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TimesofIndia

Trump boycotts impeachment process, opening wide chasm between executive and legislature

WASHINGTON: A full-blown constitutional crisis and a continental chasm of the kind not seen in more than a century is upon the United States.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday virtually disenfranchised the Democrat-majority House of Representatives, saying he would not submit to its impeachment process and calling it a “kangaroo court” that was on a witch-hunt to oust him for what he believes is perfectly normal transactions with Ukraine.
Democrats, on their part, are moving ahead with the impeachment inquiry believing he betrayed national interests, buoyed by polls showing upwards of 50 per cent voters support the move to hold the President accountable.
In an unprecedented scenario, House leaders are considering deposing in secret a whistleblower who says Trump may have compromised national security, including masking his identity and taking him to a secure location to hear his testimony because his life may be under threat.
In several angry tweets on Wednesday, Trump raged against the unnamed second whistleblower, suggesting on the basis of unsubstantiated charges from his minions that he was a Democratic stooge. He had earlier argued the first whistleblower was a spy who would have been treated differently in an earlier time, a remark some saw as a threat to have him executed for treason.
The whistleblower has reportedly said Trump’s phone call to the Ukrainian President was “crazy, frightening, and completely lacking in substance-related to national security,” as he (the President) sought to pressure Kiev into probing the financial affairs of Joe Biden (his prospective rival in the 2020 Presidential elections) and his son Hunter (who has ties to energy company in Ukraine), while suggesting Washington could withhold aid if it did not.
“The Whistleblower’s facts have been so incorrect about my “no pressure” conversation with the Ukrainian President, and now the conflict of interest and involvement with a Democrat Candidate, that he or she should be exposed and questioned properly. This is no Whistleblower…The Whistleblower’s lawyer is a big Democrat. The Whistleblower has ties to one of my DEMOCRAT OPPONENTS,” Trump alleged.

“A Total Scam by the Do Nothing Democrats. For the good of the Country, this Wirch Hunt should end now!” Trump raged on Twitter, adding, “The Do Nothing Democrats are Con Artists, only looking to hurt the Republican Party and President. Their total focus is 2020, nothing more, and nothing less. The good news is that WE WILL WIN!!”

The President’s angry tweets followed a White House letter to House Democratic leaders saying neither he nor the executive branch would willingly provide testimony or documents relating to the impeachment inquiry because it was bogus witchhunt with improper processes. The White House has directed various government officials not to appear before the Democrat-led committees, setting up an unprecedented clash between the legislature and the executive.
House Democrats on their part are saying the President’s failure to comply with their demands for information could form the basis for its own article of impeachment, even as they have taken the subpoena route to compel officials to testify. The matter is likely to end up in the US Supreme Court, which currently has a conservative majority on the basis of two recent Trump appointees.
“The White House should be warned that continued efforts to hide the truth of the president’s abuse of power from the American people will be regarded as further evidence of obstruction,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “Mr President, you are not above the law. You will be held accountable.”
As Democrats closed ranks to impeach the President, Trump minions exploded on television, with one of his advisors calling the whistleblower “suicide bombers that the Democrats have unleashed on the democratic process.”
“What you’re seeing is regicide,” Joseph diGenova, a frequent Trump defender told Fox News. “This is regicide by another name, fake impeachment. The Democrats in the House want to destroy the president.”
Regicide is the act of killing a king, and while the US remains a constitutional republic, Trump and his acolytes have embraced the idea of an imperial presidency where the executive has complete and total power.
The clash not only pits Democrats against Republicans, most of whom are standing with the President, but also sets up Middle America, where Trump and the Republicans draw their electoral strength, against the coastal states, which are Democratic bastions.

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