Op-Ed: Narrow Impeachment Focus Shows Problem Is Not Just Trump
by Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action-L.A.
The impeachment inquiry in the augmented House Intelligence Committee has focused its attention exclusively on Trump’s attempt to coerce or convince the Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his family, in particular by holding up military aid Congress had authorized. It may be that there will a broader focus once the panel submits its report to the House Judiciary Committee, which would draw up Articles of Impeachment (and could possibly hold hearings of its own before or after that). But the Democrats seem to have put all their eggs in the Ukraine basket, possibly as a way of reminding people that Trump’s actions and rhetoric have sometimes been favorable to Russia, on whom they blame his presidency.
In so doing, they are ignoring all the other crimes, high and low, committed by Trump, including the ones related to obstruction of justice spelled out in the Mueller Report. But the Trump administration’s role in fomenting a bloody coup in Bolivia, and attempting to foment coups in Venezuela and Nicaragua, go unmentioned. Trump’s racist attacks on Mexicans, Muslims, migrants and Black people apparently do not rise in the Dems’ eyes, to violating his oath of office. Trump’s use of his presidency to benefit his hotels, resorts and other holdings, a clear violation of the emoluments clauses in the constitution, are unmentioned. His proclamation that the Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory are not illegal, or that Syrian territory can and should be annexed by Israel, is uncontested by Congress. Trump’s unremitting attacks on elected and appointed female officials, which betray his abusive approach to women in general, including his stacking of the courts with white nationalist and patriarchal judges, is unremarked.
His use of both intimidation and the pardon power to try to influence witnesses, as well as pardons to release military personnel convicted or accused of war crimes, do not rate an Article of Impeachment, nor does his sending troops to “protect” Syria’s oil deposits (a protection racket without precedent, and certainly without authorization by Syria). While claiming to denounce the FBI and CIA as part of the “Deep State” that is attacking him without cause, Trump’s CIA and FBI are in fact operating domestically and internationally to quash dissent and opposition to empire, and promote strategies of counter-insurgency where they are in control, and insurgencies where left or indigenous forces have come to power democratically. Trump’s ecocidal energy and environmental policies are apparently not a fit subject for impeachment.
So why is none of this being taken up by the hearings? Worse yet, why is so little of it being mentioned by the media Trump reviles? Not even Pacifica, which has been carrying the hearings, spends much time or effort interviewing experts on Latin America, Africa, or Asia, on immigration or policing, on military affairs from a left perspective, about what’s missing from the impeachment hearings. Johnny Angel on KPFK mainly echoes the Democrats’ talking points when he is not carrying on DJ style about his own personality and concerns. Why isn’t Pacifica’s mission driving it to expose all the crimes, and to cover the real resistance to them?
Perhaps it is because the corporate-dominated Democratic Party and those who carry its water have no argument with such uses of imperial power by an imperial president. They have no desire to use the impeachment hearings as a telling civics lesson about the corrupt, patriarchal, racist, oppressive and criminal nature of the entire US political system, ‘intelligence’ operations, or military machine. They have no intention of exposing or opposing the financial and other corporate interests that really have the power to dictate how, where and when those political, intelligence and military assets are deployed. Perhaps it’s because the Dems are singing the same tune as Trump, merely in a different key, and dancing to the same piper and paymaster.