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Acquittal is a dangerous precedent

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Republicans are giddy over the U.S. Senate’s failure to convict President Donald Trump on impeachment charges. But that giddiness may not last long. Because our politicians have failed to convict the President on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, it is clear that in the future, our presidents will be able to do just about anything and get away with it. And that is not good for our democracy. We have legitimized bad behavior. Future presidents will be free to seek foreign help in undermining the integrity of our elections with impunity. They can seek to benefit themselves personally even if it harms our country. And they can clearly do so without fear of impeachment. That is true whether Trump wins again in 2020, or if one of the democratic candidates wins. If elected, Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders or Mayor Pete would be able to get away with just about anything. It is also clear following the Senate decision to acquit that our system of checks and balances is no longer all that balanced. So much for the notion of the three equal branches of government. Clearly the President has more powers than the Congress or the courts. This is a dangerous time for our democracy, made even more dangerous by our politicians’ willingness to look the other way for purely partisan reasons when our highest executive misbehaves. But I guess we’re going to have to get used to it.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

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    Steve

    February 8, 2020 at 9:28 am

    To say future presidents will get away with ‘almost anything’ is a little over the top, don’t you think?

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    Joe

    February 8, 2020 at 10:00 am

    Clearly Mr. Shaw you have a one sided view of the situation. There are many who know that the President did nothing wrong, just as surely as you know he did something wrong. I would ask that you deeply consider what you have said and remember that in prior cases this was not how the impeachment proceedings ended. This case does not set a precedent for the President to be able to do just about anything and get away with it. That is not how things work. I would hope that next time impeachment proceedings are brought up there is factual evidence of a crime commited. Until then an acquittal is the correct action.

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