March 23, 2018
What a Week in Impeachment: As media exposes details of election meddling, Trump seeks to appease Putin
by Barbara A. Radnofsky
This week, media exposed a president engaging in significant and harmful oppressive acts; congratulating the Russian president on a sham win, abandoning our electoral system to attacks. The president continued his interference with the administration of Justice and ongoing investigations, discrediting witnesses, firing a meritorious officer and deceiving the public.
He’s getting worse. As White House insiders reveal that the President is growing in confidence and decided he’s “gotten the hang of the job,” he’s lost patience with opposition and constraints. Nothing is stopping Trump and he cannot stop himself. He seems not frightened but giddy.
Here’s a sampling of this week’s dangerous and impeachable misconduct:
First Charge: Oppression and negligience; violation of the Presidential Oath and the rule of law
- Media reports revealed President Trump requires his White House personnel to sign non-disclosure agreements—independent of government requirements for classified information—effectively depriving history of truth. One appalled legal expert explained, “The idea of having some kind of economic penalty is an outrageous effort to limit and chill speech. Once again, this president believes employees owe him a personal duty of loyalty, when their duty of loyalty is to the institution.” (Source)
- Trump’s citation of an anti-immigrant hate group to support his border wall continues his misuse of his power to promote white nationalist and anti-Semitic ideas, as the Southern Poverty Law Center explained. (Source)
- Rep. Keith Ellison helped expose the oppression and negligence with which the Trump Administration continues to harm our US citizens in Puerto Rico, noting that “100,000+ American citizens in Puerto Rico still lack power. This has been a total failure of governance by the Trump administration.” (Source)
Second Charge: Incompetence, endangering national security; placing selfish and other interests in pleasing Russia above those of the United States, emboldening enemies
- Despite clear national security advice not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his recent victory in that nation’s sham election, and further advice to condemn recent Russian nerve gas attacks in England, Trump did congratulate the Russian autocrat, making no complaint of Russian interference in US elections, and failed to condemn the attacks. On Twitter, Congressman Lloyd Doggett wrote, “Though Trump’s insult list is long and growing, he refuses to criticize Russian Pres Putin. When Trump congratulates Putin on a sham election, he mocks democracy. Dictators do not ‘win’ elections. They own them.” Complaints were registered by a number of prominent lawmakers in both parties. Additional complaints were raised over the fact that Trump has failed to congratulate other leaders, such as Germany’s Angela Merkel, on their electoral victories. (Source, Source, Source, Source, Source)
- Last night, the White House announced the departure of National Security Advisor HR McMaster. Media recalled McMaster had angered the president by stating at a Munich security conference that evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was beyond dispute. (Source)
Third Charge: Interference with an ongoing investigation and discrediting of witnesses; firing a meritorious officer; deceiving the public
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions, described as browbeaten and humiliated, fired a significant potential witness against the president: career FBI official Andrew McCabe, who was on track to retire and receive full benefits thirty-six hours later. McCabe spoke in multiple interviews of an “ongoing effort to undermine my credibility because of the work that I did on the Russia case, because of the investigations that I oversaw and impacted that target this administration.” He emphasized, “They have every reason to believe that I could end up being a significant witness in whatever the special counsel comes up with, and so they are trying to create this counter-narrative that I am not someone who can be believed or trusted.” McCabe analyzed Trump’s twitter attack as part of Trump’s ongoing war on the FBI and efforts of special counsel investigation (Source, Source)
- Trump misquoted Fox News and Sen. Chuck Grassley to create a lying attack on key witness James Comey; the Washington Post exposed lies, including the fact that Grassley hadn’t asked Comey whether he had ever “known someone else to be an anonymous source,” as Trump wrote. (Source)
- The president used his lawyer John Dowd to call on the Justice Department to end Mueller’s investigation allegedly “manufactured” by Comey. Dowd claimed first to be speaking for the president, then retracted those claims, only to state subsequently that the statement had been made with the president’s approval, saying, “[Trump] thought it was a good statement. And I still do.” Shortly thereafter, he resigned from the president’s legal team. (Source, Source, Source, Source)
Fourth Charge: Presidential cover-up of misconduct, deception, and lies, while evidence builds daily, thanks to a vigilant free press that has repeatedly countered the president’s denials of his campaign’s involvement in ongoing threats to our democratic process from enemies of our country
- Evidence emerged that Trump advisors connected with Cambridge Analytica had worked unethically and/or illegally to get him elected. As Representative Don Beyer wrote, “Robert Mercer and Stephen Bannon backed data firm Cambridge Analytica harvested the private information of over 50 million Facebook users *without their permission* to work with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.” (Source, Source, Source)
- Media exposed Cambridge Analytica and Aleksandr Kogan (an academic orchestrating the theft of Facebook data) ties to the Russian government and the US-sanctioned Russian energy firm Lukoil, which has ties to the Kremlin. Lukoil viewed CA’s work in 2014, beginning with voter suppression in Nigeria and CA’s “micro-targeting” individuals on social media during elections. (Source)
Regardless of his motives, our “increasingly erratic” president is responsible for massive incompetence, incapacity, and negligence, which pose an ongoing, substantial danger to our national security, our society, and our system of government.
Retired four-star Army General Barry McCaffrey, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and recipient of three Purple Hearts, affirms that President Trump represents an ongoing “serious threat to U.S. national security,” and that “he’s under the sway of Mr. Putin.”
As for the firing of Andrew McCabe, former Attorney General Eric Holder took to Twitter to write, “The timing appears cruel and a cave that compromised DOJ independence to please an increasingly errative President who should’ve played no role here. This is dangerous.”
Barbara Ann Radnofsky is a mother, wife, teacher, mediator and arbitrator. A lawyer since 1979, she was the first woman Texas Democratic U.S. Senate nominee and later the first woman Texas Democratic Attorney General nominee. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Houston and the University of Texas School of Law, she was honored as the Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas in 1988 and has been listed for more than 25 years in “Best Lawyers in America" in multiple areas. She lives in Houston, where she is one of many co-owners of the Brazos Bookstore, and is the author of A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment, available now. Follow her at @TXBarbaraAnn!