Editor’s note: In conjunction with the Feb. 5 op-ed “The case for starting impeachment hearings,” by Ben Clements and Ron Fein, we asked readers whether, in the case of President Trump, it was too soon to start the process or long overdue. We received nearly 50 responses, and sentiments ran about 4 to 1 in favor of beginning the move toward impeachment (though many of the nays were just as critical of the president). The following is an edited sample:
With his contempt for rule of law, president shows himself to be unfit
Donald Trump should be impeached because he has shown himself to be a compulsive and flagrant violator of the rule of law, and has exhibited depraved indifference to the health and welfare of the American people by his appointments and policies, which threaten our national security, ignore science, and gut environmental protections against air, water, and soil pollution.
Trump’s contempt for the rule of law has been demonstrated on many occasions, before and since his election. But the fact that numerous legal authorities are investigating him — special counsel Robert Mueller, federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York, the New York attorney general, the Federal Election Commission — and have convicted so many of his closest associates, while producing so much disturbing evidence of wrongdoing, indicates that his remaining in the White House undermines respect for law and order and the very stability of our government.
Trump has severely abused his powers and no longer commands the respect or approval of the vast majority of the American people. Our Declaration of Independence states, “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” and, “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.”
The time has come for Donald Trump to be removed from our government so that the rule of law and our national security are not only sustained but prevail.
From looks of things, Trump is wrong man for this job
Some days I am convinced that the yellow hair and orange face tell us all we need to know: Impeachment is long overdue. These cosmetic features represent everything else that is false about this man.
Consider the number of Donald Trump’s Cabinet appointees ill-suited to their responsibilities, not to mention the number of his staff who have departed, some of whom face criminal charges. Consider his fondness for the dictators of this world, among whom I would place him. Then we have his obsession with the wall and the immigrants, who have brought so much to this country.
His refusal to attend intelligence briefings is alarming, but perhaps intelligence is not a priority for him.
I could go on, but I’ll conclude that, yes, impeachment hearings must begin if we are to save this country, if not the world, from this dangerous man.
Haven’t we seen enough?
When Donald Trump was elected, many of us were not happy. But I thought that, well, he can get advice from others on issues of which he has no knowledge or in which he has no experience.
Now I realize that he acts impulsively, and it is frightening to think what he has the power to do independently. He could press that button that could start true devastation.
I feel that we must begin impeachment hearings immediately.
If we wait too long, it might be too late. We waited for urgent action on climate control, and scientists say it is too late.
Waiting is often wise, but not with Trump and the situation in the White House.
Shutdown alone is grounds for taking action
Even aside from all his criminal and ethical lapses, Donald Trump needs to be impeached simply over the matter of shutting down the government. In fact, his threat to shut the government down again and rule by exeuctive order echoes a regime like that of his friend Kim Jong Un. As for the Mueller investigation, it should be useful for taking Mike Pence and the rest of the administration out of power.
The evidence is in plain sight
Ben Clements and Ron Fein present an argument that has resonated with me for at least 12 months: Impeachment is long overdue. The process must start now. Emoluments violations and obstruction of justice are in plain sight.
Inaction is tantamount to sanctioning the behavior.
Be careful what you wish for
I believe that there is no doubt that there is enough evidence to impeach the bully in chief.
However, what if we did get the process started now and it gets to the Senate? The Republicans would probably ignore the evidence. Let’s suppose the senators actually did their jobs and voted to impeach. What happens then? Mike Pence is president? He is scarier than the current occupant of the Oval Office, because he is smarter.
So I say wait a little while, and then get started, in order to have the maximum chance of messing up the possibility of a second term for these two destructive men.
Then bring whatever criminal charges we can once Donald Trump is out of office.
Hearings would give Trump a lift
I say no to impeachment hearings. Not that I don’t think that Donald Trump should be impeached; I do. But without a smoking gun, or some assurance that hearings will turn something up, any House vote to impeach is DOA in the Mitch McConnell-led Senate. Meanwhile, the hearings will give Trump a foil for him to use to fire up his base, possibly helping the Republicans in general, and Trump in particular, in 2020.
The left should focus on the business of the country
Get on with the business of this county, and stop the partisan politics of the left.
The American election was won by Trump. If you feel you must, then vote him out. Elections have consequences.
Far more important issues cry for our attention
We have many more important issues for our nation to debate than filling the airways with a discussion of impeachment.
The Clinton impeachment diverted attention from far more important issues.
Now I think we should be thinking about:
•Competition with China, without a level playing field, including their cyber theft of our technology, both civilian and military.
• Competition with Russia, which took Crimea by force and was implicated in the shooting down of a civilian airliner, and is meddling in the Ukraine elections.
• Extrajudicial killings in nations other than Saudi Arabia, such as South Africa and other countries, in greater numbers than is indicated in the terrible case of Jamal Kashoggi.
• Transitioning to and rebuilding democracy and safety in Venezuela, which is so close to home.
You get the idea.
Impeachment would divide us further
Much as I abhor Donald Trump as a president and a person, and find most of his policies, pronouncements, and Twitter posts repugnant, I do not feel impeachment is the answer. It would serve only to separate our nation further and create more rancor, anger, and divisiveness. Instead, let us work toward defeating Trump in 2020 and supporting candidates who uphold true American values of democracy, decency, inclusion, and fair-mindedness.