Friday, October 4, 2019

Ezra Klein of Vox argues for impeachment even if it doesn't result in conviction and removal

With the call for an impeachment inquiry over KievGate, Ezra Klein of Vox decided it was time to update how to impeach a president.  Watch Impeachment is broken. Impeach Trump, anyway.

Three reasons to impeach Trump.
President Donald Trump faces possible impeachment after repeatedly asking the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, Trump’s chief domestic political rival, a week after Trump froze Ukraine's military aid. When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky brought up the aid, Trump responded, “I would like you to do us a favor though,” and turned the conversation to Biden. All of this is confirmed in a call record released by Trump’s own White House. There's now an impeachment inquiry as a result of this revelation.

In 1788's Federalist 65, Alexander Hamilton considers the problem of impeachment. The process, the Constitution framer writes, is meant for offenses “denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

Fundamentally, Hamilton believed it was the task of an impartial Senate to decide whether or not to convict a president that has been impeached. Hamilton, however, hadn't envisioned a Senate as partisan as the current one.

Still, even a broken impeachment process has its uses. The Senate may refuse its role, but through a properly designed impeachment process, the House can focus the public’s attention, send a message to the world, and create a record for the future.
Klein reinforced his message at in the article Impeach him, anyway, "The case for impeachment, even if it can’t oust Trump."  It lists three purposes: "impeachment as public disgrace," "impeachment and the 2020 election," and "impeachment is a message to foreign countries."  I like the argument.  I just hope it works.