I find myself quoting Dana Milbank a lot these days. Milbank, a columnist for the Washington Post, is the kind of writer I appreciate; much like Gail Collins of the New York Times, he is both informative and witty.
In his column yesterday, however, Milbank did us all a service; given Pelosi’s decision to commence impeachment proceedings, he lays out what I would label “a bill of particulars.” Milbank’s list illustrates the truth of an observation from Lawfare: “Trump’s misconduct presents what the military calls a target-rich environment.”
I cannot improve upon it, so I am taking the liberty of quoting the entire list.
Milbank begins that list by asking an obvious question: what if the shoe was on the other foot? What if a Democratic President–Elizabeth Warren, for example–was accused of doing the things Trump has clearly done, and the GOP has simply shrugged off?
● Defies congressional power of the purse by unilaterally raiding the Pentagon budget to finance her pet projects?
● Rejects the authority of congressional oversight, disregards subpoenas and refuses to furnish documents, including a whistleblower complaintabout the president deemed “urgent” by the intelligence community?
● Is found by an independent prosecutor appointed by her own administration to have engaged in 10 possible instances of obstruction of justice but is not charged because regulations prohibit such a move against a sitting president?
● Approves and reimburses secret payments, in violation of campaign-finance law, to a person threatening to put out damaging information about her?
● Fires an FBI director who refuses to call off a probe of one of her close associates?
● Rescinds the security clearance of a former CIA director critical of her, as well as the press credentials of journalists who criticize her administration?
● Persuades a foreign leader not to admit Republican members of Congress into his country?
● Grounds the jet used for official business by the congressional leader of the Republican Party?
● Repeatedly releases highly classified intelligence, some to a foreign enemy and some only to Democrats?
● Threatens to cut off highway funds and disaster aid to states and territories controlled by Republicans, and declares she has the “absolute” right to move criminals to jurisdictions governed by Republicans?
● Funnels millions of taxpayer dollars to her own businesses, pressures federal agencies and international organizations to do business with her personal enterprises, invites foreign governments to pay millions of dollars to her businesses, and rejects a law requiring her to provide Congress with her tax returns?
● Calls for a boycott of the parent company of a media outlet critical of her, threatens an antitrust action against the owner of another media outlet critical of her, says she can unilaterally order businesses to disinvest from a country and calls for federal punishment of individual businesses she doesn’t like?
● Circumvents the Constitution’s advice-and-consent provision by running the government with “acting” officials (unqualified but loyal to her) not confirmed by the Senate?
● Offers to pardon those who commit crimes enforcing her policies, questions the authority of certain judges because they are GOP appointees and pardons a political ally who ignored court orders?
● Without congressional approval, establishes a de facto network of internment camps, run under inhumane conditions, for a class of people she disdains?
● And, finally, asks and coerces foreign governments to sabotage her Republican opponents’ campaigns?
When you see the whole list–which Milbank suggests isn’t even complete, it is impossible to justify the enormity of what the GOP has enabled and protected. I can’t help wondering what Trump’s toadies in the House and Senate will tell their grandchildren when those children study the history of this retrograde and destructive Presidency.
How will they respond to the inevitable questions? What did you do, grandpa/grandma, while that mentally-ill, racist ignoramus was dismantling our government, spitting on the rule of law, and violating the Constitution on a daily basis?