By Chris Hedges
September 30, 2019 "Information Clearing House" - Impeaching Donald Trump would do nothing to halt the deep decay that has beset the American republic. It would not magically restore democratic institutions. It would not return us to the rule of law. It would not curb the predatory appetites of the big banks, the war industry and corporations. It would not get corporate money out of politics or end our system of legalized bribery. It would not halt the wholesale surveillance and monitoring of the public by the security services. It would not end the reigns of terror practiced by paramilitary police in impoverished neighborhoods or the mass incarceration of 2.3 million citizens. It would not impede ICE from hunting down the undocumented and ripping children from their arms to pen them in cages. It would not halt the extraction of fossil fuels and the looming ecocide. It would not give us a press freed from the corporate mandate to turn news into burlesque for profit. It would not end our endless and futile wars. It would not ameliorate the hatred between the nation’s warring tribes—indeed would only exacerbate these hatreds.
Impeachment is about cosmetics. It is about replacing the public face of empire with a political mandarin such as Joe Biden, himself steeped in corruption and obsequious service to the rich and corporate power, who will carry out the same suicidal policies with appropriate regal decorum. The ruling elites have had enough of Trump’s vulgarity, stupidity and staggering ineptitude. They turned on him not over an egregious impeachable offense—there have been numerous impeachable offenses including the use of the presidency for personal enrichment, inciting violence and racism, passing on classified intelligence to foreign officials, obstruction of justice and a pathological inability to tell the truth—but because he made the fatal mistake of trying to take down a fellow member of the ruling elite.
Yes, Trump pressured Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to give him dirt on Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, and there probably is some. Yes, it appears the U.S. president withheld roughly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in order to exert leverage over that government. Yes, he attempted to block the release of the whistleblower report that detailed his conduct. Yes, this is a violation of the law, one that many Democrats in Congress see as an impeachable offense.
But this kind of dirty quid pro quo is the staple of politics and international relations. Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence official, was hired to dig up dirt on Trump and Russia by Fusion GPS, a research and intelligence firm under contract to investigate Trump by Perkins Coie, a law firm working for the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Four decades ago, Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager, William Casey, asked the Iranians not to free the American hostages held in Tehran until after the November presidential election to hurt incumbent Jimmy Carter, according to Gary Sick, Carter’s chief aide on Iran. The American hostages were released the day Reagan was inaugurated, in January 1981.
Hillary Clinton, as far as we know, was never on the phone to Steele. Reagan, as far as we know, was never on the phone to the Iranian president. Trump’s fatal mistake was that he was overt in his request and he made it himself. This kind of underhanded pressure to damage political opponents requires skillful hints, secret meetings, carefully calibrated pressure and total deniability. Trump is too clueless to play the game. Because of this he looks set to join the exclusive club of presidents who were impeached—Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.
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