Let me see if I correctly understand one of the main impeachment arguments against President Trump:
By calling on Ukrainian government officials to conduct an official investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, President Trump supposedly committed an offense under U.S. campaign finance laws. That’s because an official investigation by a foreign regime against a political opponent can be considered a “benefit” to Trump’s political campaign, not only because it could cause Biden political difficulty but also because it could possibly turn up political dirt on Biden. Since U.S. campaign finance laws make it illegal for Trump to solicit a campaign contribution from a foreign regime, the argument goes, he has broken the law and should be removed from office because an official investigation and political dirt would constitute illegal contributions to his campaign.
That’s just plain stupid, for several reasons.
Let’s assume that the day before Biden announced that he was running for president, Trump called on Ukraine to investigate Biden for official corruption. Would that have been a crime under U.S. campaign finance law?
I don’t see how it could be. Since Biden wouldn’t be a political opponent of Trump, then how could such an investigation be considered an illegal campaign contribution?
Thus, under the law Trump could call for a foreign investigation of Biden during the days, weeks, and months before Biden announced for the presidency but would have to immediately cease and desist from doing so as soon as Biden announced his candidacy against him.
That’s stupid, especially because all other Americans who were not running against Biden could continue repeating Trump’s call for such an investigation. It would be only Trump and all other presidential opponents of Biden who would have to stop calling for such an investigation.
The First Amendment
It’s funny that no one in this controversy addresses a big elephant in this room: The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Everyone simply assumes that the campaign finance laws enacted by Congress are the supreme law of the land.
That’s just not true. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, the Constitution, including its amendments, is superior to legislation enacted by Congress. That means that if Congress’s campaign finance law violates the Constitution, it is null and void.
The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.”
It’s hard to get much clearer than that!
When Trump calls on the Ukraine government to investigate Biden, isn’t that a clear-cut case of speech? After all, Trump is speaking when he makes the request! The First Amendment says that Congress can make no law abridging the freedom of speech. If the campaign finance law really criminalizes Trump’s speech requesting Biden to be investigated, that’s not only stupid, it’s also unconstitutional.
Some amusement within the controversy
One of the most amusing aspects of this controversy arose in an editorial published yesterday in the Washington Post. Claiming that Trump’s new call that China investigate Biden as well, the Post writes:
Mr. Trump’s claim that Hunter Biden took “billions of dollars” out of China is even more ludicrous. Hunter Biden joined the advisory board of an investment fund with Chinese partners, but, his lawyer said, has earned no return or compensation.
Well, if Hunter Biden’s lawyer says his client is innocent, I guess that settles the matter, right? What more conclusive proof of innocence than a lawyer who says his client is innocent? Let’s just shut down all criminal investigations and just rely on what people’s lawyers say.
But that’s not the only amusing aspect of the Post‘s editorial. It also states:
If there were actual evidence of wrongdoing in these relationships, it should be investigated not by foreign authorities but by the Justice Department, which could properly ask other governments for cooperation, if any were needed.
In other words, if Biden really did engage in acts of political corruption in Ukraine and China, then, according to the Post, the Justice Department could exercise jurisdiction over such crimes.
Hey, why not? Doesn’t the U.S. Empire claim worldwide jurisdiction to invade and occupy any country in the world; kidnap, incarcerate, torture, and assassinate anyone in the world; and effect coups and regime-change operations anywhere in the world? Why shouldn’t it also assume jurisdiction over criminal offenses committed in foreign countries?
Another big elephant in the room
Unfortunately, in their blind and desperate attempt to oust Trump from office without an election, Trump critics ignore one overriding aspect of this entire controversy: If Vice-President Biden had not been interfering and meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, this controversy would never have arisen. For some reason, Trump critics can easily recognize the wrongfulness of interference and meddling by Russian officials in America’s political system but are blindly indifferent to interference and meddling by U.S. officials in the affairs of other countries.
Impeach but only for the right reasons
Let’s impeach Trump but only for the right reasons: waging illegal and unconstitutional wars that have killed and injured an untold number of people; or assassinating people; or inflicting cruel and unusual punishments on people; or indefinitely detaining people, torturing them, and depriving them of due process of law, trial by jury, speedy trial, and trial by jury.
In the minds of Trump critics, none of those things warrant impeachment and removal from office because, in their minds, there is nothing wrong with a president who commits such acts. That’s why they have never called for his impeachment for having committed these horrific and illegal acts.
In their minds, calling for a foreign regime to investigate a prominent American Democratic politician who has meddled and interfered in foreign countries and who is now running for president is the grave “crime” that warrants impeachment and removal from office.