On Saturday night, President Trump tweeted he had a big announcement, and it was coming soon. The President reportedly had spent the day playing golf with his pal and political defender, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).
Reporters waited with anticipation, perhaps some with glee, figuring Trump after a disastrous week had seen the handwriting on the wall, and like Congresswoman Katie Hill (D-California) would announce his resignation.
That would have been big news on a traditionally slow news day. However, the topic of resignation was not on Trump’s mind, at least not last Saturday. He had given orders to take out Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a terrorist much sought after by the Americans. By the time of Trump’s tweet, American special forces had demolished al-Baghdadi’s compound, chasing him into a tunnel without an escape route, where al-Baghdadi reportedly “crying like a coward,” blew himself up.
Trump, a master of reality television, waited until the Sunday morning news shows were beginning their analysis of the impending impeachment of an American President for only the third time in history.
He commanded the day with talk of the demise of al-Baghdadi.
Later in the evening, Trump tested the waters to see if he had successfully restored his presidency with the killing of al-Baghdadi by attending the fifth game of the 2019 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals. His media coup de tat was short-lived.
The Nationals’ fans booed him and chanted “Lock him up” on prime-time television. Fans have booed Presidents before but never had a stadium full of citizens urge authorities to lock up the President of the United States.
It was a sobering omen of what was to come on Monday.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wasted no time in getting the week started where she and House Democrats left it on Friday before Trump’s raid on al-Baghdadi’s hideout.
Pelosi announced on Monday, that this week the House would vote on procedural guidelines for impeachment hearings designed “to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives.”
In a letter to members of Congress, Pelosi stated:
“This resolution establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel.”
Pelosi’s maneuver makes it clear, that while the world is a safer place without the menace of al-Baghdadi, like al-Baghdadi, the American President is not above the law.
And that perfect telephone call Trump said he had with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zenlensky, is about to be adjudicated, quid pro quo and all, before the United States House of Representatives.
Harold Michael Harvey is the author of Freaknik Lawyer: A Memoir on the Craft of Resistance. He is a Past President of the Gate City Bar Association. He is the recipient of Gate City’s R. E. Thomas Civil Rights Award, which he received for his pro bono representation of Black college students arrested during Freaknik celebrations in the mid to late 1990s. An avid public speaker, contact him at email@example.com.