The impeachment trial of President Trump seems to be coming to an end. The House impeachment charges did not include treason or bribery and no “high crimes and misdemeanors” were alleged. The President has merely been accused of misuse of power, and obstruction of the efforts of the House of Representatives to impeach him.
Almost since day one of his presidency, opponents have been looking for a reason to remove him from office. In May of 2017, Rep. Maxine Waters of California called for his impeachment. On Jan. 4 of 2019, long before the phone call to the Ukraine, newly elected Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib claimed that “we’re going to impeach the m—– f—–.”
But it appears as if the Democrats have really lowered the bar for what constitutes offenses worthy of impeachment. Using their new standards, a number of actions of President Obama and his administrators were far more serious and worthy of prosecution.
Benghazi cover-op: President Obama’s response to the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi and the murder of our ambassador and other Americans would certainly call for an impeachment investigation under the new standards. The attack itself could have happened under any president but the cover-up that followed certainly was designed for President Obama’s political advantage. Republican Mitt Romney was running the president hard in the 2012 election campaign but didn’t press the Benghazi issue, much less call for his impeachment.
Speaking about the election of 2012, on an open mike President Obama asked the president of Russia not to make any waves before the election, and promised that he would have a freer hand to cut a deal with Russia after his re-election. Under the new standards, that would certainly have warranted an impeachment process. He asked a favor that would help him win re-election.
Resisting Congressional subpoenas: During the Obama administration, Attorney General Eric Holder repeatedly resisted Congressional subpoenas to the point where he was actually held in contempt of Congress. He was head of the Justice department but the Mueller investigation, and the Inspector General’s report clearly showed that it was one of the most partisan Justice departments in history.
Misuse of Power: Two agencies in the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), formerly renowned for their probity and non-partisanship, became arms of the president and his party. The IRS targeted conservative political groups and organizations, and delayed applications for tax-exempt status. Only now are we learning of the shocking partisanship and dirty tricks of the FBI leaders appointed by President Obama.
Bribery: The Democrats have dropped charges of bribery against President Trump for lack of evidence. Nevertheless, under the new standards President Obama might have been impeached for bribery when he offered special deals to Senators and their states in order to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act early in his administration. In the old days, that would have been called politics but now, who knows?
Assassination: President Trump has been blamed for the targeted killing of an Iranian general in Iraq. Some have called it a violation of the law against political assassinations. When President Obama took out the notorious Osama bin Laden, the terrorist was not a military target and he presented no “imminent” danger. Where was the outcry then? Democrats lauded the President and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who for once enjoyed bi-partisan support. All agreed that it was good riddance.
In all of the above instances, no one ever suggested that President Obama be impeached. He had virulent opponents and critics but no one claimed that he was guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that might initiate an impeachment investigation. With the impeachment of President Trump, the Democrats have opened a window that in the future could come back to haunt them and the country.
Francis P. DeStefano, Ph.D., of Fairfield, is a writer, lecturer, historian and retired financial planner.