Billionaire activist calls to impeach Trump in Atlanta

Photo from USA TODAY

Billionaire Tom Steyer came to Atlanta on April 16 with a clear message: impeach Donald Trump. Steyer is the largest individual Democratic donor and the face of the “Need to Impeach” campaign which accuses Trump of eight impeachable offenses.

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The event was held at Georgia Freight Depot and Steyer said, as he as has many times, that “our democracy is under attack.”

This $20 million campaign is only part of his efforts to create a foundation to impeach the sitting president. He announced that he will spend $30 million in an effort to gain control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections.

Over five million people have signed the petition for impeachment. Andrea Copello, an Atlanta native who signed the petition, said, “I signed because I hope congress will recognize the abundance of people that think this man is unfit to be president. I signed because we the people have to exercise our right to protest if we want to see change.”

Despite an abundance of support for this campaign, the process of impeachment is complex and has a low success rate.

Fighting against the odds

“Our Constitution is very poorly designed to remove a sitting president,” Dr. Robert Matthew Howard, a political science professor at Georgia State, said. “Unlike a parliamentary system, where the sitting prime minister can be removed on a simple majority no confidence vote, we have no such mechanism for our presidents. We really only have the ballot box.”

An “impeachable offense” is entirely subjective thus leaving the sitting congressmen to determine for themselves if an offense constitutes impeachment.

“Gerald Ford, a future president, was house minority leader in the 60s and he said an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House and 2/3 of the Senators agree is impeachable,” Howard said.

Although there is no specific list, the Constitution does offer a general list: treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. However, impeachment refers only to a formal accusation of criminal wrongdoing. It does not remove the president from office.

“There is consensus that only offenses committed while holding office are impeachable,” Dr. Michael Evans said, a lecturer in the department of political science at Georgia state. “Thus, there is widespread agreement that crimes committed prior to becoming president are not impeachable offenses.”

The “Need to Impeach” campaign cites obstruction of justice as Trump’s first impeachable offense, referring to his alleged attempt to interfere with the Russian investigation by asking James Comey, former FBI Director, to abandon the investigation.

Evans said that the area of disagreement here is whether or not colluding with Russians is a crime.

“If it isn’t, then President Trump wouldn’t be guilty of obstruction of justice for trying to hide the fact that he colluded with them (if he did),” Evans said. “The probability of a president being impeached and convicted is very low.”

A long road ahead

It’s clear that the road to impeachment is not an easy one, but the Constitution was designed to give the American people a fair chance. There are some measures taken to prevent abuse of power including term limits, elections, the separation of powers between the three branches of government.

“But, of course, these safeguards don’t always work as hoped,” said Evans. “If the American people are eager to see President Trump removed, they have two basic options,” Evans said. “First, they can wait for 2020 and vote him out. Second, they can put pressure on Congress to remove him through impeachment and conviction in the House and Senate.”

The second option seems to be the entire goal of the “Need to Impeach” campaign, but Howard suggested that voting attendance plays a major role in America’s democracy.

“Since in a presidential election only 60% or so of the eligible voters actually vote, and much less in a midterm, the people have to vote, and not just vote, participate in campaigns, donate, all sorts of things,” Howard said. “Young people vote at a much lower rate than old people. Think of the change that would occur if participation for 18 to 29-year-olds matched that of 60+ voters.”

The last line of defense

If impeachment fails, there is one last weapon the Constitution gives the people.

“Our true “last line of defense” is to exercise our sovereign authority to amend the Constitution to allow for the calling of early elections in order to democratically remove unpopular presidents,” Evans said. “The Constitution provides four different paths that can be taken for amending the Constitution, which reflects the fact that the Constitution’s authority does in fact derive from “We the People” as the Preamble claims. But, of course, amending the Constitution takes a lot of hard work, and constitutional amendments are incredibly rare.”

2 Comments

  1. You’re just another corrupt liberal , NO ones above the law my ass , look at killary & oduma , they should be rotten in prison , just to start the list !
    You’re just pissed its gettin exposed !
    If anyone needs justice it’s us from all
    you corrupt dem/liberals ! Back the F**k
    off & think about the American people
    instead of your $$$ !!!! ☆MAGA☆

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