Historian Yoni Appelbaum Makes a Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump

If you are a fan of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast, you will remember our interview in Episode 3 with Yoni Appelbaum, historian and IDEAS editor at The Atlantic.  In this piece, Appelbaum makes a case for the impeachment of Donald Trump.  Here is a taste:

The oath of office is a president’s promise to subordinate his private desires to the public interest, to serve the nation as a whole rather than any faction within it. Trump displays no evidence that he understands these obligations. To the contrary, he has routinely privileged his self-interest above the responsibilities of the presidency. He has failed to disclose or divest himself from his extensive financial interests, instead using the platform of the presidency to promote them. This has encouraged a wide array of actors, domestic and foreign, to seek to influence his decisions by funneling cash to properties such as Mar-a-Lago (the “Winter White House,” as Trump has branded it) and his hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. Courts are now considering whether some of those payments violate the Constitution.

More troubling still, Trump has demanded that public officials put their loyalty to him ahead of their duty to the public. On his first full day in office, he ordered his press secretary to lie about the size of his inaugural crowd. He never forgave his first attorney general for failing to shut down investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and ultimately forced his resignation. “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty,” Trump told his first FBI director, and then fired him when he refused to pledge it.

Trump has evinced little respect for the rule of law, attempting to have the Department of Justice launch criminal probes into his critics and political adversaries. He has repeatedly attacked both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. His efforts to mislead, impede, and shut down Mueller’s investigation have now led the special counsel to consider whether the president obstructed justice.

As for the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, Trump has repeatedly trampled upon them. He pledged to ban entry to the United States on the basis of religion, and did his best to follow through. He has attacked the press as the “enemy of the people” and barred critical outlets and reporters from attending his events. He has assailed black protesters. He has called for his critics in private industry to be fired from their jobs. He has falsely alleged that America’s electoral system is subject to massive fraud, impugning election results with which he disagrees as irredeemably tainted. Elected officials of both parties have repeatedly condemned such statements, which has only spurred the president to repeat them.

These actions are, in sum, an attack on the very foundations of America’s constitutional democracy.

Read the entire piece here.

19 thoughts on “Historian Yoni Appelbaum Makes a Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump

  1. It’s ironic the guy should mention “liberties guaranteed by the Constitution”. If what I’ve read is correct, HR1 for Congress this year will be an assault on the First Amendment and DiFi has already crafted – yet again – another assault on the Second.

    Sorry, I don’t have much sympathy for Dems when it comes to professing loyalty to the Constitution. After watching Obama circumvent the Constitutional requirement that treaties be approved by the Senate, yet laboriously working to word the Paris climate treaty such that he could claim that a treaty wasn’t actually a treaty and implement his desires unilaterally, I’m sure they’re afraid Trump might follow Obama’s lead and by-pass them also. I guess this may be a case of “do what I say, not what I do.”

    Poor little CNN and Acosta. Grow up guys. If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. CNN – and any other cable news channel – is no more critical to America than the Disney channel or Nickelodeon. There’s plenty of other “journalists” to do the DNC’s bidding (tic). And no, I don’t watch FNC. I actually watch CBS evening news, but I watch knowing it’s coming with a leftist view of things.

    Charles Krauthammer wrote a commentary around a year after Trump got elected and entitled it “The Guardrails Hold”. It basically was an argument that for all of Trump’s unconventional behavior, he was not able to some of what he wanted because of the Constitutional guardrails in place. Just as I did not believe my Republican friends when they argued that a Hillary presidency would be the end of the Republic, nor do I believe Trump is a much of a threat as so many wish to claim now.

    However, if the Dems do impeach Trump, I do look forward to the review of his high school yearbooks for evidence as to why he should be impeached.

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    • “…HR1 for Congress this year will be an assault on the First Amendment…”

      Details? Source? How exactly?

      “…and DiFi has already crafted – yet again – another assault on the Second.”

      Details? Source? What exactly?

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      • Don’t ask for facts man. That interferes with the fantasy they’re trying to inhabit. Clearly for this person Obama wording a climate agreement a certain way is the same thing as Trump coordinating with a hostile foreign government during and after his campaign for presidency. He’ll draw as many false equivalents as it takes to convince himself that Trump wasn’t a colossal mistake and in the meantime the rest of the country will remember what the Christian GOP stood for during the Reign of the Donald.

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        • I didn’t vote for Trump, but I am a conservative/evangelical/Republican, just so we’re clear.

          Hostile foreign government? Wasn’t it Obama that ridiculed Romney for making such a claim about the Russians just a few years back? Wasn’t it Obama who told Putin he’d have more “flexibility” after the election? Wasn’t Hillary going to hit the “reset” button? Why are the Dems so worried about the Russians? They’ve never showed much concern for them until Trump won. Certainly the Dems were ready to appease them at every turn during the Cold War.

          I would have thought Putin would have wanted Hillary to win, anyway. He’d have a far better chance of besting her and a party that generally lacks a spine when it comes to foreign policy.

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      • 1st Amendment: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1/text
        Still in draft stage, as the full text is not available, but we all know the target is Citizens United. ‘Cause, ya’ know, Congress SHALL NOT actually doesn’t mean it shall not. It means – because the words are “living” – they CAN regulate speech as they see fit when they find free speech inconvenient. They shall, therefore, take upon themselves the authority in one form or another to decide who says what, how often they say it and when they say it.

        As George Will asked back in 2011: “When will people eager to empower government to regulate speech about itself abandon the fiction that political money can be regulated without regulating political speech? Will their long losing streak in the Supreme Court ever convince them that the First Amendment requires debate about government without government’s regulatory intervention?”

        2nd Amendment: DiFi and friends gun ban: https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=EFC76859-879D-4038-97DD-C577212ED17B
        Pretty much the same old idiotic restrictions, which of course will fail since none of them do anything to address the problem. I guess DiFi and the rest of her gun-grabbing friends didn’t see the Miami Herald article that noted that the Parkland shooter used 10-round magazines, but apparently a couple of politicians in Oregon did since they’re working on a ban that limits magazine capacity to 5 rounds and only allow the purchase of 20 rounds of ammunition a month unless at a gun club. https://tdn.com/news/state-and-regional/oregon-proposal-would-require-gun-owners-to-obtain-permits/article_77b9f525-f04c-5b17-b7e8-31c1b974e438.html

        Give ’em an inch, they’ll take a mile.

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        • Since the text for HR1 is not available, it is presumptuous to speculate on its content. If it does address Citizens United, then it is an attempt to correct what some see as a bad opinion by the Supreme Court. If corporate money takes over an election and drowns the voice of the people, then that has troubling implications for democracy. Teddy Roosevelt, when he was president (a Republican), wrote,”All contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law,” Political office is not to be bought by corporate money. As for Senator Feinstein’s legislation, it sounds reasonable. Why does anyone need a weapon like an AR-15? The bill makes room for present owners. The bill would only forbid ownership of one specific weapon, not all weapons. Therefore, no one’s so-called 2nd Amendment “rights” are violated.

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          • One doesn’t have to be presumptuous to make a rather solid educated guess as to what the goal of the bill will be. It is all but certain to be recycled from the last few attempts at regulating speech by any group of folks who band together to speak to those that are meddling in their business – in this case literally. 🙂

            As for the gun ban, the fact that it sounds reasonable to you makes me question how much you know of the subject. Gun owners don’t trust people like you to regulate their (currently) existing freedom because so many of the regulations you apparently find “reasonable” are considered idiotic and senseless to most gun owners. Additionally, one party’s belief that another party does not “need” something is not a legitimate basis to strip away basic Constitutional liberties.

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    • I am pretty sure impeachment is not restricted to only a overwhelming threat to the republic. Just breaking a significant law, such as obstruction for instance, is enough I believe.

      As for yearbooks. Kavanaugh’s testimony was basically that he was a quiet person who was too busy while in high school to party and drink to the extent described by Dr. Ford. The facts revealed from that timeframe, such as his yearbook, and letters about parties showed he was not characterizing himself very accurately at all. That didn’t prove anything one way or the other. But the accusation was of something that happened in his high school years so why on earth wouldn’t his yearbook containing his own words about himself at that time be a good place to look? The Dems didn’t dig up Gorsuch’s yearbook that I am aware of. Because no one had made a specific accusation from that time.

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  2. Dr. Fea–I was wondering if you think Trump should be impeached or removed from office? I’m a huge fan of the impeachment option personally, given the pile of indictments and criminals and lies and disinformation and immorality boiling out of the current administration. But what do you think?

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    • Interview Question: “Is there anything President Trump could do that would endanger that support from you or other evangelical leaders?”

      Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University and prominent evangelical voice: “No.”

      In the spring of 1945, on the eve of the Russian push through Berlin from the west and with the allies amassed just to the east, adoring fans of the Fuhrer, who was hunkered in a bunker and on the verge of suicide, were still optimistic that he could do nothing to cause their support to waiver.

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    • John,
      We shall see. Thus far the liberal establishment has thrown everything they have at Trump and nothing has worked. I realize these potentates want to undo the results of the 2016 election, but they are going to need to get more creative if they want success in achieving their end.
      James

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  3. The Atlantic used to be a distinguished magazine. Sadly, they are melting down along with the rest of the establishment press. Yoni is smart enough to know that his charges do not rise to the Constitutional threshold for impeachment. Maybe The Atlantic released this issue as therapy for its liberal employees——a release mechanism of sorts.

    The liberal media seems to have an inflated view of its own morality. Didn’t Time Magazine recently declare journalists as the persons of the year? Now The Atlantic is attacking Trump for calling them the “enemy of the people” or words to that effect. Oh my goodness! These Manhattan and D.C. media folks need to work on overcoming their self-absorption and self-righteousness.

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    • The media is not a single entity. You have Fox, CNN for instance that seldom report the same occurrence the same way. There are further left and right outlets than those two.
      But the president is a single entity. And he is radically lowering the bar as far as the presidency itself goes. That has ramifications today and could make it easier for future presidents to do harm.
      Trump is the phony he has always been. The real culprits are his supporters and a Republican Party that has been disgusting in their failures to check him.

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      • Jeff,
        Please take another look at my posting. I used the term “establishment media” which is essentially the big corporate NYC and Washington-based organs. Throw in Reuter’s, UPI and the major wire services. We all know that the media is more diverse than those entities but the big guns in the establishment are essentially of one mind.
        Yoni Applebaum, editors at The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time, etc. will arguably need to double their visits to their therapists (or possibly their bartenders) if Trump wins a second term. Ha ha
        James

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        • Trump has often said via twitter that Fox News is number one. I don’t know if that is consistently true, but they are indeed very big. They blatantly are in Trump’s corner. So They are establishment too aren’t they?
          I am thankful that there are news media folks who don’t join Fox News in exclaiming the beauty of the emperor’s new clothes!

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          • Jeff,
            I don’t have the viewership numbers right in front of me, but anyone can find the ratings on a simple internet search. While Fox does dominate cable news, it represents but a small portion of total national news consumption.
            James

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      • Dear Unicorn,
        Are you not possibly mixing the story lines? The giant did use his sense of smell. No argument from me on that one. On the other hand, the mark is seen and not smelled. Revelation 13:11 “And I beheld another beast…..”. This beast’s Mark is described in verses 16. “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads”
        Giants can smell Englishmen, but St. John used his eyes to detect the mark.

        Like

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