Saturday, January 28, 2017

No Option

This past week, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed in the Southern District of New York a lawsuit against Donald Trump for allegedly receiving payiments from foreign governments, which would be in violation of the enoluments clause of the United States Constitution, once a document Republicans professed to honor.

The U.S. Congress must also do its part, according to attorney and activist John Bonifaz, who told Amy Goodman this week that

there must be an impeachment investigation initiated in the United States Congress based on the violations of the emoluments clauses, the foreign emoluments clause and the domestic emoluments clause, both of which make clear that the president of the United States cannot engage in the kind of corruption that we’re seeing now of the Oval Office. This kind of corruption is massive, and it’s far worse than even Watergate. And Nixon White House counsel John Dean has said that.

The presidency is not a profit-making enterprise for its occupant. It is a public office, and the president is a public servant. And the president, this president, does not seem to understand that concept. He is engaged in businesses all over the world. He has refused to divest from his businesses. And as a result, he has serious conflicts of interest, from all the foreign payments he’s receiving from foreign governments and from the domestic payments, from state governments and from the federal government, that collide directly with the Constitution. He swore an oath of office to protect and uphold the Constitution. He’s already violating it. And this impeachment investigation must proceed.

By all means, investigate. File lawsuits, especially, on the chance that the President will have to release his tax returns as part of discovery. (And march and demonstrate.) But impeachment and removal from office would bring its own dangers.

In March,  2015 Indiana governor Mike Pence signed a "religious freedom" law, designed- as they all are- to legalize discrimination on the basis of claimed religious belief. After companies pulled their business from the state, the Governor signed a revised version of the law.

That was a nod to realpolitik- and commerce- although neither conservaive evangelicals and gay groups were completely mollified.

Nonetheless, the real Mike Pence remains. On Friday the Vice-President became the highest ranking government official ever to attend the pro-forced birth demonstration, the March for Life, conducted annually close to the date of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.  That was unsurprising, given that Pence always has been known as strictly anti-choice and as Buzzfeed reported on October 20, 2016, Governor Pence had signed a series of anti-choice bills after in the House of Representatives co-sponsoring several "personhood" bills. He was an early advocate of defunding Planned Parenthood.

Judging from the reporting of public radio correspondent Todd Zwillich of WNYC, the evangelical gang knew what it was getting when Trump selected- in what appears to be a brilliant strategic decision- the Indiana governor as his running mate.   Earlier in October, Zwillich tweeted "Pa GOP source heard from mut pastors: 'Evangelicals believe God is using Trump to deliver Pence to the WH, & that Trump will be eliminated.'"

As recently as yesterday, Zwillich on "The Takeaway" reiterated that "many, many pastors and congregational members, evangelicals" in Pennsylvania believed that "God had put Donald Trump into the race in order to put Mike Pence into the White House" and that Trump would be "eliminated."

President Trump will have only contempt for critics, all the more reason Democrats and liberals/progressives still must resist Donald Trump.   Concern, or fear, about Mike Pence does not obviate the need to challenge President Trump on nearly everything and everyone (and maybe not "nearly"), but if he is removed or "eliminated" (however those evangelicals meant that), we will still face a major threat to freedom.

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