Having trouble making sense of the impeachment of President Trump? Many Americans are. God knows what people outside the United States make of it. What is it all about? It’s about politics, of course, and power. And money.
The Democrats want to call witnesses to the Senate trial who they chose not to call during the House impeachment hearings. Most Republicans and many constitutional scholars argue that this is neither fair nor constitutional, and that the Senate must try the case the House presented, as is. But some Republicans argue, thinking to finesse the Democrats, that if there should be witnesses, then the former vice president Joe Biden and his son must be called.
They make the case that if Trump wanted to know if the then vice president sold, or knowingly allowed his office to be sold, that was in fact his responsibility as president.
Anybody remotely familiar with American government already knows that Biden was selling influence, has been for decades, mostly to the banks and credit card companies. And remember, like everybody else in Washington, the then vice president knew Hillary Clinton would be the next president. He knew that nobody would ever know or care how his family had cashed in.
But if the Bidens are called to testify that will all be made clear, and likely destroy his candidacy. While office selling is accepted practice in Washington, it does not sit well with most American voters when brought to their attention.
So it caught my ear when one of the establishment Democrat senators, Dick Durbin ( D, IL) suggested that calling the Bidens to testify would be okay with him, if it gets the Democrats some witness that they think can damage Trump. Translated: the Democrat establishment realizes that Biden cannot defeat Trump and are willing to kill him off.
But for who? Certainly not Bernie Sanders; although of course Sanders will be delighted to see Biden get destroyed. Maybe Elizabeth Warren, or whoever the establishment pols are maneuvering for. Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg? Maybe. He’s spreading cash around like no other candidate in history. The smell must be intoxicating for the Dick Durbins of the Washington swamp.
I wonder what else the swamp rats will be willing to do, to get a chunk of the Bloomberg billions? Go easy on China, where Bloomberg has “interests?” Move the capitol to Wall Street, to ease the commute?
It’s clear the Nancy Pelosi types are willing to destroy the presidency to destroy Trump and make the office an appendage of any future majority in the House of Representatives. This is what they mean when they say they are “saving democracy.” They believe, I think sincerely, that the popular vote is sovereign and both the Electoral College and Senate are undemocratic anachronisms.
But lacking any hope of amending the Constitution, they have seized upon a run around to destroy the Republic and an elected presidency, set up a European parliamentary system or a Roman pro-consul executive in which the President and the Speaker vie daily for power and control.
The United States is at a watershed. Should Trump prevail, the president will remain the tribune and representative of the American people, and not become the exclusive property of poplar majorities or plutocrats. Should Trump prevail, future presidents will do as previous presidents have done, and execute the duties and responsibilities of the office without a majority in the House of Representatives, however narrow, micro managing his or her every action, fighting daily for power.
Should Trump not prevail, the result will be chaos, for which the remedy will be the post liberal fascism now waiting in the wings
Mike Krauss is Chair of the Pennsylvania Project and Founding Director of the Public Banking Institute.