Forget Ukraine. Forget whether the quid-pro-quo is “bad” enough to be impeachable. The imperfect phone call was pretty bad, and the precedents it launched were much, much worse.
Worst of all, of course, is the precedent for impunity the Republicans in the Senate have granted to the first known presidential use of strategically important weapons, money and moral support as a dangle to extort help from an endangered ally in smearing a prospective rival in an upcoming election.
But forget that. It’s awful, but it’s nothing, NOTHING! Compared to the other impeachment charge, the one about obstruction of Congress, which continued and will continue, right in the faces of the Congress, the Senate and the American people.
McConnell and the Mitch-kins have caved, not just on sanctioning egregious international election – wink-wink – “improprieties,” but they’ve also granted impunity to a direct attack on the balance of powers at the heart of the U.S. Constitution.
The Trump Administration’s defiance of House impeachment subpoenas threatens not only the public’s right to know the facts of this important case against the president, the Senate-approved coverup threatens to throw the Constitution’s balance of powers out of whack.
The Executive Branch from Hell has succeeded in replicating a legislative version of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel in which the Senate commits the fratricide, scuttling – while ostentatiously not even considering – the House’s case for impeachment.
Perhaps voters will – as in Genesis – send GOP Cain and his clan into exile, the original “Land of Nod.” But even then, the McConnell mob’s rubout of the Constitutional concept of impeachment will have pardoned president Trump.
If anyone saves the Constitution from Trump and McConnell, the first chance will go to voters because they’ll have their say long before the Constitutional questions Trump’s obstruction of Congress pose reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
Elie Mystal is The Nation‘s Justice Correspondent—covering the courts, the criminal justice system, and politics—and the force behind the magazine’s monthly column, “Objection!” He is also an Alfred Knobler Fellow at the Type Media Center.
Mystal joined the website Above the Law in 2008 by winning the ATL Idol Contest. Prior to joining ATL, Elie wrote about politics and popular culture at City Hall News and the New York Press. Elie received a degree in Government from Harvard University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He was formerly a litigator at Debevoise & Plimpton but quit the legal profession to pursue a career as an online provocateur. He’s written editorials for the New York Daily News and the New York Times, and he has appeared on both MSNBC and Fox News without having to lie about his politics to either news organization.