Reviewed 2/15/2018

The Case for Impeachment, by Allan J. Lichtman

Allan J. Lichtman
New York: Dey Street, 2017




ISBN-13 978-0-06-269682-3
ISBN-10 0-06-269682-3 290pp. HC $24.99

Is there evidence to impeach Trump?

"We support your efforts to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the United States and the world today. Please don't postpone the earth (sic). If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet . . . Investing in a Clean Energy Economy will drive state-of-the-art technologies that will spur economic growth, create new energy jobs, and increase our energy security, all the while reducing the harmful emissions that are putting our planet at risk."

The above is an excerpt from a letter sent to President Obama on 6 December 2009, just before the COP15 climate summit in Copenhagen began. It was signed by a coalition of business leaders. Among those leaders were: Donald J. Trump, Chairman and President; Donald J. Trump, Jr., EVP; Eric F. Trump, EVP; Ivanka M. Trump, EVP, the Trump Organization.

In more recent years, as we know, Donald Trump has called climate change a Chinese hoax, has questioned the scientific basis for it, has withdrawn from the Paris Accords (making the U.S. the only nation to do so); and has appointed cabinet members dedicated to rolling back all federal government efforts to address it (for example by promoting the use of coal, oil, and natural gas while cutting funds for renewable energy.)

This is the most consequential misprision perpetrated by Donald Trump during his occupancy of the Oval Office — but it is far from the only one. Trump has:

Allan Lichtman, Distinguished Professor of History at American University in Washington, DC, has compiled in this book a detailed record of Donald Trump's misbehavior in several areas. Among these areas are: disregard for Constitutional provisions such as the right of free speech and the separation of church and state; refusal to avoid conflict-of-interest issues by divesting his business operations; and a basic inability to develop consistent policies. There is in addition the possibility of his collusion with the Russians, which remains unproven but seems to irritate him immensely whenever it is mentioned in Congress or the media.

Professor Lichtman also gives us historical background on the two previous impeachments, of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, neither of which brought a guilty verdict in the Senate, and of Richard Nixon, who would have been impeached but avoided this by resigning. He closes his extensive listing of Trump's faults with an open letter in which he lays out solid recommendations Trump could use to stave off the risk of impeachment.1 Finally, he surveys the merits of impeaching Trump in the event his misconduct rises to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors" the Constitution sets forth as the minimum criteria for beginning the process.

The book is extensively researched and well-written. Its main defect is that it lacks an index. Despite this, I give it full marks and consider it a keeper.

1 My personal opinion is that Trump will ignore this advice.
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This page was last modified on 15 February 2018.