Who will make the case against Trump?

The House Democrats and other Trump critics have failed to make the case against President Donald J. Trump.

Two questions arise?

1. Why has this happened?; and

2. Who, if anyone, will make the case against Trump?

The answer to the first question has much to do with the daily news cycle and its focus on new developments, and is essentially a subject for a second article.

The second question is difficult to answer.

Currently, the House Democrats are focused on the Ukrainian affair, which involves Trump’s withholding of military assistance for the Ukraine while demanding Ukraine launch public investigations into Joe Biden’s and his son’s activities in the Ukraine, and a separate investigation aimed at supporting a conspiracy theory–long discredited by all reputable news sources–that it was Ukraine, not Russia, which was behind the intervention in the U.S. elections in 2016–which U.S. intelligence agencies and Robert Mueller in his report found to be directed by Russia and by Vladimir Putin himself.

Before the Mueller Report, Democrats excused their own inaction on the grounds that they were waiting for Robert Mueller to conclude his investigation and issue his report. After that report became public, instead of synthesizing and broadcasting its conclusions for the American public to digest, they placed rheir hopes in Mueller’s one day of testimony to dazzle the American public. Dazzle he did not, referring instead to his report, which called on Congress to act on his evidence and conclusions.

This the Democrats did not do, allowing the mass media to repeatedly report that the Mueller Report had “fizzled”.  What in fact had fizzled was any determination on the part of the House Democrats to take on the conclusions and evidence in the Mueller Report in order to synthesize its findings and present them to the American people, in digestible form, as part of the case for impeachment of President Trump.

With the revelations about Trump’s July 25 telephone conversation with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, House Democrats debated whether to focus only on the Ukraine affair, or more broadly on the principal examples of Trump’s alleged malfeasance in office, including matters detailed in the Mueller Report.  With a focus primarily on the Ukraine affair, but without definitively excluding other matters, House Democrats are mow holding public hearings while moving quickly toward voting on Articles of Impeachment.

While final decisions have not been made on how broad these articles will be, the current focus remains on the Ukraine affair.

Still, the Ukraine affair probably represents 1% of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” Trump appears to have committed and to  continue to be committing while  in office.

Almost every day, it seems, he appears to engage in some form of obstruction of justice, whether witness tampering (e.g., by demanding that the identity of the Whistleblower in the Ukraine affair be made public–despite the fact that his or her anonymity is protected by law), corruption, or some other abuse of power.

The apparent Trump conspiracy to commit crimes and intimidate witnesses and otherwise cover up those crimes seems to be sprawling and ongoing. The Justice Department and other government agencies appear to have been corrupted to serve Trump’s personal ends, whether to avoid removal from office after impeachment or to win reelection in 2020, or to avoid prosecution after leaving office for other crimes.

The House Democrats delayed the impeachment inquiry for many months, losing valuable time. Yet if the impeachment process can be viewed as an opportunity to educate the American people about the alleged and proven facts of Trump’s alleged  malfeasance in office, it will serve an incredibly useful purpose, reintroducing facts and their analysis into  the public discussion of his actions in office.

So finally, at least in this regard, they seem to be on a fruitful track.

Whether they, or anyone else, makes the broader case based on all of of  the high crimes and misdemeanors Trump has allegedly committed, or a selection of the most salient examples, remains to be seen.

Who will make the case against Trump?

A brilliant synthesis of all the evidence that is out there is required, presented in readable form that can be digested by the American electorate. Whoever writes this synthesis should neither overestimate nor underestimate the intelligence of the American people when thy become focused on matters of ultimate importance.

Nor should whoever writes this synthesis get caught up in the technicalities of the criminal law, preparing a synthesis for what is essentially a political process. That does not mean that crimes, such as those described in the Mueller Report, should be overlooked.

Who, indeed, will make the case against Trump?

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

The Observer
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by The Observer, an international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. He is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (IACHR), where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, The Observer has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. The Observer speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, The Observer has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on the best articles that have appeared in the blog.

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