaign and while in office with Richard Nixon and Watergate.  Trump supporters have complained that I should apologize for this.

I do owe an apology – to the late Richard Nixon.  Donald Trump is a far worse person than Richard Nixon, and his misconduct constitutes a far worse threat to Constitutional government in America than any Nixon Watergate activity.

Richard Nixon was a patriotic American who served our nation as a Naval officer in World War 2 and never failed to honor the heroism of those who answered our nation’s call in war and sacrificed life and health for our nation.  Donald Trump is an unpatriotic contemptible physical and moral coward who dodged military service due to “bone spurs” and had the gall to mock the noble and valiant patriotic wartime heroism of John McCain, even as the Senator is dying.

Richard Nixon gave Americans pride as he resisted in dignified, yet firm fashion nations that threatened the national security of the United States of America.  Compare that with the sniveling cowardice of Donald Trump and his shameful appeasement of Russian dictator Putin at Helsinki.

Richard Nixon did harbor ethnic prejudices, specifically against Jews and African-Americans.  He rose above these prejudices, however, to implement authentic heroic measures, including 1) his airlift of supplies to Israel during the Yom Kippur war of 1973, which saved the very existence of the Jewish State; and 2) his implementation of the Philadelphia Plan, which guaranteed that government contractors would hire minority workers.

Donald Trump’s prejudices against African-Americans and Hispanics are well-known.  Unlike Nixon, however, Trump never rises above his bigotry; he wallows in it, as he doubles down on flagrantly demagogic racist and xenophobic appeals at his rallies, which have the atmosphere of a Gerald L.K. Smith gathering.

Nixon was a classical conservative in the mode of Edmund Burke, who believed in the preservation of institutions.  Trump is a proto-fascist who believes in the destruction of institutions.  While Nixon believed in the protection of institutions such as the FBI, the CIA, and the Justice Department, Trump seeks to dismember and destroy them.  

Nixon’s Watergate misconduct warranted his removal from office.  Yet there was a strong element of the tragic figure within him.  He perceived, rightly in my view, that the election of 1960 had been stolen from him by the forces of Jack Kennedy.  This increased Nixon’s well-known insecurities and paranoia, resulting in his Watergate misconduct in a 1972 election he could not possibly lose. 

There is nothing tragic about the persona of Donald Trump, just pure evil narcissism.  The forthcoming forced departure of Donald Trump from the presidency in 2019 will stop once and for all the advancement of Trumpism, a virulent cancer destroying the American body politic. 

Mike Pence is not my ideal president.  I will probably not endorse him for reelection.  He is, however a good and decent man who, unlike Donald Trump, does not threaten American norms and Constitutional government. 

Prior to the 2015 advent of the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, I had a reputation of being a Republican partisan.  I became a GOP Never Trumper from the very outset of Trump’s run for the White House.  I even endorsed Hillary Clinton against him.  For me, the decision was simple: One must always put country over party.   

I am confident and hopeful that at long last, a sufficient number of Republicans in the House and Senate will put country over party in 2019, and that at long last, the American nightmare of the Trump presidency will be over. 

Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman.   

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2 responses to “Exit Trump – It Won’t Be Long Now”

  1. Yawn, more boring stupidity from a sore loser. Candidate now President Trump can put whatever money and how much he wishes into his campaign.

    Trying to criminalize to have a nuisance go away is no crime. You can’t even suggest it’s a crime because it’s not even an election violation that would be a civil penalty.

    Like the election violation where Obama had millions pour illegally into his campaign. Remember that? Probably not because the switch was turned off so credit cards could make “donations” in the oddest amounts like $35.43 from overseas in non-US funds.

    Obama was hit with well over $300,000 in election fines.

    He was not charged in a crime and President Trump doesn’t remotely quality for any crime. Even Alan Dershowitz explained this to every dimwit who can listen.

    Sore losers however, don’t and can’t listen. They’re so very unAmerican.

  2. Alan, your misguided opinions have no basis in fact. You and Whitman are drinking the same Kool-Ade. I find it hysterical how you continue to prove that you have no Constitutional Law knowledge. Your column is becoming more amusing than the comics. Maybe the NYT will hire you.

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