Because we are living in the bizarre hell that is 2017, discussing whether or not the tweets from the President of the United States are impeachable is a real topic of conversation. So, for my liberal snowflake comrades, I have done the dirty work of combing through Trump’s Twitter and pulling out some of his impeachable tweets. I thought this was going to be a lot easier to do, but it turns out it’s exhaustingly time consuming. I certainly thought I’d get through more than two Twitter rants — but I just don’t have enough Xanax. So here is part one of a series of impeachable actions Trump has done, starting with just a handful of his tweets. You’re welcome, and I accept boxes of wine should you wish to express your gratitude.
What is an impeachable offense?
The Constitution says that the President can be impeached for “treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.” But what does that really mean in the context of tweeting? Put very simply, “high crimes and misdemeanors” refers to any action taken by a public official that abuses their power in some capacity. This could include something like, I don’t know, using your name to make money while you’re in office (don’t worry, this is just part one. We’ll cover it all!). This also means that, while “normal” crimes could be impeachable offenses, actions that an average person would be able to do without a problem could be grounds for impeachment. When it was ordinary businessman Donald Trump tweeting crazy thoughts, that’s fine. No one cares. When it is POTUS Donald Trump tweeting crazy thoughts, it’s a problem because as President his tweets have more value. And yes, our founding fathers are spinning in their graves over this.
With that explained, let’s dive straight into hell.
The tweets (there are so many):
WTF was going on:
Thanks to an article published on the ever credible website Breitbart, Trump decided that Obama had his “wires tapped.”
Obamagate is easily the most egregious and most talked about example of Trump’s impeachable Twitter crimes. I believe this is the most cut and dry of the Twitter offenses. First, Trump is accusing Obama of illegally wiretapping him while Obama was still in office — something that, if true, would have been impeachable behavior. Second, this isn’t your crazy uncle rampaging on Twitter (because, come on, if Trump is your uncle, there is no way you’re reading this). As Noah Feldman pointed out on Slate’s Trumpcast: Trump has the power to punish people, and threatening to prosecute people without evidence “is certainly an abuse of power.” Keeping this in mind, you can understand how it’s easy to view the Obamagate tweets as threats to the former president (remember that, because it’s going to be a pretty critical point — both for the rest of the article, and presumably for the remainder of Trump’s presidency).
There’s something very unsettling about the current President publicly accusing a prior president of an action that is both illegal and impeachable. Do you know what kind of rulers jail their political opponents? The kind of rulers that don’t really care for democracy.
When was the last time you heard Donald Trump say “lock her up”? A direct call to imprison his opponent while he’s the sitting President would be horrifying. I think that someone in the White House must understand this, and that’s why the issue has been dropped. But just because Trump isn’t directly saying “lock him up,” the fact that he is the POTUS means he could indeed lock him up. I do not expect anyone currently working around Trump to understand nuance, nor do I expect Trump to get it if it’s explained to him.
But wait! Haven’t we learned that there was indeed a FISA warrant in Trump Tower? Isn’t Trump right? Yes and no, in that order. Trump’s tweet accuses Obama himself of wire tapping him — and that would be highly illegal. While the FBI did indeed issue a FISA warrant for Trump adviser Carter Page, only a petulant child who hasn’t even passed eight grade civics would angrily equate this to “Obama wire tapped Trump.” It’s incredibly difficult to obtain a FISA, and it is not taken lightly — meaning that a FISA wouldn’t be signed off on just so Obama could spy on Donald Trump. On the plus side for the rest of us, Trump’s tweet declassified the FISA warrant, and allowed reporters to send FOIA requests on the investigation into the Trump campaign. Good move!
WTF was going on:
These tweets were in response to a judge putting a hold on Trump’s Muslim ban EO.
Just like Obamagate, this is an example of Trump using his position to threaten another public official. This is a direct threat to a member of the judiciary system in America — and to judicial process. Personally, I find this to be worse than Obamagate. This is POTUS bullying and trying to intimidate a federal judge for disagreeing with him; this is a direct threat to democracy.
Trump wasn’t the only one threatening the “so-called judge” — security had to be beefed up for some of the judges who were involved in the EO disasters. Remember when Trump incited violence at his campaign rallies? Just this month, a judge determined that the protesters who were attacked can proceed with a lawsuit against Trump and his campaign. To impeach someone for actions taken before they became POTUS would be unheard of — but this parallels the not so veiled threats toward judges who don’t allow Trump to do whatever he wants. We should all be closely following what happens in this lawsuit, because it seems like Trump will continue to insult whoever he wants, with no regard for the impact of his power as POTUS to both legally and socially harm someone else.
Next week: More tweets? Russia? Who knows what I’ll choose!