A Case For Impeachment Has Nothing To Do With Us

Donald Trump is a vile racist xenophobic warmongering capitalist misogynist. He has displayed this in, not only words, but actions.
Over the years of his presidency, he’s “greatly abused his power” although one can argue they all do. As of late, however, the ghost of failed impeachment proceedings has risen up once again—- but could this time be different? 

There seems to be some confusion about what impeachment actually is. The mainstream media, for their own purposes, has done much to define impeachment as “removing someone from office”. An impeachment is a charge of misconduct made against the holder of a public office — a president or any other federal official. An equivalent to an indictment in criminal law, it does not remove the official from office.  

In the U.S. Constitution, Article II, section 4, it states: 

“The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

The House of Representatives impeaches. From there, the Senate holds a trial on those charges to decide whether the official should be removed and barred from holding federal office in the future. In the history of the US, The House has impeached 19 federal judges and 3 Presidents. Neither Andrew Jackson nor Bill Clinton were convicted and removed. Richard Nixon resigned. 

When we look at the history of impeachment inquiries, it has been without question for many liberals that Trump fits the bill and should go through the process. So what has taken so long? 

Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D- CA) has all but been a one woman army amplifying the necessity of a Trump impeachment since his first day in office. She’s stood as a steady proponent to his legitimacy as President and has argued furiously for his removal from office. However, this position was at odds with the majority of her party who moved under direction of the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). 

While many inside the party branded themselves “the resistance”, there were obvious disagreements on actually resisting. What Waters was (and still is) calling for is a complete removal from office, while Pelosi wanted to use “other alternatives” like subpoenas. At the time, many of the cowards democrats believed an impeachment inquiry would set a bad precedent in the future for Congress. After “The Mueller Report” ended up being the disappointment “the radical left” knew it would be, democrats seemingly went on with business as usual. That was until whispers of a “troubling” phone call between Trump and another country’s leader made its rounds.

The phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, brought to light by a “whistleblower” in the White House, has opened up a whole new can of worms, and with it a bunch of lies and deflection. Here’s the bottom line: Trump is lying about the nature of that phone call. He very well obviously intended to strongarm an investigation into Joe Biden/ Hunter Biden. Also, mainstream media (alongside congressional democrats) is lying about the extent of Joe and Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine. Joe Biden, did in fact, threaten to pull money out of Ukraine which stopped an investigation into his son’s business dealings. 

Months after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in 2014 and forced to flee to Russia, Hunter Biden accepted a position on the Burisma board just as a corruption investigation of the natural gas company began. It is not uncommon for family members of politicians to hold positions in overseas companies. In fact, it’s encouraged as a loose form of political alliance. It still remains unclear exactly what Hunter Biden’s job entailed, but he was paid as much as $50,000 per month. 

In February 2015, Viktor Shokin became Ukraine’s Prosecutor General. Shokin promised the West and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who held criticisms of Ukraine’s anti-corruption efforts, that a “clean-up was on the way”. So how does the conflict of Hunter Biden being mysteriously employed with a corporation under investigation for corruption and money laundering resolve itself? With his daddy, of course. 

In 2018, at a Council on Foreign Relations event, Joe Biden said,

“I got all the good [assignments]. And so I got Ukraine. And I remember going over, convincing our team, our leaders to — convincing that we should be providing for loan guarantees. And I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. And they didn’t…I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch — he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

Claiming that Shokin was ineffective in his anti- corruption investigation, the Obama administration, with full support of the West, set out to oust Shokin using the guaranteed  $1billion loan as leverage. And they did. The entire West (including the IMF) had a vested interest in removing Shokin. 

Very important to note that at the Council on Foreign Relations, Biden sat on a panel with Michael Carpenter. Carpenter is Biden’s former subordinate at the White House who pushed for the Maidan coup that ousted Yanukovych. Carpenter also has ties to neo- nazi speaker of Ukraine’s parliament, Andriy Parubiy.  Parubiy founded the Social National Party and the Patriot of Ukraine party. The Patriot of Ukraine party later branched off into the Azov Battalion, which can be traced all the way to Charlottesville and the death of Heather Heyer. 

Nonetheless, Pelosi has finally found some semblance of a backbone and decided that she could ignore the imprisonment of migrants, the selling of public lands, the rollbacks of worker protections but THIS, this was too far.  But as the Hampton Institute questioned, when the capitalist ruling class impeaches one of its own, what significance does it have on the working class? Should we care? 

First, let me address the possibility of a senate conviction—- there is none. Basic math tells us this. The Democrats simply do not have the Senate votes. A conviction and removal from presidency would require 67 votes. There are 53 republicans, 45 democrats and two independents (who are basically democrats). In order to remove Trump from office all 45 democrats, each independent and 20 republicans will need to vote against him. Yea… okay.

So while Trump can be impeached, he won’t be removed from office. Many understand this and still push for the process citing a “moral victory”. But who is this victory for?  We are witnessing just what Noam Chomsky noted in his analysis of Watergate in 1973,

“The political center was subjected to an attack with techniques that are usually reserved for those who depart from the norms of acceptable political belief. Powerful groups that normally share in setting public policy were excluded, irrespective of party, and the counterattack thus crosses party lines.”

Impeaching Trump for corruption because he called for an investigation into another politician’s corruption highlights the instability and contradictions that exist within the ruling class. What we are witnessing is the ruling class clamoring to retain some degree of legitimacy.  There shouldn’t be any illusions about how Trump’s base will react to this and how the democrats will fixate on this, avoiding dealing with real issues. Regardless of how this impeachment inquiry turns out, one thing made evident in this whole political fiasco is both the democrats and republicans are only concerned with [political] power and how they can make that power work in their benefit.

This impeachment inquiry has absolutely nothing to do with Black working class interests. As revolutionary socialists, instead of viewing this shit- show from the sidelines, we need to expose these contradictions of imperialist capitalism and build mass class consciousness within our communities. This requires organizing outside of the electoral process to make sure our needs are met without having to be dependent upon the US oligarchy electoral system.

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Erica Caines is a poet, writer and organizer in Baltimore and the DMV. She is an organizing committee member of the anti war coalition, the Black Alliance For Peace as well as an outreach member of the Black centered Ujima People’s Progress Party. Caines founded Liberation Through Reading in 2017 as a way to provide Black children with books that represent them and created the extension, a book club entitled Liberation Through Reading BC, to strengthen political education online and in our communities.