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The impeachment trial

While the country is riveted by the Impeachment trial of Donald Trump in the Senate, we must acknowledge that, regarding the limits of Presidential power, as the owner of his own company and his own CEO, Trump is used to a lifetime of being the undisputed boss and controller of everything and everyone around him. Also, he has blown through multiple bankruptcies, hundreds of lawsuits, and attempts to restrain his behavior. So now, he is outraged that he sits in the middle of a vast governmental and administrative apparatus called “The United States Government” and is shocked to find out that there are laws, procedures, and traditions in place for hundreds of years that we revere and depend on to defend and support our Democracy that might restrain him. He just can’t believe that he can’t do absolutely anything he wants when he wants. Nobody had ever dared to say “no” to him before.

That is one of the main reasons he and his first right-hand man, Steve Bannon, declared their initial goal, to “Bring down the Administrative State.” I must admit that he, the Republican Party, and those around him in the administration have actually made considerable progress toward that goal. Trump, himself, has been explicit and honest about how he sees his role and powers when he said, “As president with First Amendment Rights, I can do anything I want.”

He has successfully been able to eliminate many of the people who might have blocked this desire including James Comey, Andy McCabe, his own secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, his own defense secretary, Gen. James Mattis, to name a few. The only reason he fired these men was that they tried to present and explain to him the guardrails and limits of presidential authority. Gen. Mattis even clearly warned him that, if he didn’t try to rein in some of his authoritarian and self-entitled behavior, he would end up impeached. He has also eviscerated and rendered irrelevant many of the departments of the U.S. government under the authority of his cabinet.

This is how Hitler and the Nazi party was able to completely take over Germany. They systematically removed all of the people and institutions in the German government that would and might have stood in their way. Once those norms, traditions, and institutions were gone, Hitler made himself “Fuhrer for life” and, with the military in hand, there was no one and nothing to stop him. The result was fascism.

Of course, now that he has been Impeached, Trump and his enablers are claiming 1.) That he has done nothing wrong. 2.) That, even if he has done something wrong, it isn’t a crime. 3.) Even if what Trump did might be wrong, it doesn’t rise to the level of Impeachment. 4.) Even if what he did was wrong, it’s not a crime if a president does it. (RE: Mick Mulvaney: “Just get over it.”) So, in effect, they are claiming that he can do virtually anything he wants and anyone who dares to even criticize him is “unpatriotic.”

Apparently, the American public, even some of those who had voted for Trump, stating that they “wanted to give him a chance” had had enough of what he was doing to our country in so many areas because they came out and flipped the House of Representatives from Republican to Democratic control, thereby taking the complete control of our government away from Trump and his Republican enablers. The results of that 2018 election created the possibility of impeachment and made it happen. So, Trump will probably not be removed by the Republican Senate but he is Impeached forever which shows that our system has not been dismantled yet and still works.

William E. Conti

Honolulu, Hawaii

Submitted via Virtual Newsroom

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