Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
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Laurence H. Tribe: Don’t let Mitch McConnell conduct a Potemkin impeachment trial
For some time now, I have been emphasizing the duty to impeach this president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress regardless of what the Senate might end up doing. Now that Trump’s impeachment is inevitable, and now that failing to formally impeach him would invite foreign intervention in the 2020 election and set a dangerous precedent, another option seems vital to consider: voting for articles of impeachment but holding off for the time being on transmitting them to the Senate.
This option needs to be taken seriously now that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has announced his intention to conduct not a real trial but a whitewash, letting the president and his legal team call the shots. [..]
Consider the case of a prosecutor armed with a grand jury indictment who learns that the fix is in and that the jury poised to consider the case is about to violate its oath to do impartial justice. In that situation, the prosecutor is under no affirmative legal obligation to go forward until the problem is cured and a fair trial possible. So, too, the House, whose historical role is to prosecute articles of impeachment in the Senate after exercising its “sole” power to impeach, is under no affirmative constitutional obligation to do so instantly. That is especially true when the majority leader has made clear that he is, for all practical purposes, a member of the defense team.
The rule of law is the principle that protects every American from the abuse of monarchs, despots and tyrants.
The privilege of being the only American in our history to serve as the director of both the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. gives me a unique perspective and a responsibility to speak out about a dire threat to the rule of law in the country I love. Order protects liberty, and liberty protects order. Today, the integrity of the institutions that protect our civil order is, tragically, under assault from too many people whose job it should be to protect them.
The rule of law is the bedrock of American democracy, the principle that protects every American from the abuse of monarchs, despots and tyrants. Every American should demand that our leaders put the rule of law above politics.
I am deeply disturbed by the assertion of President Trump that our “current director” — as he refers to the man he selected for the job of running the F.B.I. — cannot fix what the president calls a broken agency. The 10-year term given to all directors following J. Edgar Hoover’s 48-year tenure was created to provide independence for the director and for the bureau. The president’s thinly veiled suggestion that the director, Christopher Wray, like his banished predecessor, James Comey, could be on the chopping block, disturbs me greatly. The independence of both the F.B.I. and its director is critical and should be fiercely protected by each branch of government.
“I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) declared Saturday.
That pretty much says it all. Before a trial begins, senators will have to take an oath swearing to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.” GOP senators, however, have already announced they will violate their solemn pledge and refuse to even consider the evidence against Trump.
Charles M. Blow: Trump’s Lasting Legacy
America has changed under this president.
The impending impeachment of Donald Trump will be a rebuke, but it will not be a restraint.
Indeed, if the Senate votes to acquit Trump, as it is expected to do, the precedent will be set, and the die will be cast: A president can do almost anything to win re-election. And he can do anything at all to avoid accountability.
This is the new America, one in which all the old rules have been wiped away, one in which corruption is tolerated, one in which truth is denigrated, one in which tyrants are venerated.
It is tempting to think of this moment, this presidency, as a blip or an anomaly, as a horrible mistake the country made and will soon redress. But, I think that take is ill considered and overly optimistic. [..]
Trump is leaving an indelible mark on this country, regardless of what happens in November. He has shattered convention and protocol, and they can’t be repaired. Trump will leave in his wake a weaker country — with his sensibilities seared into it.
I come before you, my friends, to defend Republicans against charges that they are unprincipled, two-faced hypocrites.
Pointy-headed coastal elitists, with all sorts of useless book learning that real Americans don’t need, have been arguing that when it comes to impeachment, the POT (that’s Party of Trump) is calling the kettle black. They accuse the Republicans of inconsistency and insincerity in ways that go far beyond a Republican member of Congress who was once arrested for drunk driving bringing up the fact that a crack pipe was once found in a car rented by Hunter Biden.
Here’s what the usual suspects — you know, the human scum, traitors and enemies of the people — are saying. They point out that Republicans fervently denounce the mythical Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election and then turn around and argue that President Trump has the right — nay, the obligation — to demand Ukrainian interference in the 2020 election. [..]
Oh, I know this looks bad. It looks like Republicans have no principles and no core beliefs. But there you are wrong, my friends. They do have a principle. Here it is: Whatever helps the Republican Party is good. Whatever hurts the Republican Party is bad. To understand the modern GOP, you don’t have to study unitary executive theory, supply-side economics, Burkean philosophy or anything else. All you have to do is remember those 14 words.