Trump’s creeping coup d’état: Democrats must get ready to impeach again (Part II)

See,

Trump’s creeping coup d’état: Democrats must get ready to impeach again (Part I), The Trenchant Observer, July 25, 2020.

Part II

Impeachment

All through 2019 the House Democrats dawdled and were afraid to use their most powerful weapon, impeachment, in confronting Trump and his unlawful and unconstitutional actions and policies.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi firmly resisted all efforts to launch a broad impeachment inquiry, even with Robert Mueller having laid out abundant evidence of obstruction of justice in his report.  For two years the House Democrats had dodged their own responsibility to conduct an impeachment inquiry, arguing that they had to wait for Mueller to finish his investigation and to issue his Report.

Their responsibility was to conduct a political impeachment inquiry, not a criminal inquiry which was Mueller’s brief.  They fell into the trap of believing they had to prove every detail of any article of impeachment as if it were a criminal charge, and got all tangled up in trying to prove each element of a criminal offense.

Pelosi insisted on resisting an impeachment inquiry, that is, until the revelations in the Ukraine affair led her caucus to push for an impeachment inquiry.  But the House Democrats were cowards, afraid to push for a broad impeachment inquiry, in the deluded belief that “moderate” House members in swing districts would retain their seats if they only took Trump to task on the narrow issues in the Ukraine affair.  They sought to repeat their 2018 strategy of slipping by Trump, focusing on local issues.  But then Trump was not up for reelection in 2018.

Nancy Pelosi seized on this narrowly-focused impeachment effort, which she helped to shape, and carried it forward though she and the House Leadership surely knew that they would lose a vote in the Senate to remove Trump from office.  If they knew that, what was the point?   It appears to have been to enable Nancy Pelosi and the House Leadership to retain firm control of their caucus.

The House Democrats have one enormous weapon they could have used, and might still use, to save the country from Trump’s authoritarian abuses of power and —  what is new — his incredible failures to defend the people of the United States against the depredations of the coronavirus and the ravages of Covid-19 among the population, with the accompanying devastation of the economy.

The Democratic Wager

The Democrats are betting on their prospects for winning the Presidency in the November 3 election, and on retaining the House and possibly winning the Senate.

This bet depends on another bet: that free and fair elections can be held on November 3.

They are betting further that Trump will accept the election results and peacefully surrender power on January 20, 2021 if Joe Biden wins.

Congressional Democrats cannot conceive of a scenario in which Trump interferes with the elections, or uses force to retain his hold on power.

Meanwhile, Trump and his collaborators have been putting into place, gradually but steadily, the elements necessary for a coup d’état and the seizure of power by the use of force, should that become necessary to retain their hold on power.

Elements of the strategy of Trump and his collaborators include the following:

Destruction of the Concept of Truth

Trump and his collaborators have succeeded in destroying, for upwards of 40% of the population, belief in the very concept of Truth.

In every realm, but particularly in the area of public health, Trump has dismissed the concept of expertise, and has resolutely refused to follow the science and his epidemiological and medical experts regarding management of the Covid-19 pandemic.  His policies will have contributed to the deaths of 200,000 Americans by November, and up to 300,000 by January 20, 2021.

Trump has corruptly subordinated the defense of the population against a terrible pandemic to his own private objectives, i.e. winning his campaign for reelection.  He was impeached though not convicted in the Republican-controlled Senate–despite the evidence–for subordinating U.S. foreign policy in Ukraine to his personal political objectives.  No less than in the Ukraine, his subordination of his duty to protect the health of the people of the United States to his personal political objectives should be viewed by the House and the Senate as an impeachable offense.

While the President may change his approach and strategy to managing the Covid-19 pandemic in order to increase his prospects for reelection, his failures and misguided actions to date are probably already responsible for tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. Nothing he does or says now can erase that record, or those deaths.

Next:  Undermining the Rule of Law

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.