Are Impeachable Offenses Prosecutable?
Donald Trump remains the only president ever to be impeached twice, but the fact remains, he committed so many crimes he could easily have been impeached several more times.
The Constitution says a president can only be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” His impeachments had nothing to do with his popularity (or lack thereof) or being incompetent, obnoxious, racist, or ignorant.
The same crimes that justified his impeachment also justify his prosecution. Therefore, it is necessary to enumerate the crimes he committed. Here are 10 of Donald Trump's offenses that provide a reasonable basis for prosecution—they include specific instances of unconstitutional actions, violations of campaign finance laws, personal ethics violations, obstruction of justice, and more.
1. Used the Presidency for Personal Gain
Donald Trump repeatedly violated the U.S. Constitution by using the presidency for his own personal gain. He made millions of dollars by using his golf resort in Florida as a southern White House. He profited when he urged Vice President Pence to stay at his resort in Ireland (which was far from where Pence was meeting the Irish Prime Minister) at a much higher cost than other, much closer places to stay.
Trump and his family made millions of dollars when foreign officials stayed at Trump hotels and when foreign governments approved Trump projects or grant trademarks for Trump products. Trump and his family profited tremendously from the actions he took as president. This is a glaring violation of the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause.
Trump used his high office to reward his friends and punish his opponents. During the COVID-19 crisis, Trump admitted that he rewarded state governors who are adequately "appreciative" of him. He clearly punished state Governors like Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan by withholding badly needed assistance to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
2. Countless Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Violations
Unlike every other president before him, Donald Trump refused to divest from his business interests when he became president. As a result, Trump knew exactly how his actions as president had a direct impact on his personal wealth and his financial investments.
He profited from the tax cuts he enacted and likely made several million dollars (which could explain why he is the first president in over 50 years to refuse to release his tax returns). He has even gone to court to prevent the release of his tax returns.
Walter Shaub Jr., the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, tried to get President Trump to divest from his business interests to avoid such conflicts, but Trump refused. Shaub saw so many ethics violations and conflicts of interest that he ultimately resigned in protest.
3. Encouraged Foreign Country to Interfere in U.S. Election
At a time when Trump and his campaign officials already knew Russia was interfering in the U.S. election, Trump publicly urged Russia to interfere even more, which they did. Many high-ranking people in Trump’s campaign were contacted by Russians with offers of help in the 2016 election and they did not turn down those offers.
Although the Mueller investigation did not conclude that Trump conspired with Russia, they did conclude that Trump’s campaign, as well as Trump himself, knew about and encouraged Russian interference.
4. Lied About Business Dealings With Russia
While running for president in 2016, Trump repeatedly claimed to have "no involvement" with Russia, but he was, in fact, negotiating with the Russian government and Russian business interests about developing a Trump Tower in Moscow at that very time.
Lying to the voters is not strictly an impeachable offense, but Trump blatantly lied about his business ties to Russia because he knew it was an incredible conflict of interest for a potential U.S. president to have major business dealings with a frequent competitor and potential adversary of the United States.
5. Attempted to Obstruct Justice Multiple Times (Mueller Report)
The Mueller report cites many examples of Trump repeatedly trying to fire the people investigating him, discouraging witnesses from cooperating with the investigation, falsifying information about the Trump Tower meeting, asking people to lie, and dangling pardons for people who refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Many of these acts of obstruction were done publicly on Trump's Twitter account. For more information about Trump's obstruction of justice, see the Mueller Report, Volume II, pages 1–8.
The conclusions from the Mueller Report were also confirmed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which, it's important to point out, was chaired by Republicans.
6. Violated Campaign Finance Laws
During the 2016 campaign, Trump had his lawyer make illegal hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels to cover up their sexual relationship, then Trump and his lawyer lied about it. This is a blatant violation of campaign finance laws.
During the 2020 campaign, Trump repeatedly violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits the use of the White House for strictly political purposes.
7. Urged a Foreign Leader to Smear Joe Biden
While Trump withheld aid from the country of Ukraine, he spoke by phone with the Ukraine president. He told the president that the United States has been very generous to Ukraine, but that Ukraine had not “reciprocated.”
When the Ukraine president said they needed more Javelin missiles, Trump replied, “I need you to do me a favor though,” and then asked the Ukraine president to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to investigate Joe Biden. Trump implied that this was a condition to be met if the Javelin missiles were to be sold to Ukraine.
By asking a foreign leader to help smear his political opponent for strictly political reasons, Trump was abusing his presidential powers. This is another glaring violation of the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause.
8. Millions in Inauguration Funds Remain Unaccounted For
Trump’s campaign is still under investigation for fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy against the United States because of the millions of dollars donated for his inauguration that just “disappeared.”
$106 million was raised for Trump's inauguration, and the inaugural committee still has not accounted for how the money was spent.
9. Illegally Used Charitable Foundation for Political Purposes
Trump was ordered to pay $2 million to the charities that he scammed with his fraudulent charity, the Trump Foundation. He also has been prohibited from ever serving on the board of any charity in the future.
Trump raised money that was supposed to go to a veterans' charity but the investigation revealed that the money was used for Trump's political campaign and never sent to the veterans' groups.
Additionally, the Trump Foundation illegally made a $25,000 contribution to the Florida Attorney General who was investigating the fraudulent Trump University. Then the Trump Foundation falsely reported the $25,000 contribution on their taxes, claiming that it went to a charity in Kansas which, in fact, never received any money from them.
10. Violated National Security by Giving Kushner Top Clearance
Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, lied on his application for security clearance by not disclosing dozens of contacts he’d had with foreign governments, including Russia.
This type of omission is a felony and usually more than enough to get someone’s security clearance denied. However, President Trump ordered National Security Agency officials to give Kushner the clearance anyway, which is an extraordinary violation of national security.
Why is it important to hold Trump accountable?
- Political considerations should not matter. Most of the arguments against prosecuting Trump involved concerns that it could backfire and help Trump politically. But political consequences are irrelevant. Politics should play almost no role in the decision to impeach.
- Trump’s corrupt behavior continued to get worse the longer he was in office. Trump showed a tendency to ignore the mistakes of the past and to continue to behave criminally even while being investigated for previous crimes.
- Not holding Trump accountable would lead to more corruption in the future. If we allow Trump’s crimes and violations of the Constitution to go unpunished, future presidents will be more inclined to blatantly violate the Constitution and use the power of the presidency for their personal gain.
- A public prosecution of an ex-President proves that nobody is above the law. There is an old saying that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Bringing crimes to the light of day tends to be the best way to stop those and future crimes. When Congress began impeachment hearings against President Nixon, Nixon’s popularity was well above 50% and the U.S. public was largely against it. After seeing the evidence presented in the televised hearings, public opinion changed to strongly support his impeachment.
Don't Take My Word For It
Do your own research or follow the links I provided to find out more about all of these issues. Any one of the crimes listed above merit Trump's prosecution.
Trump holds the distinction of being the only president to be impeached twice. He has undeniably committed more crimes beyond those for which he was previously impeached.
Criminal prosecution should be decided exclusively on the merits of the evidence and the severity of the crime. One thing is certain: Trump will, without a doubt, commit more crimes if he is given another term.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: Why are you telling such atrocious lies with no evidence?
Answer: As you can see throughout the article, everything stated is supported by links to credible source information. Every single fact stated in the article can be independently confirmed. The fact that you choose not to believe it says much more about you than about the article.
Question: Do you think Donald Trump will ever pay for the crimes listed?
Answer: Most likely, no. Trump may be sued for some wrongdoings, and some jurisdictions could indict him for his crimes, but he will ultimately use his power and money to keep himself out of jail.
Question: Will Trump's children be charged with criminal acts?
Answer: I suspect they will after Trump leaves office - unless he pardons them.