When we as a society “move on” we leave loose ends. I have been thinking about how and when Trump will leave office. I am assuming that he will eventually leave due to his unconstitutional actions. Not being a lawyer, this may just be my fantasy. (More)
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In 1974 President Ford pardoned former President Nixon. You can read the whole pardon here:
It is believed that a trial of Richard Nixon, if it became necessary, could not fairly begin until a year or more has elapsed. In the meantime, the tranquility to which this nation has been restored by the events of recent weeks could be irreparably lost by the prospects of bringing to trial a former President of the United States. The prospects of such trial will cause prolonged and divisive debate over the propriety of exposing to further punishment and degradation a man who has already paid the unprecedented penalty of relinquishing the highest elective office of the United States.
Perhaps Ford was wise in tying up the loose ends and urging the country to move forward. At the time I was angry and thought that Ford was putting Nixon somehow above the law. I wondered if it would set a precedent for future presidents escaping legal judgement. Then along came George W. Bush. There was lots of speculation that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld might be charged with war crimes for the Iraq war. Given the economic recession, President Obama and Speaker Pelosi took that off the table. Here is Pelosi from a 2008 interview:
Well, I think that it – I think it was important, when I became Speaker – and it’s, by the way, a very important position – President, Vice President, Speaker of the House – I saw it as my responsibility to try to bring a much divided country together to the extent that we could. I thought that impeachment would be divisive for the country.
You may remember that Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced a bill to begin impeachment procedings against President George W. Bush.
Oddly enough, an Iraqi woman is still pursuing Bush for a war crime. Saleh v Bush had oral arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec. 12, 2016.
As a citizen, I think all this moving on and leaving loose ends isn’t a good thing for the rule of law. I can just picture Trump happily (or angrily as the case may be) ensconced in the Oval Office knowing that the GOP won’t follow up on his corrupt business dealings while in office and that the Democrats probably wouldn’t either if they had control. If the concern is it might divide the country, I have to wonder how it could get any more divided.
I for one don’t think all this moving on is a good idea.
Credit: Adobe Stock Images. Standard License.