Opinion: Will Democrats impeach President Trump?

President Donald Trump greets Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) President and CEO Johnny Taylor, during the advisory board's first meeting in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2019. IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty applauds on the right. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

On Monday morning, House Democrats formally began investigations into all things Donald Trump in a blitzkrieg of retributive justice for the ages. Evidently, the left still harbors a residual bitterness over the 2016 election as it attempts to exact vengeance on America’s “illegitimate” commander-in-chief. With no evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of the president, it appears more likely than ever that Democrats will impeach him anyways.

It was the witching hour on Nov. 9, 2016; President-elect Donald J. Trump had just accepted the results of the election. But, before he had a chance to finish, Democrats were already scrambling, as they did after the 2000 election of George W. Bush, to classify America’s latest democratically-elected Republican as “illegitimate.”

Many folks on the left believe The Donald cheated his way to the White House by allegedly colluding with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. From there, the criminal allegations include obstruction of justice, perjury and having a bad spray tan.

Despite the rabid ferocity electrifying this McCarthy-style “witch hunt,” there is zero evidence to suggest the president committed any crimes to justify impeachment.

Let’s discuss the following:

Russian Collusion

The first thing that must be understood is that collusion is not a crime. According to lawyer Ben Shapiro, “There is no statutory definition of ‘collusion’; the closest we could come is ‘conspiracy.’” Specifically, he explains that it is likely not criminal for the Trump campaign to seek “opposition research” from a foreign government because this activity is protected under the First Amendment. This means that the Trump campaign’s potential involvement with the Russian government would only be illegal if it was accompanied by illicit activity, such as the hacking of the DNC or Hillary Clinton’s campaign; thus far, there is no evidence that any of this occurred.

Obstruction of Justice

There is no evidence yet to suggest that President Trump obstructed justice in the Robert Mueller investigation. “There are provisions covering destruction of evidence or threatening to influence a ‘pending judicial proceeding,’” Shapiro said, “but obstruction generally requires an active attempt to impede — and the Mueller investigation, according to the testimony of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, hasn't actually been impacted by Trump's fulmination.” Essentially, Trump’s lurid complaints about the “witch hunt” are insufficient to convict him of obstructing justice.

Perjury

According to Shapiro, the Democrats’ best hope at this point is to prove Donald Trump Jr. lied about the president having no knowledge of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. They could then charge Trump Jr. with perjury and convince him to flip on his father, but this is unlikely considering, as Shapiro noted, there is still no evidence to suggest that President Trump knew of the Trump Tower meeting.

With no evidence to convict President Trump of illicit activity, Democrats ought to shift their focus towards producing a 2020 candidate smart enough not to run on abolishing private healthcare. But, unfortunately for the president, the court of political opinion is at odds with the court of law; and Democrats are giddy about it.

As Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) put it in January, “We’re going to impeach the mother*cker!”

The fact of the matter is that Democrats don’t need evidence; they need a simple majority. When House Democrats file articles of impeachment against the president, there will be no prosecuting and defense attorneys, no judge and jury.

Just 235 angry Democrats and 197 outnumbered Republicans.

Impeachment of a president is an act of political posturing in its entirety and Democrats are standing tall here. With the necessary 218 votes in the House and sufficient hatred of #45, it appears likely that Democrats will impeach President Trump before the end of 2019.

Fortunately for the president, the Republican-controlled Senate will likely acquit him of wrongdoing as it serves their best interests to do so, provided that investigators don’t unearth any damning evidence in the coming months. With President Trump returned safely back to office, his next battle will have only just begun.

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody,” President Trump once said, “and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

At the very least, President Trump is a straight shooter and, if his approval ratings among Republicans are any indicator, the loyalty of his base is bulletproof. Outnumbered and surrounded, America’s kingpin is locked and loaded for 2020. Yet, the question still remains as to whether or not President Trump can shoot his way out of this one.


Kevin Catapano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kevin.catapano@uconn.edu.