What to do about Donald Trump - part 2
What legal actions, if any, should the government take with respect to President Donald Trump? As Rep. Liz Cheney (R, WY) later said, “There’s no question the president formed the mob. The president incited the mob. The president addressed the mob. He lit the flame.”
Impeachment. Although Congress cannot move with sufficient speed to impeach and convict President Trump before he leaves office on January 20. Congress should impeach and convict Trump. That will disqualify him from holding federal office in the future, making official what his actions have already made unofficial.
Indictment and Trial. Legal action against President Trump is pending in more than one non-federal jurisdiction. These actions should proceed. If the President pardons himself, the pardon covers only federal offenses, not state offenses. Given currently available public information, the federal government should not pursue charges against Trump. Federal investigation(s) will send a mixed signal (is the investigation politically motivated by the Biden administration/Democrats or actually warranted). Prosecution for state crimes establishes accountability but shifts jurisdiction out from under the President’s control. Biden in words and actions must re-establish the Department of Justice’s impartial credibility. The Department is not a political weapon to be used at the President’s discretion. An important exception to this general approach is for the IRS to complete the audit begun well prior to Trump’s 2016 campaign and then to take any appropriate enforcement actions.
Donald Trump is a symptom and not the problem. The problem is that we citizens have stopped believing in and acting on the idea that the federal government is OUR government, a government of, by and for the people. Too many people fail to vote. Too many people are content with a government controlled by monied interests. Too many of us have stopped asking what a government that functions for the people would look like.
We now ask of government, “What will you do for me?” instead of asking “What can I do for my country?” We send the children of the poor to fight our wars. We pay for those wars with deficit financing, creating debt future generations must pay (or at least pay the interest on that debt). We cut taxes on the wealthy even though economic research consistently reports that tax cuts on the wealthy do not create jobs or higher wages for lower earners.
Politicians and elected officials loudly support fair and honest elections. Count every vote, they insist. Nevertheless, numerous politicians and elected officials work to make voting more difficult for the poor and people of color. Restrict voting hours. Limit the number of polling stations. Aggressively purge voter rolls. They justify these and other actions by citing the need to ensure honest elections even though no research has uncovered evidence of substantial voter fraud in the last half century. Yet when evidence of foreign interference in US elections appears, many of these same politicians and elected officials respond with a yawn.
In a democracy the people have the government they have earned. The failures of the Trump administration point to our failures. Thankfully, we and our government can change.
We the people need to become passionate about good government. Become knowledgeable. Learn the facts. Denounce falsehoods. Encourage everyone regardless of race, gender and other demographic differences to get involved. Run for office. Vote. Demand accountability from our elected leaders.