The authors of the Washington Post article “Michael Hayden and Neal Katyal: The House should investigate impeaching Trump” are both retired generals, one wore four stars and the other wore a business suit. Michael V. Hayden, was a four star Air Force general. He was the director of the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005 and of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009. On April 21, 2005, then Lt. Gen Hayden, was confirmed by the Senate as the first Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence and awarded his fourth star-making him “the highest-ranking military intelligence officer in the armed forces” (Wikipedia)

Neal K. Katyal was acting U.S. solicitor general from 2010 to 2011. He also served in as an attorney in the Solicitor General’s office as Principal Deputy Solicitor General in the Justice Department. He has argued more Supreme Court cases than any other minority group lawyer in American history. In 2017, American Lawyer Magazine named Katyal its coveted Grand Prize Litigator of the Year for both the 2016 and 2017 years. (Wikipedia)

Put another way, one would be hard pressed to dispute the bona fides of these two generals from very different backgrounds to weigh in on the subject of whether Trump should be investigated to see if he committed the high crimes or misdemeanors which would lead to the House approving articles of impeachment.

The article was published after the special counsel’s office disputed the claims made in the BuzzFeed News article.

They begin noting that:

We have been exceptionally reluctant to call for the impeachment of President Trump. Impeachment runs the risk of undoing an election and dividing the nation. But there is a big difference between calling for impeachment and calling for an investigation into whether impeachment is appropriate.

They say that they decided to write this OpEd after reviewing the articles of impeachment for Richard Nixon which accused him of “approving, condoning . . . and counselling witnesses with respect to the giving of . . . false or misleading testimony in duly instituted judicial and congressional proceedings.” They also write that “separately, if evidence shows that the president has acted as an agent of a foreign power, impeachment would be a proper remedy.”

Let’s say that nothing alleged to have happened in the BuzzFeed article is true. Here’s what remain as the key reasons which justify a House investigation as summarized from what Hayden and Katyal elaborated on in their article:

  • The president and his advisers have tried already to block the government from investigating allegations that Trump ordered Cohen to lie to Congress.

  • They have criticized special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as engaged in a “witch hunt” and attacked Cohen as a  “rat”“ and a liar.

  • On the intelligence side, a host of revelations simply in the past few days should cause all Americans concern.

  • All the deceptions, denials and distractions by Trump, including shutting down the government based on a rather thin claim of national security.

The authors end with:

Impeachment skeptics say it will be impossible in this hyperpartisan age to convict a president, even a guilty one, due to the constitutional requirement that two-thirds of the Senate must agree. But that requirement is a feature, not a bug, of our system. Our founders, in their wisdom, gave us an impeachment process that permits the House to diligently investigate the questions surrounding an individual without the fear that the investigation alone, or a political frenzy, would be enough to convict a president.

We don’t think the questions are ultimately lawyerly ones, thus our joint authorship today. Instead, they involve simply asking one thing: Is Trump obeying his oath to support and defend the Constitution and take care that the laws be faithfully executed? The time has come for Congress to fulfill its constitutional duty and seek the answer.

Unfortunately BuzzFeed’s report and the Mueller team’s disputing it has muddied the waters on the impeachment question and led to Trump taking a victory lap. He has reacted as we’d expect him to, for example his tweets today:

  • Many people are saying that the Mainstream Media will have a very hard time restoring credibility because of the way they have treated me over the past 3 years (including the election lead-up), as highlighted by the disgraceful Buzzfeed story & the even more disgraceful coverage!
  • The Economy is one of the best in our history, with unemployment at a 50 year low, and the Stock Market ready to again break a record (set by us many times) – & all you heard yesterday, based on a phony story, was Impeachment. You want to see a Stock Market Crash, Impeach Trump!
  • just stated that there has been no president since Abraham Lincoln who has been treated worse or more unfairly by the media than your favorite President, me! At the same time there has been no president who has accomplished more in his first two years in office!

If the BuzzFeed article, and in fact the Steele dossier, eventually turn out to be in part true in significant ways Trump will have hung himself with his own words.

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