I have a radical idea…
How about we let the public decide what is and isn’t in the “public interest”?
Alan Dershowitz, as Donald Trump’s personal impeachment lawyer, has adopted the “argument” that, if Donald Trump is acting in what HE thinks is “the public interest,” impeachment should be off the table.
No president has said anything so ridiculous since Richard Nixon told a reporter that, if a President does it, it’s not illegal.
When a president or any other politician claims their election is “in the public interest,” that is pure ego speaking. And yes, that would include Bernie Sanders. A lot of politicians have great ideas, but no one has an idea that is so incredible that the republic will fail if said idea isn’t implemented. (Well, except one; we have to vote en masse for Democrats this year, or we may end up kissing this grand experiment goodbye.)
I agree in principle that, if a president is actually acting in the best interests of the country when he technically violates a law, impeachment should be off the table. For example, I have been bombarded with right wingers’ conspiracy theories that are little more than “whataboutism” regarding Obama. They note that the GAO has issued a report noting that several agencies broke a rule or two during Obama’s tenure and suggest that he be tried and jailed for those. However, there are many differences. For one thing, Obama didn’t act unilaterally to break these rules. Second, at no time did Obama intend to personally benefit from these breaches. If there is one thing that has to be said about President Obama, it is that he always seemed to seek a consensus. He never arrogantly assumed he was right and went ahead with a policy without consulting anyone.
On the other hand, everything Trump does is based on a whim and he rarely consults anyone before doing anything. Look at the assassination of Suleimani of Iran, for example. He just ordered it done, without consultation with anyone in Congress, the co-equal branch of Congress. If he had, most experts would have told him it was a bad idea and not to do it. While Trumpers like to point out that Suleimani was a “terrorist,” it’s all based on a political bias. Like him or not, assassinating a member of another country’s government is frowned upon. It’s also illegal under international law that we have signed onto.
Sorry for wandering, but the main point is, we cannot trust any politician to decide for us what is in the “public interest.” This government is “of, by and for the people,” not “of, by and for the political establishment.” When we start allowing any politicians decide for us what is in our interest, that will open us up to the possibility of dictatorship. That’s especially true with Donald Trump in charge.
Let’s be perfectly clear here. Donald Trump broke the law. Either we’re a nation of laws or we’re not. There are American citizens sitting and rotting in prisons because they “had to” rob a bank or steal goods from stores because, from their perspective, they had to do so “for the family.” How can we leave them to rot in prison and let Donny off scot-free only because he thought he was acting in the public interest?
Such a concept is absurd, in any case. Since when, in 73 years pf pathetic life, has Donald Trump ever done a thing for anyone else? Even as “president,” Trump insists on trying to make a profit from the office of the presidency. As Adam Schiff said a few days ago, you cannot count on this (asshole) to do the right thing. (Emphasis mine, and he didn’t use that word, in any case. He’s classier than I am.)