Inquiry 11/8/19

Political opinion by Richard Bleil

Way back on November 29, I wrote my very first blog on Michael Cohen. That was big news back then. Former attorney for the president Cohen admitted he had lied to Congress regarding his negotiations with Russia to help in his campaign against Hillary Clinton. Today, this is old news. Today, it’s not Russia, but rather the Ukraine. But, it’s still a repeat of an old episode.

The point I wanted to make in that blog, so very long ago, dealt with how Cohen had tarnished his own reputation. Yes, maybe he was confessing to lying, but the question became what we should believe, the original story or the new one. In the end, although the president was never exonerated, neither were charges brought against him. The Mueller investigation netted a lot of people very close to the president for a variety of crimes, many of which ended up being confessed to, but not the President himself.

Those who read my blogs know that I am not a fan of the president, so it might surprise you to discover that I truly hope that the president is, indeed, exonerated. I truly doubt that he will be; the evidence is piling up. But I would like to believe that maybe, just maybe, the leader of the US is innocent.

I remember learning about the XYZ affair in history class in high school. As England and the US were resolving issues between the nations in 1794, France, at war with England, felt that the newly minted nation had violated preexisting treaties with them, causing tension with them. Three diplomats, whose names were kept secret by calling them X, Y and Z, were turned away by French diplomats who insisted on a bribe before meeting with them.

This sounds very familiar to what seems to be coming to pass with the Ukraine. If the allegations are true, then the president offered what amounts to a large bribe to do his bidding. But, as of the writing of this blog (a few days before it will be posted), these allegations are just that: allegations.

So, the next best wish is for a thorough investigation of the president. Yes, I said it, I want him investigated. If it is done judiciously, then I cannot imagine a bad outcome. One of two things will happen. Either the president will be shown to be innocent, or guilty. If innocent, then we can all move on, but if guilty, then we can deal with the consequences.

I think I first noticed it nineteen years ago in 2000 with the first George W Bush campaign. The election results were paper-thin and boiled down to a recount in Florida. The Bush campaign wanted a recount in select counties, but I noticed that the Gore campaign argued for a full recount in all Florida counties.

It’s embarrassing that I was in my mid ‘30’s when I realized how politics worked. One campaign wanted to hand-pick the counties for the recount, and the other agreed provided all counties were recounted. Which campaign, do you suppose, wanted to be sure all votes were treated with equal respect, and which was only interested in winning? Sadly, there was no recount, when the governor of Florida, brother to W, handed the Florida count to George.

This kind of politicking drives me crazy. We are supposed to be above this kind of nonsense. When did US politicians go from representing the nation and all US citizens to winning because of self-interest?

I don’t care about the president. I don’t like him, but if he’s innocent, he should be exonerated. If he’s guilty, then he should be removed, not for the people who don’t like him, but for the good of the nation.

Unfortunately, the impeachment process has also been watered down by partisanship games. The first president to be impeached was Andrew Johnson. Among the 11 articles of impeachment, the main was dealt with removal of his secretary of war, which violated the Tenure of Office Act passed a year earlier to protect him.

Funny, isn’t it? Impeached for inappropriately removing a cabinet member. Ironic.

Richard M. Nixon is the impeachment I recall. His party had broken into the Democratic National Convention offices at the Watergate Hotel stealing their files. Through the investigation, the real question became when Nixon knew of the events, and how involved he was. Although he was not impeached, when it became clear that the impeachment would succeed, Nixon resigned from office.

Funny, isn’t it? Resigned out of fear for being impeached for stealing files from the DNC.

Finally, Bill Clinton was impeached, but not removed from office. Officially, it was for lying to Congress, but what he lied about was infidelity in the oval office. Not bribery, not theft, but infidelity. Ken Starr lead the investigation, which started off with some very serious charges, but they just became weaker and weaker as the investigation wore on. The Republicans in Congress acted like a dog with a bone, refusing to give up on the idea of impeachment until all that was left was, well, infidelity.

Funny, isn’t it? Impeached for lying. About infidelity.

So now we have a president, famous for lying, infidelity, improper dismissal of staff members, violation of the emoluments clause, claiming he’s innocent and refusing to cooperate with the investigation. This is why I am in favor of the investigation; to get to the truth. I don’t want to see him removed from office without evidence and due process, but if the evidence is there, then yes, he needs to be removed. If it isn’t, then it needs to be dropped. Either way, America needs the answer, and we need better.

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