Okay, this is where we are: No announcement of Impeachment Proceedings against Donald Trump, yet. The last word there is important. The House of Representatives, specifically the Judiciary Committee, must vote to indict the POTUS for Impeachment for the official process to begin.
Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic House Caucus, the dominant majority now in the H.R., for the present is content to continue their committee investigations regarding the president and his aides, before taking the next logical impeachment step. Especially, the Democrats in Congress want financial information that pertains to Mr. Trump, particularly his tax returns and bank records. From that data, a determination can be made as to what financial ties there are between Russia and Mr. Trump. That’s the linchpin the Democrats are looking for.
There are two very important things to remember that are not now headlined in this intensifying relationship. Number one, although the Trump administration has ordered its cabinet members and lower officials not to comply with subpoenas from congressional committees chaired by Democrats, those committees retain their own power.
That is the power to not only hold such officials in Contempt of Congress who refuse to supply documents and who refuse to testify before Congress. That power also includes the authority to arrest those individuals who do not comply. It is little known and rarely used, but congressional committees can send the chamber’s Sergeant-at-Arms (the Senate has its and the House has its own) as a legal, armed and uniformed officer to detain and arrest those who refuse congressional orders. That power has never been tested on the POTUS, but more than ten Cabinet members have been arrested that way in prior years.
The last one was in 1935, and there exists abundant Supreme Court rulings supporting the practice. So, in the bully stand-off between the president ordering his people not to appear before congressional committees and Congress, the latter is not the toothless debate society most people think it is.
Imagine the sight: the Secretary of the Treasury, the head of the IRS, the officer who determines classifications of confidential status, etc., being accosted in their homes or offices, and carted off to jail. That would be a real test of their loyalty to Mr. Trump, who by the way, could neither stop the process nor pardon any of his people in that situation.
The second noteworthy thing is that this OK Corral-fight between the POTUS and his officials against Congress (particularly the Democrats) matters to all of us: Black, white and sundry. The U.S.A. is a republican democracy not an autocracy. No administration can be allowed to blithely violate, ignore or disrespect legal procedures the way the Trump administration has attempted to do. That would harm us all, and irreparably harm the U.S.A. form of government. Becoming a satellite of Russia cannot be allowed. As bad as our collective status as Black people may now be in this country, being taken over by another country will not better that condition.
In what’s going on now, we are all in this together. The rule of law must prevail, not the rule of one president’s personal temper tantrums.
I, for one, would love to see some privileged folk marched off to the pokey. The looks on their faces would be priceless, as they, for once, get what they deserve.
In a recent college class disProfessor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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