Iran, Our Mad King, And Impeachment

This essay was first published on Medium this morning. 

Earlier this year, NDN advanced an argument that Congress was obligated to remove President Trump from office for a simple reason — his understanding of his role was far more akin to a king or dictator than a President in a democracy. We argued that Trump’s shredding of laws and norms required to make a democracy work was perhaps the greatest “high crime” of all — a betrayal of the idea of America itself with no analog in our history.

We also worried that the President’s horrific poll numbers, repeated poor electoral performances, and mounting legal problems would cause him to take extraordinary and desperate steps to remain in office — working once again with a foreign power to sully his domestic opponent, ill-considered wars, emergency decrees……

Well, my friends, we are here now. In the past few months, the President’s actions have been increasingly wild and dangerous — the illegal extortion of Ukraine, the about face in Venezuela, an escalating appeasement of Putin including the hi-jacking of the G7 summer meeting for Russia’s benefit, the abandonment of the intrepid Kurds and the gifting of Syria to Iran and Russia, the fanning of ever more deadly white supremacist and anti-Semitic violence, the degradation of the WTO, his failed trade war with China…..and now Iran. What may be the first overt assassination of a foreign government official by the US since WWII. The threatening of war crimes in Iran, and the re-occupation of Iraq. The shuttering of the anti-ISIS coalition. An Iranian nuclear break-out. Thousands of troops heading to the region. Intemperate threats from his winter residence, incoherent explanations from what is left of his Administration — all without any kind of sustained coordination with our allies, or Congress. Mr. Trump is simply no longer acting like a leader of a democracy. He is in every way acting like a Mad King, or dictator, the very thing the Founding Fathers feared the most — which is why Congress must now remove him before he can do even more damage to the world and the national interests of the United States.

Before the holiday break, I wrote that it was going to be far more challenging for Senators to declare this increasingly lawless and untethered man “innocent” than was conventional wisdom at the time. I think that is even more true today, which is why we must continue to demand a fair trial in the Senate, one with relevant witnesses and documents (as all trials are conducted).

 

As Congress works to remove him in the coming days, it must also take two other important steps: 1) launch a formal security review to assess the damage to our national security this President has wrought, and begin to chart a path to repair the damage which has been done and move our nation and the world beyond this terrible moment; and 2) establish a process to refer the President’s co-conspirators in the vast and illegal scheme to extort Ukraine for the Republican Party’s benefit to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. A SDNY/FBI investigation into the Ukraine scheme has already begun arresting close associates of the President, again. So the mechanism to ensure that justice is done has already been established.