Commentary: Impeachment hearings should broaden scope

Congressional Democrats should not keep the scope of the Trump impeachment hearings limited to just his misdeeds around his attempts to extort Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 American presidential election. While this should be the first subject examined and voted on, there are other important subjects that need to be included that go to the very heart of the American political system and historical traditions.

It is easy to understand why congressional Democrats want to keep this quick and simple for political reasons. However, protecting our American democratic system requires more and that should override the short-term political considerations.

Of course, these impeachment hearings can be done in stages. Each subject addressed can be voted on separately and sent to the Senate for trial separately. This approach can let both the House and Senate act on other important issues during the impeachment process such as funding the federal government.

Stephen Scott Crockett

It is important to note that the House has been passing many bills but almost none are getting votes in the Senate because of Senate Majority Leader McConnell. Since very little work is getting done in the Senate, they have time for multiple impeachment trials. McConnell has made statements that seem to imply that he will seek to make each trial very brief anyway.

There can be brief pauses between each subject by both the House and Senate to vote on legislation. Combining all the subjects might make that difficult.

The emolument provision of the U.S. Constitution needs to addressed by Congress in these impeachment hearings. Federal courts seem to be avoiding the issue intentionally by refusing legal standing to most litigants suing Trump. And more importantly, those lawsuits are civil actions not criminal ones. They are just not as weighty in terms of setting formal governmental policy. They will not enforce the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. Constitution needs to be enforced when it comes to accepting money or other things of value including foreign government actions that only advance the personal political needs of the president from foreign governments. Our nation needs to be protected from officeholders from presidents violating the Emoluments Clause to advance their personal financial interests as well as their personal political needs. Personal political needs and personal financial interests of any President can never be permitted to come before our national interests, our national security or the foreign policy of the United States of America.

The only enforcement mechanism provided by the U.S. Constitution against violations of the Emolument Clause of the U.S. Constitution is impeachment.

It is vital to protecting our federal government from the influence of foreign government and other potentially corrupting business practices for impeachment hearing to cover Trump’s emolument problems. Trump refuses to correct his behavior. He essentially just seems to ignore the U.S. Constitution whenever it restricts his money-making activities.

We cannot let this become a constitutional precedent by future presidents.

Another subject that possibly needs addressed are his White House’s numerous legal claims that Congress cannot provide oversight to the executive branch of the federal government. They are extreme. They go against the entire check and balances system designed by the Founding Fathers in the U.S. Constitution.

It is vital to preserve constitutional protections against any one branch of government becoming supreme over the other two. The greatest danger comes when that branch is the executive branch.

Our Founding Fathers understood that when the Constitution was written. This issue was at the core of the American Revolution. It is at the very core of the American nation and our system of government.

In our system of government, we cannot have an all-powerful executive. We decided that issue with the American Revolution. The genius of the Constitution is that the power of each branch of our governments checks the power of the other two to preserve our individual American freedoms.

If these extreme Trump White House legal claims go unchecked, our American democracy will not survive.

Stephen Scott Crockett is a former talk radio host and founder of Democratic Talk Radio, former Delaware and Maryland State Senate staffer, political activist and small business owner. He lives in Fayetteville, Tennessee.

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