….by Laurence H. Tribe @ Newsweek…
After just one week of public impeachment hearings, Donald Trump has unmistakably emerged as America’s anti-president, the very model of the charlatan George Washington warned might be overtaken by “the insidious wiles of foreign influence.”
We have learned that Trump is so obsessed with the legitimacy of his 2016 election—and so terrified of becoming a private citizen (subject to indictment and imprisonment) after the 2020 election—that he embraces a conspiratorial myth of Ukrainian responsibility for Russian lawlessness hatched by an oligarch in Vladimir Putin’s orbit. We have heard an official’s first-hand account of a president so beholden to Putin that he blithely dismisses Russia’s aggression as not “big stuff” compared with a public announcement by Ukraine’s new president to the effect that, contrary to fact, its government is investigating (nonexistent) corruption by Trump’s political rival.
We have heard direct evidence of a president utterly indifferent to Ukraine’s survival and to the lives of its patriotic defenders. We have seen a president wholly unconcerned with the danger to our national security of strengthening Russia’s hand in any negotiations with Ukraine, disinterested in the threat to global stability of positioning America as an unreliable ally and brazenly willing to usurp Congress’ authority for over five months to direct the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to Ukraine’s defense.
We have witnessed a president who imagines he can deny all guilt simply because, caught red-handed, he finally released the appropriated funds, many months after promising to do so and well after doing irreparable harm in the interim. And we have watched a president blatantly engage in witness intimidation through his Twitter feed on live television during the testimony of one of the career diplomats who had the courage to resist his lawless demand that everyone in the government he heads defy Congress’ impeachment proceedings.
Anyone who genuinely wondered as recently as this spring what impeachable offenses this imposter of a president has committed must now wonder instead which of his multitude of impeachable offenses to highlight and how best to label them.
There will be time, once the House Intelligence Committee concludes its public hearings and transmits its report to the Judiciary Committee, to determine how best to wrap the indisputable abuses of power, betrayals of the nation and corruption of the presidential office into appropriately labeled articles of impeachment. What must not get lost in the process of categorizing and naming this man’s grotesque betrayals of his oath, however, is how shamelessly he has exposed himself as not merely “unpresidential”—the moniker he has proudly embraced more than once—but as anti-presidential.
More than unpresidential, Trump represents the perfect exemplar of what Alexander Hamilton darkly envisioned when he described the danger that a demagogue might one day assume the presidency and require removal through the awesome power of impeachment. Such a demagogue, Hamilton prophesied, would be “a man unprincipled in private life[,] desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper…despotic in his ordinary demeanour.”….