The Democrats in the House are divided on whether the impeachment process should commence immediately or should wait until they get more information from handing out subpoenas to Attorney General William Barr, Deutsche Bank, Capital One, Donald McGahn and Hope Hicks.
There are good arguments on both sides of the issue. Younger members of the House want the impeachment process to begin immediately, whereas Nancy Pelosi and others like Steny Hoyer say that more information is needed so that the case for impeachment will be difficult to refute.
Those members of the House, particularly newly-elected members, argue that the impeachment process should begin right now and cite two main reasons for their position — 1) more information will come out automatically if the impeachment process commences at once, and 2) it’s important to lay out the case for impeachment before the 2020 election begins.
Why so? The impeachment process will take many months and if not finished by the time the 2020 presidential election rolls around, President Trump will then be able to tell his supporters, "Look, the Democrats have found absolutely no evidence that I colluded with the Russians, nor that I have obstructed justice. Hence, I was right in calling the Democrats promoters of 'Fake News.'"
In my view of the matter (and I may be mistaken since I am very fallible), the Mueller report gave 10 specific instances where obstruction of justice by President Trump may have occurred. Also, I am dumbfounded by President Trump’s cozy relationship with Vladimir Putin, which needs to be investigated very carefully.
It’s difficult for me to understand why President Trump does not take Russia to task, when the evidence is clear that Russia interfered with the 2018 presidential election. Why would anyone take the word of Mr. Putin that Russia had not interfered in the 2018 election, while dismissing the evidence provided by our entire intelligence community, such as the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the N.S.A., plus 14 other intelligence agencies?
I also find it disturbing that Mr. Trump met with Mr. Putin by himself with no Russian experts to advise him and with no written agreements. Is this not scary? Moreover, Mr. Trump calls himself a “stable genius.” Intelligent people I know are very humble and are smart enough to realize they don’t know everything, hence they defer to their advisors. If a person is brilliant, he or she does not have to tell others that they are very intelligent. Others will figure that out for themselves.
I also wonder why Mr. Trump does not meet every day and get a security update, the way President Obama did. The former president read carefully an eight-page security update daily, so that he would understand the various hotspots around the world. When Mr. Trump did for a time meet with his security team, he told them not to brief him about Russia. This boggles my mind! One wonders why not? The president also stated he knows more about Iraq than all of his generals. Are these remarks of a president on top of his game and the words of a “stable genius?”
We have our regular Armed Forces and Special Operations units in 147 countries globally. We have been involved in armed conflict in Afghanistan (for more than 18 years), Iraq, Syria, Libya, etc. yet President Trump has given great latitude to his generals in making decisions and gives the Pentagon a bloated budget, thus, in my view, relinquishing his role as Commander in Chief. Remember, the Defense Department is the only federal agency that has never passed a financial audit.
Also, I fault the Democrats for going along with Republicans in passing such a bloated budget, instead of putting more money into infrastructure and domestic programs.
At the same time, the president, according to media reports, watches TV for several hours a day, tweets about non-consequential matters, such as whether players in the National Football League should be fired for not standing during the playing of the national anthem, or calling Republican candidates who lost their 2018 mid-term elections “losers.” And, why did President Trump also call the late John McCain a “loser” because his plane was shot down in the Vietnam War?
It seems that President Trump has obstructed justice by firing former F.B.I. Director James Comey for “the Russian thing,” as he stated in his T.V. interview with Lester Holt on NBC. One also wonders why President Trump is so afraid of making his tax records available to the public. Is the president hiding some dark secret? Has he been receiving money from Russian oligarchs? Is this the reason why he is so obsequious to President Putin and the Russian government, when Russia has been our sworn enemy going back to 1945 and the start of the Cold War?
And why does Mr. Trump downplay the importance of the European Union and call NATO obsolete when it’s our best defense against Russia? Does this not play right into the hands of Mr. Putin? Is this the way to deal with our long-standing allies?
In geopolitical terms, is not the European Union a costless extension of the military and political might of the U.S.? Why has the president not objected strenuously to Russia’s takeover of parts of Ukraine?
Finally, will the Trump administration give Putin a free pass if he decides to invade the Baltic nations or some other country like Finland? I find this president inscrutable.
Richard Penaskovic is an emeritus professor at Auburn University, who taught religious studies for 30 years.