Impeachment is the first, not final, move to defeat Trumpism
Former New York Mayor and now Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani speaks at a rally supporting a regime change in Iran outside United Nations headquarters on the first day of the general debate at the U.N. General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, in New York. | Jason DeCrow / AP

BERLIN—Yes, we all detest Trump and will be gladdened and relieved to see the last of him in the White House. In the United States, growing numbers of the people’s forces back impeachment and do so for a host of good reasons.

But does all such current enthusiasm for impeachment have the same good motivation? The reason for impeachment stressed by most of the media are Trump’s attempts to solicit Ukrainian assistance for his re-election campaign—by having that government slam former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump implied strongly in a phone conversation with the Ukrainian president that Ukraine would only get the $400 million worth of weapons approved by the U.S. Congress if it dug up dirt on Biden, his possible opponent in 2020.

It wasn’t the first time U.S. officials issued an ultimatum to a Ukrainian government, of course. It happened in December 2015 when then-Vice President Biden did his own threatening by setting for the Ukrainian government a time limit of six hours to fire a chief prosecutor who was then investigating Burisma, a crooked Ukrainian gas firm.

The journalist James Risen, writing in Intercept, tries to undo his own past exposés, standing on his head to make the former vice president’s threat now sound harmless. Yes, he admits, “Biden did threaten to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees unless [the prosecutor] Shokin was ousted,” but then adds that his son “Hunter Biden’s role with Burisma made his father’s demands, however well-intentioned, appear politically awkward and hypocritical.”

And, Risen adds (very lamely, of course, since he’s standing on his head), half of Western Europe said that the prosecutor Shokin was corrupt, especially the EU’s “anti-corruption” outfit (which is led by a U.S. Ivy League scholar and financed by the CIA and a dozen other equally impartial experts).

If any journalists dig even deeper—to Dec. 13, 2013—they might learn that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s undersecretary, Victoria Nuland, after three visits to Ukraine in five weeks, divulged that the U.S. was spending $5 billion to encourage businessmen and officials who wanted to break Ukraine away from any relationship with Russia and open it up for its “western” friends (via the EU and then NATO). It succeeded. It was Nuland, during the bloody Maidan Square uprising, who said (on a bugged telephone talk with U.S. ambassador Pyatt), “I think Yats is the guy….” In the blink of an eye (and those billions) “Yats” (Arseniy Yatseniuk) was indeed the guy, prime minister of a now U.S.-friendly, Russia-hostile Ukraine. (Distance to Moscow 523 miles; think Cincinnati-Washington).

Donald Trump, then, is a late-comer to the bloody Ukrainian mess.

There is something we saw evidence of in this latest Trump scandal, however, that the media is not talking as much about. Trump is clearly part of a real, not fake, right-wing conspiracy that is increasingly able to coordinate amongst the White House, the Congress, the Senate, the State Department, the Justice Department, and the Courts in the U.S. They are able to coordinate through all these avenues and ramp up dangerous anti-worker, anti-people policies affecting every aspect of life.


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The media is now overloaded with gratitude for that courageous whistleblower, presumably a CIA agent, who has presumably exposed Trump’s Ukraine affair. But it has been for less friendly and gushy about whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Jeffrey Sterling, and Julian Assange—whistleblowers who did expose the fuller domestic and foreign policy dangers posed by the right wing.

Will the efforts to impeach Trump highlight his brutal actions against Mexicans and refugees, against Muslims, African-Americans, and basically all working people while rewarding the super wealthy? His environmental disaster policies are sometimes chastised, thanks to the world‘s schoolchildren, but are rarely central to many who say they are defending national security. What security will there be on an un-inhabitable planet? Yes, for his racism, for his attacks on workers, and for his attacks on the environment, Trump should be impeached.

Trump talks to reporters outside the White House. | Alex Brandon/AP

What about non-Ukrainian foreign policy? There seems to be far less discussion of weapons support for Saudi Arabia, the suffering and massive deaths in Yemen, Trump’s long buddy-friendship with Israel’s Netanyahu (as long as he’s on top) and his hostility toward the Palestinians. Or his economic strangling of Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran. What about the dangers of Trump’s cancellation of nuclear treaties with both Iran and Russia? Yes, for all these attacks on national security and a stable, peaceful world, Trump should be impeached.

Unlike some of the pundits who try to make the impeachment movement into “Trump versus national security,” the impeachment movement and the election campaign to follow are and must be parts of a mass movement to first save democracy in the U.S. and then to achieve genuine health care, end the immense incarceration tragedy, win free tuition, fight racist police violence and armed militia dangers, win abortion rights, build the labor movement, and alter stagnant or worsening labor conditions and housing for millions of working Americans. Getting rid of Trump will open up space for all of these movements to operate.

How to pay for all that? It is the movements that show how we must carve the funds from billionaire caches and from the skyrocketing billions and trillions spent on military spending, big stick threats, and eternal wars around the world.

Trump’s impeachment is a first necessary step regardless of whether the Senate goes along and removes him from office, thereby leaving it up to the people in 2020. With Trump in office, there is no guarantee even that there will be a free and fair next election. Trumpites across the country are devising ways of cutting millions more than they already have off the voting rolls. He is dangerous and has to be removed, but the real long-term struggle to defeat Trumpism doesn’t end with his removal from office. It only begins at that point.


Victor Grossman
Victor Grossman

Victor Grossman is a journalist from the U.S. now living in Berlin. He fled his U.S. Army post in the 1950s in danger of reprisals for his left-wing activities at Harvard and in Buffalo, New York. He landed in the former German Democratic Republic (Socialist East Germany), studied journalism, founded a Paul Robeson Archive, and became a freelance journalist and author. His latest book,  A Socialist Defector: From Harvard to Karl-Marx-Allee, is about his life in the German Democratic Republic from 1949 – 1990, the tremendous improvements for the people under socialism, the reasons for the fall of socialism, and the importance of today's struggles.