The Case for Impeachment, by Allan J. Lichtman

Eight stars

To simply peruse bookshop shelves and lists on Goodreads, one can assert that much has been written about Donald J. Trump since he announced his candidacy for President of the United States (POTUS). The number of publications since he ascended to the White House is likely exponentially larger than any other POTUS during the same short time in office. Within both those groups of books, there sits a sub-group of books about Trump’s impeachment, citing various sources and reasons. It’s not yet been two years since he has been in office—at the time of this review—and I baffle myself that I need not rely on #fakebookstats to make this assertion! Enter, Allan J. Lichtman, a distinguished professor at American University, who predicted Trump’s victory months before it took place. He also asserts that, using his own formulaic means of picking a winner, he has not been wrong over the past eight presidential elections. Not as well-published was his prediction that Trump would be impeached even before he lay his hand on a Bible before *reader, please choose your preference of the true/fake number* Americans watched in person on that January day. Publishing this piece months into the Trump presidency, Lichtman offers up a convincing case about why Trump should and will be impeached by Congress for deeds he undertook. Lichtman explores the historical use of impeachment for the curious reader, particularly on three sitting presidents. He uses the examples of Andrew Johnson—who was saved from having his impeachment upheld in the Senate by a singe vote—and Richard Nixon when discussing the role Congress played in investigating both men and how Trump’s actions paralleled those of his Oval Office brethren. Effectively laying out some of the changes brought against the Johnson and Nixon, Lichtman explains how they could be used against Trump, replacing the arguments with modern examples. From treasonous activities to collusion, through to crimes against humanity and abuse of presidential power, Lichtman reveals how Trump the man entered into the fray with so much baggage that Congress has much that can be used to bring forth Articles of Impeachment that can receive bipartisan support. While all this may be damaging, Lichtman also brings up an argument that I have not heard previously about the timing of acts and how they play a role in presidential impeachment. He effectively shows how acts that took place before Trump ascended to POTUS can and should be used to fuel an impeachment, citing examples of a recently removed federal judge. If this is the case, there are new and interesting angles to be discussed when it comes to the topic. As I mentioned before—something else that will stoke the fires—this book came out in April 2017, with only a few months of Trump presidential fodder and yet makes strong and convincing arguments for egregious acts that include treason and collusion with the Russians. No Mueller, no white supremacy, and no mass exodus of Cabinet officials (save Michael Flynn). These arguments are based on pre-White House acts that should not be ignored as partisan rhetoric. Worry not, Trump fans (or undecideds), as Lichtman offers some clear and foolproof ways of steering clear of impeachment, which will require only the same sacrifices as others who became president. As of now, it seems Trump has steered clear of any and all recommendations, sullying the office in new ways each day!u An interesting and eye-opening read for those who want to explore the topic a little more, particular by a man Trump praised for predicting his victory in November 2016.

I admit that I have been on a binge when it comes to American politics of late, exploring some of the more controversial aspects of Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign. I have also long had an interest in impeachment and read about the topic when I can. To see an academic of such high regard lay out the systematic reasons for Trump’s impeachment, I cannot help but perk up and listen. Many can say this journalist or that lawyer is biased and has no right to make such sweeping comments, but I have come to wonder if so many recognised people in their fields are making varied, yet similar, arguments, can we all be blinded and singing out of the same fake hymn book? With a man who makes double-speak an Olympic event, can the citizenry of the world sit around and make assertions that they are being duped by all but Fox and Friends? Lichtman offers the reader sound evidence, weaving together both recently happenings and those in history to assert that Trump has been acting in ways that Congress could and should push for impeachment. We have all heard the rigging of elections and the handing over information to the Russians, which are strong arguments, but Lichtman also introduces ideas about crimes against humanity. These parallel some of the ideas used by Congress to push for Nixon’s impeachment, though the rationale is vastly different now. The reader should go into the book with an open mind and allow themselves to be pushed in one direction or another. I did and find a lot of it quite revealing and convincing, without feeling a degree of inculcation. While the topic is quite academic and, at times, esoteric, Lichtman writes in such a way that the layperson is not lost when trying to follow the arguments. Headers and simple background for each topic guides the reader effectively. However, this topic requires some balanced approach, which is why I will next turn to a leading legal scholar who offers the opposing view, before making my final opinion. It seems the only fair thing to do, under the circumstances and is better than trying to shut out the opposition and call them fake!

Kudos, Mr. Lichtman, for opening my eyes up to new and revealing reasons that the US Congress should open impeachment proceedings soon. You make some convincing arguments for the case and I wonder, Mike Pence in the wings aside, if there are effective reasons not to proceed. Let me have a look now!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: