Jan. 15, 2020, a date which will live in infamy on two continents. How oddly coincidental that the world witnessed massive abuses of constitutional power in both the United States and Russia on the same day.
In Moscow, Russian ruler Vladimir Putin suddenly unveiled changes to the Russian constitution that will for all practical purposes render his unrestrained rule permanent. He was prime minister from 1999 to 2000, president from 2000 to 2008, prime minister again from 2008 to 2012, and now president again since 2012. The changes will transfer to parliament Putin’s presidential powers, which he is expected to give up in 2024, as law requires.
But in crime syndicates, titles bend to the will of the boss; in the Kremlin Crime Family that’s Czar Vladimir.
Putin tapped Russia’s little-known tax chief to become prime minister and he will likely ultimately succeed Putin in a diminished presidency. Like Dmitry Medvedev, who has resigned along with the entire cabinet to facilitate Putin’s restructuring, he can be expected to be essentially a Putin lackey.
Whether in a formal capacity, or pulling this puppet’s strings behind the scenes, Putin has arranged to be Russian ruler for life.
In America, such a sweeping shift would require a constitutional amendment, which means years of convincing three-quarters of the state legislatures (or convening a new constitutional convention). In Russia, it means Putin waving his hand.
As freedom in the former Soviet Union slipped further from the grasp of the people of the Russian federation, however, the speaker of the House in this country was simultaneously misusing the awesome power of impeachment provided by our Constitution.
Like Putin, Pelosi has timed her move for purposes of aggrandizing power, waiting until mid-January to let the Senate begin its trial – after insisting last year that the impeachment inquiry and subsequent House floor vote had to be hurried to take place before Christmas. Her hope was that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be intimidated into skewing the rules of a Senate trial to presume President Donald Trump’s guilt, and guarantee that House Democrats’ criteria for witnesses would be accepted. Despite a Republican Senate majority, this would improve the longshot odds of a trial spiraling out of control against Trump, and picking off a GOP senator or two. It would thus hurt Trump’s reelection chances, and help Democrats’ electoral fortunes overall.
McConnell prevailed. But also similar to Putin, Pelosi used a veneer of legitimacy to thwart her nation’s voters. Putin remains in power thanks to widespread ballot-stuffing, repeat voting and other manifestations of election fraud. Pelosi is using the rarely employed, extraordinary power of impeachment not to remedy “high crimes and misdemeanors,” as the Constitution directs, but to undo Trump’s lawful 2016 election – if not in actually removing him from office then by blemishing him enough to prevent his reelection. Or if that proves not possible, then by sabotaging Trump’s second term.
The smiles and ceremonial pens featured in Pelosi’s ill-considered signing ceremony that sent two articles of impeachment to the Senate – aping presidential bill signings – exposed the corrupt motives underneath.
Putin is indeed interested in disrupting U.S. elections, as the establishment media so often remind us. But opening fake social media accounts to spread disinformation, or promoting political rallies and fraudulent political articles, as Russia undertakes, are practices that are no match in influencing voters to one of the chambers of the U.S. Congress conducting a full-blown charade, our hallowed Constitution be damned.
The strongest interference in American elections is from within. If voters recognize that Pelosi and Putin are applying the same debauched principle for purposes of wielding power, they will mark the common date of their deeds come this November as the day of infamy it was.
— Written by Thomas McArdle
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