Net should be cast wide

A growing number of Democrats say the Ukraine call was an abuse of  Donald Trump's position and...
Donald Trump.
It’s time to throw the kitchen sink at US President Donald Trump, and the cutlery too, writes Simon Tisdall.

It would be unfair to prejudge the impeachment case against Donald Trump. But let's do so anyway.

When Richard Nixon faced impeachment in 1974, he was charged with abuse of power, obstruction of justice and contempt of Congress. Given the evidence against him, Nixon resigned rather than risk being thrown out of office.

It's unlikely that Trump will quit voluntarily. He believes the Republican-controlled Senate will save him. But the impeachment process is accelerating amid an impressive accumulation of incriminating testimony. The Democrat-led House of Representatives voted to formalise proceedings last week. As matters stand, Trump will probably face similar charges to Nixon.

The main point is not so much whether Trump is guilty of wrongdoing - he almost certainly is - or whether Congress will ultimately fail to convict him. It's whether his reputation is so damaged by the impeachment spectacle as to preclude his re-election next year.

Right now, only 43% of Americans approve of the job he is doing. Weeks of public hearings could further depress that figure.

To maximise the chances of condemning Trump in the court of public opinion, Democrats need to expand the formal and informal charge sheet beyond its current focus on the Ukraine scandal. The constitution helps. By failing to define exactly what it meant by impeachable ``high crimes and misdemeanours'', it left scope for a wide array of accusations.

In other words, all of Trump's offences against his presidential oath, the law and the American people should be taken into account. Even if the impeachment process eventually hits a dead end, the public and media debate surrounding it provides a unique platform from which to shine a harsh light on Trump's multiple misdeeds.

Trump has already denounced the whole business as a politically inspired witch-hunt. He will continue to try to delegitimise the proceedings in the public arena. So now is not the time to hold back, or play by the rules he denigrates and flaunts. It's time to throw the kitchen sink at Trump, and the cutlery, too.

From the evidence gathered so far, it appears indisputable that Trump abused his powers by trying to induce Ukraine's leaders to smear a political rival, Joe Biden. According to his own officials, his withholding of military aid to Kiev for this same reason harmed US national security.

If this attempted conspiracy with a foreign power sounds familiar, it is. Trump's repeated willingness to collaborate with Russia and kow-tow to its president, Vladimir Putin, evidenced most recently by his withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria, has raised numerous red flags during the past three years.

Although he did not directly accuse Trump of collusion, special counsel Robert Mueller, whose report this year confirmed that covert Russian meddling in the 2016 election helped the Trump campaign, did not exonerate him, either.

Since the Russians are reportedly planning similar interference in 2020, and Trump has done little to stop it, the collusion drum is one the Democrats should be beating hard.

The fact that Trump and his businesses are the subject of several federal and state corruption investigations is also relevant to his impeachment. Questions swirl around generous Russian loans, made through German banks, which reportedly rescued his business empire from bankruptcy. Another probe concerns Middle Eastern donations to his 2017 inauguration committee.

By refusing to co-operate with the impeachment hearings, and blocking and intimidating witnesses, Trump is meanwhile increasing the chances that a charge of obstruction of justice will be added to abuse of power. Here, too, past behaviour patterns are germane. The Mueller report cited no fewer than 10 instances of alleged obstruction, including Trump's sacking of the FBI director, James Comey.

Trump's contempt for the workings of US democracy is on show almost every day, whether it's his attempts to direct federal money into his resorts, his disdain for the intelligence agencies and the state department, or his attacks on Congress, judges, the Federal Reserve and independent news media.

Should not his moral turpitude, his racially and religiously divisive rhetoric and policies, his barely disguised misogyny and, for example, his incarceration of asylum-seekers in camps on the Mexican border also be properly termed unacceptable abuses of power?

And if a measure of Trump's misrule is the threat it presents to US security, wellbeing and national interests, as in Ukraine, what of his subversive efforts to weaken Nato, empower Russia, pick trade fights, undermine European allies, ignore the climate crisis and undercut the global rules-based order by discarding treaties and scorning international law?

His self-interested attempts, for example, to curry favour with oil-rich Saudi autocrats, pander to Israel's hard right and goad their common enemy, Iran, into war represent a cynical, foolish threat to Middle East peace, a betrayal of American values and an egregious abuse of the powers entrusted to a president.

When articles of impeachment are drawn up by the House judiciary committee after Thanksgiving, these and other "high crimes and misdemeanours'' should be taken into consideration. They form the inescapable backdrop and context to the coming charges. They pose questions that Trump's Republican supporters must answer. They help expose the serial wrongdoing of a rogue president on whom the nation as a whole will soon pass judgement.

For Trump, the stakes could not be higher. If he survives and goes on to win next year, he will count it a huge personal vindication, justifying all the harm he has done. If he loses, with his immunity gone and indictments piling up, he could quite possibly end up in jail. - Guardian News and Media



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Would they have been better under Hillary? New Zealand's dollar would have remained high under USA's lack of input in its industries, Kim-Jong Un would have been largely ignored, ISIS would still be fighting lacklustre forces and internal strife with issues like Obamacare and legalised abortions would be their noticables.

Yet another Hillary-loving Trump-hater sounds off....

I would never have voted for Trump in 2016 but I most certainly would do it in 2020.
Nixon had his political opponents offices physically broken into before an election. Trump wanted the 2016 interference investigated. That is clearly stated in the phone call transcript.
"condemning Trump in the court of public opinion" regardless of the facts is precisely what the Democrats are doing and that is because they can not beat him on policy, so they attack the man. The US economy is doing well, he is stopping the illegal immigration, dealing to the drug issues, raising employment and wages for all working people, exposing the elites crony capitalism and corruption, bring the endless Middle Eastern wars to an end, as well as exposing the collusion between the fear inducing media and the establishment.
The Democrats are the party of projection. They are trying to dump on Trump what they have been doing for decades, in an effort to hold onto power and privilege at the expense of the general population, as well as the death and displacement of millions via their regime change wars. The European migrant crises is a Democrat construction.
We could well do with a 'Trump' in NZ.

I do not disagree about the concerns about Trump's character. However the article has skipped over the fact that Trump was asking the Ukraine to look into allegations that Crowdstrike have copies of the DNC servers backed up in the Ukraine. The DNC did not let the FBI investigate their servers but got Crowdstrike in to do the work. There have been concerns that Crowdstrike is half owned by a Russian and the process was flawed. The DNC have a big conflict of interest here.

I don't put credence in the polls, after all, they said Clinton was going to win in a landslide. Americans like Trump because he isn't Obama, Clinton or Biden. He's an outsider who is trying to drain the Swamp. The Muller report and ongoing efforts by the Democrats to impeach Trump prove just how corrupt politicians are and the lengths the deep state will go to stay in power. Articles like this show just how corrupt and complicent the media actually is. As commander and chief, Trump sets foreign policy and people executing foreign policy work for Trump at his pleasure. If he doesn't like the way they look he can fire them and it's not abuse of power. As far as ambassadors not liking his forgein policy, he sets foreign policy they execute it. If they don't like it then quit! Like all americans, Trump deserves due process and the Democrats aren't providing that. This article is filled with half truths and outright lies designed to influence the ignorant masses. Trump isn't worried because he didn't do anything wrong. The Democrats know what's coming with the Barr, Durham and Huber investigations. Obama, Clinton and their cronies will all be prosecuted and jailed. 2020 win for Trump!

Given the huge amount of problems here in New Zealand; racism, sexism, homophobia, misogyny, nepotism and poverty, why is the ODT attacking Trump? Most Americans don’t know where New Zealand is let alone who Arden is. I don’t understand why the ODT has such an obsessive interest in discrediting Trump? Seems like an overt attempt by the “Ministry of Propaganda” to discredit Trump. Americans love him. Most of his rallies are held in stadiums with a capacity of 65,000 people. He fills the stadium with 25,000 people watching from outside. Why? Because he continues to show how corrupt the system. More importantly, he is trying to fix the system. Is Trump flawed? Yes! We are all flawed even Ardern. In the last election, a lot of people picked Trump because they hated Clinton. In 2020, people are going to be voting for Trump because he’s taken on a corrupt system and is winning. I don’t believe the polls. Trump is going to win big time!

God forbid the Americans vote for somebody they want to run their country! How dare them vote for somebody who we perceive as a sexist and a misogynist! Is so unfair, that as president of the United States, he would be afforded the same rights as other citizens and given due process and the right to face his accusers! It’s unbelievable that the American people don’t support impeaching him after the Muller report found him innocent of all accusations! It doesn’t matter that Speaker Pelosi and Congressmen Shiff continue to manufacture evidence against Trump; “throwing the kitchen sink” at Trump is more important then finding the truth! The Democrats promised their supporters an impeachment since Trump was elected; “by hook or by crook” they intend to deliver on that promise. I think Mr Tisdall made a complete fool of himself with the article. If the politicians don’t understand the nuances in the impeachment process I’m pretty sure that Tisdall doesn’t either. Equally, the politicians and the media have conflated the facts to the point where nobody knows what the truth might be. It great Tisdall has an opinion. It would be even better if it was an informed opinion!

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