IMAGE CREDIT: POLITICO
Donald and the Giant Impeachment
Today I thought I would take a break from just reporting the same old, drab news and tell you a very frightening story about a sort of man-baby called Donald and a Giant Impeachment. It is an especially fun sort of story, because it takes place in the future—the very near future.
Once there was a sort of man-baby called Donald. He was orange and had a sort of fluffy tuft on his head. Almost entirely by accident, he found himself elected to the office of President of the United States. This meant that he would soon be the leader of the whole wide free world; he thought of it as being The King.
This seemed like a wonderful thing! But soon, some bad things started to happen, and because of those bad things there was talk of a strange and rare creature: The Giant Impeachment.
A Giant Impeachment is a very rare beast
The United States Constitution, which is the not-so-mystical set of writings that allegedly governs us all, says that “Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors” are what causes a Giant Impeachment to be born. That means that when someone elected to office, even the President of the United States, does very bad things, that person can be removed from that job.
That’s right! Sent home packing.
Now, you may ask, “I’ve never seen a Giant Impeachment! That sounds made up!” Well, that is because the Giant Impeachment is very rare. In fact, only two have ever been seen in the US: Andrew Johnson’s and Bill Clinton’s. Both of those presidents had their very own Giant Impeachments.
Richard Nixon almost had one! But he left before the beast could arrive. In the end, it was just as well, because a Giant Impeachment is a very stressful time for our nation. It’s nothing you want to see, this beast, trust me—not unless you absolutely have to, during times when that person who would be staying in office was doing things that were so bad, that it would be worse for them to stay.
Still, deciding which things are bad enough isn’t always an easy thing. Oh sure, it might sound easy to you and me, but we aren’t Congress, and it is Congress who chooses what the bad things, the impeachable offenses or “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” are. Andrew Johnson removed the Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton, from office; this was against the Tenure of Office Act. Bill Clinton—well, he did something sexual-yet-not-sex with a woman, and then lied and said he didn’t! Uh oh!
The funny end to those stories is that neither Andrew nor Bill was convicted! They both stayed the president—presumably because it would not have been worse for them to stay.
Now you may be thinking: “Oh boy! I wonder why more Giant Impeachments don’t come around, because those crimes don’t sound all that bad!” I am afraid I don’t know that story. Anyway, back to this one.
The Nine Noxious No-nos
Now, people from far and wide tell this story differently. Some folks think there are Five Fantastical Factors, and others say there are at least Ten Terrible Truths. In my story, there are the Nine Noxious No-nos: nine reasons why the Giant Impeachment was ready to come play with Donald, and here they are.
One: Colluding with a foreign power against the interests of the United States, considered treason. That’s right—treason is the first reason! It is easy to remember. I talked a little about this here.
Two: Taking money from foreign governments, in violation of Article I Section 9 of the Constitution. This one has a funny name: the Emoluments Clause. You can remember it because it sounds kind of like a monument. Whether the money is rubles, commemorative coins with one’s own likeness, or a big monument of a statue, taking foreign money or bribes is just not allowed.
Three: Using the presidency for private gain, in violation of 5 Code of Federal Regulations 2635.702. This just means that you can’t make money from being the leader of the whole wide free world.
Four: Being guilty of multiple felonies, or, of course, committing more while in office. Those are high crimes, of course! And felonies like sexual assault and fraud, for example, surely qualify.
Five: Seeking to intimidate critics, in violation of the First Amendment. The First Amendment says we all get a turn to talk, no matter what the President says.
Six: Attacking freedom of religion, in violation of the First Amendment. The First Amendment says we can all believe whatever religious ideas we want to, no matter what the President says.
Seven: Undermining the freedom and independence of the press, in violation of the First Amendment. That whole getting a turn to talk thing applies to the press, too, and actually we have a great many laws protecting the valuable service done to our society by the press. The press are supposed to talk!
Eight: Suppressing the votes of minorities, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. This means you can’t send your friends to stop people from voting.
Nine: Undermining the rule of law through arbitrary and capricious statements and orders, in violation of the Due Process clause of the First Amendment. This just means that the rules and the law are supposed to mean something, and be dependable. That’s the only way we all know what to do, after all.
Now, you might wonder: “Can’t a president be impeached if he just can’t do the job right or if he is seriously mentally ill and unfit to hold office as a result?”
That’s a good question, but the answer is no. Impeachment is just for high crimes and misdemeanors, not mental illness. If the President is too sick to do the job, the Vice President takes over. Wouldn’t that work out well for Donald’s friend Mike, and their friends Mitch and Paul!
Anyway, back to our story.
Donald and the very bad things
As the day came closer for Donald to start being The King, people started to talk about some very bad things. These were very bad things that Donald had done. Donald didn’t like to talk about the very bad things.
In fact, Donald didn’t like anyone talking about them. Each time someone tried to ask him about the very bad things, he got very angry. Sometimes he would threaten the person who asked, and other times he would send out rude messages on Twitter.
Nevertheless, a very long list of very bad things was soon created—and here it is.
The case of Russia hacking the US election continues to unfold. However, we already know that Donald and his friend Vladimir had their people in close touch throughout the process. And of course we’ve seen that Donald did exactly what Vladimir wanted: took some heat off of Russia regarding the recent events in Ukraine.
Furthermore, Donald overtly asked the Russian intelligence community at a press conference in July 2016 to hack Hillary Clinton’s email servers. In other words, Donald encouraged a cyberattack on the US government by “essentially urging a foreign adversary to conduct cyberespionage against a former secretary of state.”
Two: the Emoluments Clause, and Three: private gain
These things are closely tied together for Donald, because he has a great many conflicts all over the US and the world. Thanks to these conflicts, he stands to gain privately, and to receive rewards from foreign governments as well.
Conflicts in foreign lands
In foreign lands both near and far, Donald had done many deeds. This meant that he had deals and relationships with other countries, at least 20, and with businesses in other countries. Thousands of such connections—and each one a potential conflict for when he was The King.
That is because the President’s job is to serve the people of the United States first. He cannot be thinking of his own deals! That’s why presidents give up their business interests before they take office.
But Donald did not want that. That is why these many bad thing conflicts remain:
Argentina: There is a Trump Tower planned in Argentina, and three days after the election, it was announced that it would move forward after all. Mauricio Macri, the president of Argentina, says he didn’t talk to Donald on the phone, but the press think that they did talk. Even if they didn’t, it seems likely that giving Donald the gift of his new tower would make him happy! Maybe he could do Argentina a favor later.
Azerbaijan: Donald recently ended a project with the son of a corrupt official, walking away with $3 million. Will that connection remain closed?
Bahrain: In recent times, the US has told Bahrain that we don’t like them denying human rights to some of their citizens; we stopped giving them aid. Now, Bahrain is throwing a big party at Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. It seems that Bahrain might also want a favor.
Brazil: Trump Hotel Rio de Janeiro doesn’t give Donald an equity stake but he does want it to succeed, of course. He wants his brand to be rich and famous, so he can be, too. Also, this hotel is being investigated because the government of Brazil thinks that investment into the project may have been corrupt.
China: Even though Donald says he hates China, China is Trump Tower’s biggest leaseholder, and the lease expires while Donald is The King. Donald also really wants to make a hotel in China. On the other hand, he seems to like to insult the entire country using Twitter and push closer to armed hostilities. Will China take their money away from the Tower? Maybe, if Donald won’t play a little nicer.
Deutsche Bank: Donald owes this bank at least $364 million. Although the Obama administration just agreed to a $7.2 billion settlement with the bank so Donald won’t have to punish it, he will still owe the money and may find himself needing to do more favors.
Dubai: Donald has lots of deals in Dubai, like a spa, a golf club, and luxury housing. His friends the royal family came to his New Years party, because they are good enough friends that the royal family didn’t mind paying the $500 each to attend. The pals are planning on making some more deals while Donald is the King. Dubai has a King, too.
Georgia: Donald has been working to build a Black Sea resort in Georgia. It seems that it might begin moving forward again now that Donald has won.
India: Donald has five projects in India right now, and all have partners with close ties to Indian politicians. This means Indian politicians might do anything from getting Donald better loans from Indian banks to making it easier to get permits, all so they can have some favors, too.
Indonesia: Donald has been planning to build two resorts in Indonesia and he has had to meet with local politicians to get it done. But here’s a funny thing: the biggest taxpayer in India isn’t even Indian; it’s the US company, Freeport-McMoRan, owned by Donald’s friend and advisor, billionaire Carl Icahn! Small world.
Ireland: Donald has been working on another big wall, this time to protect his golf course in Ireland. But local people are worried that the wall isn’t good for protected species. Donald may need help from the government to get what he wants if he decides he needs a bigger wall again; luckily, he can do them a favor.
Japan: Ivanka, the princess and Donald’s daughter and extremely close friend, has a lot of business deals in Japan. Right after Donald won the big election, he and Ivanka had a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe; Abe also represents Ivanka’s largest shareholder, the Japanese government, via a state-owned bank.
The Philippines: Donald has a partner in the Philippines, a real estate developer named Jose E. B. Antonio. Now, though, Antonio is special envoy to the US. That plus the fact that Donald admires the work of Filipino President and mass executioner Rodrigo Duterte so much seem to indicate that US foreign policy toward the Philippines will be favorable, despite the slaughter of thousands of people.
Scotland, UK: Donald hates wind farms in Scotland because he says they ruin the view from his golf course there. That’s why he told his friend, Nigel Farage, a British politician, to oppose the farms—as a favor.
Turkey: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has already used the Istanbul Trump Towers to get Donald to do what he wanted him to do. Donald said he wanted to ban Muslims coming into the US, so Erdoğan said he wanted to take Donald’s name off the towers. Then Donald defended Erdoğan after a coup, so Erdoğan gave up the idea about the towers—providing a great example for other leaders to pressure Donald in the same way.
That’s a lot of conflicts from foreign lands! But Donald didn’t have to travel to do very bad things. No, he had lots of very bad things right here in the US.
Donald’s down home domestic conflicts
Donald had his tiny, sticky little fingers in so many pies! There were a great many things that he and his businesses were involved with in the US:
Trump’s DC hotel: A clause already exists that forbids any elected or government official from holding the lease to this hotel, but Donald does not care. He holds the lease anyway, daring anyone to try to stop him. When he is The King he will appoint the head of the General Services Administration, the agency that manages the hotel.
Labor disputes: Donald is well known for refusing to pay hundreds of workers, and his businesses are therefore already embroiled in various labor disputes—something that is likely to continued. As president, Donald will appoint people to the National Labor Relations Board who will probably hear disputes from his hotels while he’s in office.
Stocks: Trump says he sold all of his stocks, but he won’t prove it. This means he may well still own pieces of various companies that he can impact with his own policies as President.
Trademarks: Donald and his family members have tried to trademark various things, from jewelry lines to the phrase “American Idea.” His policies could make those trademarks more valuable.
Celebrity Apprentice: Donald will still be working as an executive producer on this show, so he will earn money from it.
Finally, there is the issue of Donald’s penchant for nepotism. Title 5 of the U.S. Code also says that public officials “may not appoint, employ, promote, advance or advocate for the appointment, employment, promotion or advancement” or a relative. Despite this, Donald’s sons and daughter have met with various world leaders alongside their father and served as advisors. Jared Kushner, the prince in law who is married to Ivanka, has been named senior adviser to Donald, and Ivanka will be working in the White House where the First Lady would normally be.
Another fun part of this story is that Donald will be able to issue pardons to all of his children and business partners if he likes. That would mean they could avoid any punishment for wrongdoing, no matter how wrong that wrongdoing was!
So, dear friends, I hope you can see that Donald’s many very bad personal gain things were calling to the Great Impeachment with a sort of siren song. But even that may have been overshadowed by Donald’s multiple felonies!
Four: multiple felonies, including sexual misconduct
A woman called Summer Zervos accused Donald of defamation, lying about her, after he said he never kissed and groped her without her consent. In fact, Donald said that Summer was lying, and so were all of the other women who said he sexually assaulted them or committed sexual misconduct against them. Summer said she would take away her lawsuit if Donald admitted that the women were not lying.
Who are the other women? These are the other women:
Temple Taggart McDowell, who had been a Miss USA contestant, said Donald kissed her on the lips at least twice without her consent when she was 21 years old. A woman who went with her to Trump Tower told her not to go into a room alone with Donald. Donald said Temple lied.
Jessica Leeds said Donald fondled her breasts and tried to reach up her skirt in an airplane more than 30 years ago. Donald said Jessica lied.
Rachel Crooks said Donald assaulted her in the elevator at Trump Tower where she worked in 2005. Donald said Rachel lied.
Natasha Stoynoff said Donald assaulted her in 2005 while she was in his home for a press interview. Donald said Natasha lied.
Mindy McGillivray said Donald groped her 13 years ago at his house while she was there for an event. Donald said Mindy lied.
Former Miss Washington USA Cassandra Searles said Donald grabbed her bottom and lined her and the other contestants up so he could inspect them like his property. Paromita Mitra of Mississippi said Donald inspected them, too. Donald said they both lied.
Four women including Mariah Billado, a former Miss Vermont Teen USA, said that Donald walked in on them changing in their dressing room during the 1997 Miss Teen USA beauty pageant.
Jill Harth said Donald sexually harassed and assaulted her starting in 1992 through 1997 and attempted to rape her. Donald said Jill lied.
In her 1993 book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump, Ivana Trump said that Donald raped her. Donald said that Ivanka meant that he made her feel bad.
Donald told the world on Twitter that Alicia Machado, who won his 1996 Miss Universe pageant, should be called “Miss Housekeeping” because she is Venezuelan and “Miss Piggy” because she gained too much weight. He also told the pubic there is a sex tape of her that all voters should watch.
Graydon Carter said that Donald made Swedish model Vendela Kirsebom cry at a 1993 White House Correspondents’ Dinner by talking to her about all of the other women’s bodies.
A woman said Donald raped her in 1994 when she was just 13 years old at Jeffrey Epstein’s house, a person who happens to be a convicted pedophile and a billionaire. Donald said she lied.
Kristin Anderson said Donald groped her under her skirt in a nightclub in the early 1990s. Donald said she lied.
Cathy Heller said Donald grabbed and kissed her on the mouth in front of her family at a Mother’s Day brunch at the Mar-a-Lago Club, which her family confirms.
Karena Virginia said Donald touched her breast, saying, “Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know who I am?” outside the 1998 U.S. Open Tennis Championship.
Ninni Laaksonen said Donald grabbed her bottom in New York in 2006. But, of course, Donald said all of the women accusing him were lying.
Donald joked on CBS TV about dating a 10 year old girl in ten years. He said on the radio that Paris Hilton caught his eye when she was 12, and that it was okay to call his daughter Ivanka a “piece of ass” and that if she wasn’t his daughter he’d be dating her. He told a group of 14 year old girls in a youth choir that he’d be dating them “in a couple of years.” Donald does not say the television or radio lied, though, at least not on those days, so far.
Donald was taped bragging about sexually assaulting women in 2005 by “grabbing them in the pussy,” the same year at least two women say he did exactly that. Donald said he was just kidding on the tape, though.
So that very bad thing, to be clear, was that at least 14 women accused Donald of sexually assaulting them. Donald said they were all lying.
On a related note, although Donald settled that nasty fraud case against his very smart university, fraud is an act of dishonesty and could easily been seen as a high crime. He has also been accused of discrimination and failure to pay workers on multiple occasions. Alongside his apparent failure to pay taxes, this overall pattern of massive dishonesty and chiseling could easily be seen as a pattern of high crimes.
Five: Seeking to intimidate critics
Donald has incited violence against peaceful protestors on multiple occasions. He has also harassed private citizens using social media, causing them to receive death threats from his followers. He has advocated for the persecution and jailing of flag burners. He has even warned the director of the Office of Government Ethics through his Chief of Staff to “be careful” about saying critical things about him.
Six: attacking freedom of religion
Donald has repeatedly said that he intends to move forward with a Muslim registry ban. In fact, hate crimes agains Muslims in the US have spiked since his election. Many have been openly committed in his name.
Seven: undermining the freedom and independence of the press
As I have reported at length elsewhere, Donald has started this in earnest and promised to escalate this behavior.
Eight: Suppressing the votes of minorities
A major part of Donald and his team’s strategy during the election was focused on what an unnamed senior official told Bloomberg were “three major voter suppression operations,” designed to reduce voter turnout among black, young female, and liberal voters. Donald also called upon his loyal subjects to intimidate voters at polling places.
Nine: Undermining the rule of law
This is where our story really goes off the rails! That’s because any number of Donald “Fever Dream” Trump’s behaviors work to undermine the rule of law.
Each time he calls upon his followers to attack those he disagrees with, or calls his accusers liars, he is undermining the rule of law. Each time he calls out a company on Twitter to hurt in on the stock market, he is undermining the rule of law. Each time he sides with a foreign power over the US intelligence community or the sitting President of the United States, he is undermining the rule of law.
Flagrantly calling Taiwan’s president without regard to the current administration in violation of longstanding diplomatic principles with China, possibly with longterm, disastrous consequences? Undermining the rule of law. Advocating for discrimination against LGBTQ people, the press, or anyone else? Undermining the rule of law. Advocating for a nuclear arms race on television? Undermining the rule of law. Praising human rights violations around the world? Undermining the rule of law.
And so, it came to pass?
Donald’s very big day inched closer and closer. A certain sickening feeling of excitement—or anguish, depending on who you asked—hung in the air. There were people in the Congress who had the power to unleash the Giant Impeachment, who had heard Donald’s many calls. But would they do it?
For many of them it wasn’t an easy question. They liked that Donald was rather a foolish sort of man-baby, who couldn’t pay attention to what they were doing, and mostly let them have their own way. They loved the way his little tantrums distracted people from other things—more serious things that they didn’t want to have to talk about.
Others were filled with glee! They never wanted Donald there at all. They wanted his buddy, Mike, and they knew that the easiest way to get him was to let the baby have his way, and then unleash the Giant Impeachment.
Others thought they might have something to gain if they just waited. They thought if Donald stuck around for awhile, the people would be angry and afraid. Who knew what they would do in 2018? Nothing to challenge anyone who seemed better than Donald, that’s for sure—or at least that’s what these people thought.
And the real people, not the Congress people, mind you, but the rest of us? The rest of us waited to find out what would happen to us. We called the Congress and we pleaded with them, asked them not to take away health insurance, and asked them to do something about Donald—we asked them all kinds of things! And then sometimes they would send us a note: thank you for contacting our office.
So we just waited to see. Were things as bad as they seemed? Would Donald and the Giant Impeachment meet? If so, would we remember that the battle wasn’t over?
I wanted to finish this story, but I can’t just yet. You will have to wait until next time.