Trump boy­cotts im­peach­ment process, calls it ‘kan­ga­roo court’


The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global - Chi­danand.Ra­jghatta

Wash­ing­ton: A full-blown con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis and a con­ti­nen­tal chasm of the kind not seen in more than a cen­tury is upon the US.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Tues­day vir­tu­ally dis­en­fran­chised the Demo­crat-ma­jor­ity House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, say­ing he would not sub­mit to its im­peach­ment process and call­ing it a “kan­ga­roo court” that was on a witch­hunt to oust him for what he be­lieves is per­fectly nor­mal trans­ac­tions with Ukraine.

Democrats, on their part, are mov­ing ahead with the im­peach­ment in­quiry be­liev­ing he be­trayed na­tional in­ter­ests, buoyed by polls shwo­ing that up­wards of 50% of vot­ers sup­port the move to hold the pres­i­dent ac­count­able.

In an un­prece­dented sce­nario, House lead­ers are con­sid­er­ing de­pos­ing in se­cret a whistle­blower who says Trump may have com­pro­mised na­tional se­cu­rity, in­clud­ing mask­ing his iden­tity and tak­ing him to a se­cure lo­ca­tion to hear his tes­ti­mony be­cause his life may be un­der threat.

In a se­ries of tweets on Wed­nes­day, Trump raged against the un­named sec­ond whistle­blower, sug­gest­ing on the ba­sis of un­sub­stan­ti­ated charges from his min­ions that he was a Demo­cratic stooge. He had ear­lier ar­gued the first whistle­blower was a spy who would have been treated dif­fer­ently in an ear­lier time, a re­mark some saw as a threat to have him ex­e­cuted for trea­son.

The whistle­blower has re­port­edly said Trump’s phone call to the Ukrainian pres­i­dent was “crazy, fright­en­ing, and com­pletely lack­ing in sub­stance re­lated to na­tional se­cu­rity”, as he (the pres­i­dent) sought to pres­sure Kiev into prob­ing the fi­nan­cial af­fairs of Joe Bi­den (his prospec­tive ri­val in the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions) and his son Hunter (who has ties to an en­ergy com­pany in Ukraine), while sug­gest­ing Wash­ing­ton could with­hold aid if it did not.

“The Whistle­blower’s facts have been so in­cor­rect about my “no pres­sure” con­ver­sa­tion with the Ukrainian Pres­i­dent, and now the con­flict of in­ter­est and in­volve­ment with a Demo­crat Can­di­date, that he or she should be ex­posed and ques­tioned prop­erly. This is no Whistle­blower…The Whistle­blower’s lawyer is a big Demo­crat. The Whistle­blower has ties to one of my DEMO­CRAT OP­PO­NENTS,” Trump al­leged in one tweet.

“A To­tal Scam by the Do Noth­ing Democrats. For the good of the Coun­try, this Wirch (sic) Hunt should end now!” Trump raged in an­other tweet, adding, “The Do Noth­ing Democrats are Con Artists, only look­ing to hurt the Repub­li­can Party and Pres­i­dent. Their to­tal fo­cus is 2020, noth­ing more, and noth­ing less. The good news is that WE WILL WIN!!”

The pres­i­dent’s an­gry tweets fol­lowed a White House let­ter to House Demo­cratic lead­ers say­ing nei­ther he nor the ex­ec­u­tive branch would will­ingly pro­vide tes­ti­mony or doc­u­ments re­lat­ing to the im­peach­ment in­quiry be­cause it was a bo­gus witch-hunt with im­proper pro­cesses. The White House has di­rected var­i­ous govern­ment of­fi­cials not to ap­pear be­fore the Demo­crat-led com­mit­tees, set­ting up an un­prece­dented clash be­tween the leg­is­la­ture and the ex­ec­u­tive.

House Democrats are say­ing the pres­i­dent’s fail­ure to com­ply with their de­mands for in­for­ma­tion could form the ba­sis for its own ar­ti­cle of im­peach­ment, even as they have taken the subpoena route to com­pel of­fi­cials to tes­tify. The mat­ter is likely to end up in the US Supreme Court, which cur­rently has a con­ser­va­tive ma­jor­ity on the ba­sis of two re­cent Trump ap­pointees.

“The White House should be warned that con­tin­ued ef­forts to hide the truth of the pres­i­dent’s abuse of power from the Amer­i­can peo­ple will be re­garded as fur­ther ev­i­dence of ob­struc­tion,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “Mr pres­i­dent, you are not above the law. You will be held ac­count­able.” As Democrats closed ranks to im­peach the pres­i­dent, Trump min­ions ex­ploded on TV, with one of his ad­vis­ers call­ing the whistle­blow­ers “sui­cide bombers that the Democrats have un­leashed on the demo­cratic process”.

“What you’re see­ing is regi­cide,” Joseph diGen­ova, a fre­quent Trump de­fender told Fox News. “This is regi­cide by an­other name, fake im­peach­ment. The Democrats in the House want to de­stroy the pres­i­dent.” Regi­cide is the act of killing a king, and while the US re­mains a con­sti­tu­tional re­pub­lic, Trump and his acolytes have em­braced the idea of an im­pe­rial pres­i­dency where the ex­ec­u­tive has com­plete and to­tal power.


Peo­ple rally for im­peach­ment on Capi­tol Hill in Wash­ing­ton, DC

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