Christianity Today's Mark Galli: Trump Should Be Removed from Office

"Let’s grant this to the president: The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion. This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these recent impeachment hearings. And, no, Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment. But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral." - CT

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Everybody nowadays seems to think that you have to fully embrace one side or the other. I really don't understand why. In this case the Democrats clearly only wanted to accomplish something political. So much for motives. Motives don't change facts, and on that score only a few minor details are even in dispute in this whole thing. 

But that doesn't make the Republicans right.

Can't say it better than David French already has.

Republicans have erased the line against presidential campaigns attempting to seek help from hostile foreign powers. They’ve erased the line against presidential candidates directing an admitted criminal conspiracy to pay hush money to a porn star mistress. They’ve erased the line against supporting a man who has bragged about groping women and been subjected to multiple sexual misconduct claims that are supported by considerable corroborating evidence. They’ve erased lines upholding basic competence and fundamental human decency. They’ve erased lines against serial, intentional presidential lies. They’re unfazed when multiple close associates of the president have proven to be crooks and criminals. Now they’re set to erase one of the most serious lines of all—the line against hijacking American foreign policy in one of the most volatile and important regions of the world in service of a truly crazy conspiracy theory and to extort a foreign investigation of a domestic political opponent. 

WallyMorris's picture

In a culture which rejects objective moral standards which transcend political and social convenience, it's not surprising that the lines between right and wrong, acceptable and not acceptable, are becoming more blurred in the wider culture. Since we adhere to Biblical objective moral standards, the choices such a culture presents us are certainly not our ideal choices. President Trump has serious moral problems/sins. But who do Christians wish to replace him with? Christianity Today seems naive and ignorant about the Constitutional and political issues involved, allowing themselves to be used by political groups with an ungodly agenda. We do not know all the facts in this mess. The House's "investigation" only brought more questions. CT can preach to us all they want, but the situation is not as clear as they state.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

TylerR's picture

Editor

I believe President Trump likely did what Democrats accuse him of doing. I believe he's capable of it, and I suspect he did it. The problem is that they haven't proven it. If you're going to impeach a President, you must prove your case. There are various standards of proof in different legal contexts. In many regulatory investigations, the stand is "clear and convincing evidence." For criminal cases, something like "beyond a reasonable doubt" is often the standard.

I have followed this case from the beginning. I read the transcript. I read the articles. I read the full articles of impeachment. The House has not proven intent. At best, they have proven that the President is a foolish man who makes foolish mistakes. I already knew that. The House has had trouble demonstrating what the President's intent was with that phone call; he can plausibly say he was interested in investigating corruption. Opponents claim it was a political move. Well, prove it!

The case against President Trump isn't even strong enough for me to sign, approve and refer for enforcement in my own context, running an investigations unit for a State agency. It certainly isn't even strong enough to withstand a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. And, that's saying something.

Yet, the author of the CT piece says:

But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents.

Well, maybe. You can't punish someone because you think something happened. Prove it! One British observer commented:

The bottom line is that for many Americans, this is a hard-to-understand scandal involving something that didn’t happen involving a leader they’ve never heard of in a country they know little about.

I agree with that. I still suspect the President committed the violation. The House just didn't prove it.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

Galli is really staking his ground on a case the Democrats never made.  He makes a little nod to it, and then proceeds directly to "I don't like Donald".  Well, fair enough, and I didn't like Bill Clinton for a lot of the same reasons.  Was that sufficient grounds for impeachment, then?

Of course not.  It was a great reason to vote against Clinton, and for me, it was a great reason to vote for Marco Rubio in the primaries.   But it's not sufficient reason to impeach and remove from office.  Galli is not doing himself or CT proud with such inane rhetoric.

Even scarier, IMO, is what Tyler gets at.  Most of the "evidence" presented by the Democrats was "hearsay", inadmissible in court.  Adam Schiff moreover not only withheld evidence from the GOP members of the committee (identity of the leaker and a lot more), but also actively prevented the GOP from requesting additional eyewitness testimony, and also prevented cross examination.

If a real prosecutor were to do that, he'd first of all be rebuked by the judge (well, any good judge anyways), and then would face professional discipline (including disbarment) and even jail time.  What Schiff did, and what Dianne Feinstein did to Brett Kavanaugh, makes what Mike Nifong did pale in comparison.  

Really, the Democrats are continually giving the GOP a huge gift; they are reminding the country what they will do to a person when they get the power.  You see it with this impeachment, you saw it with Brett Kavanaugh, you saw it with the FBI and CIA being weaponized to investigate Trump's campaign on flimsy pretexts, you saw it with the weaponization of the IRS and other agencies against Tea Party activists, and a lot more.

As far as I can tell, the case against Trump is more or less "he doesn't cover his tracks as well as his political rivals" (or have the media cover up for him), and quite frankly, I consider this to be a positive trait.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

WallyMorris's picture

3 General Questions About Impeachment:

1. Did the President do something illegal? (A legal question)

2. If so, is the act an impeachable offense? (A Constitutional and legal question)

3. Is the impeachable offense serious enough to remove him from office? (A political question)

Bill Clinton lied under oath, was impeached, but not removed from office.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Bert Perry's picture

In the video, Clinton's looking away from the camera to the left--at a picture of FDR, I believe, if I'm reading the video right.  He was a really good liar, but not in that blurb.

Keep in mind, too, that regarding the Clinton impeachment, it was multiple counts of perjury and obstruction of justice (specifically witness tampering) when he was interviewed regarding his behavior in a deposition for the case which Paula Jones had brought against him.  He ended up paying $850k to Jones, was held in contempt of court, and lost his license to practice law as a result.  The kicker?  The case broke open because someone didn't get her blue dress dry cleaned and his DNA was there.

(and no, that blue dress is NOT on display at the Clinton Presidential Library, sad to say)

So it's an illustration of how hard it is to get these things to take even when you have a professional doing the investigating and even when there is incontrovertable evidence he'd lied.  So is, for that matter, the matter for which Ken Starr was originally hired--to investigate the Whitewater deal for which Hilliary had allegedly done the legal work and covered up the crimes committed there--resulted in 15 people going to jail, but none of them gave sufficient evidence to prove Hilliary's involvement.  This stuff is hard to prove, and the Democrats' shortcuts in trying to "get" Trump show a lot about their character, none of it printable.

A side note, by the way, is that since Hunter Biden's entire career happened because of his father's political pull, from becoming an "executive vice president" at MBNA right out of law school to CEFC Partners, I really don't care that someone asked for help investigating him.  Quite frankly, if he'd been investigated along with his dad, especially by the Ukrainians, it would have been a signal that nobody is above the law, which could have been huge in Ukraine.  

This whole deal is a big "look, squirrel" move by the Democrats. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

mmartin's picture

Trump 2020, 2024, 2028, 2032, 2036, 2040!!!!!

This whole impeachment fiasco is completely bogus.  All presidents do what he did (i.e. Bush, Clinton, Bush, & Obama) with the quid pro quo.  Its all apart of US foreign aid & diplomacy.  The Democrats haven't proven anything against Trump yet they give the Clintons and the Bidens a free pass.

Bert Perry's picture

Is right here, courtesy of the Babylon Bee.  Can't go with Mr. Martin on his call for Trump to stay in the Oval Office long after he dies--have pity on the cleaning ladies, brother!--but hey, let's clean out the swamp.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry's picture

Moderator

The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.

This is far from established. It is a particular spin, but not the only explanation. It could be just as easily read as this: A former VP and presidential hopeful is likely to have been involved in bribery from a foreign government. We should want to know if this man is guilty of bribery (which actually is a constitutional impeachable offense) before casting votes.

Consider the evidence: The VP had significance influence in Ukrainian foreign policy. The VP's son was hired to the tune of over $80,000 a month by a disreputable company under investigation for corruption in Ukraine. The VP's son has no experience in this field. The VP's son admitted he probably got the job because he was the VP's son. The VP openly and proudly participated in a quid pro quo to fire a prosecutor who may have been looking into this matter (and claiming firing the prosecutor was international policy is hardly excusable if quid pro quo is wrong). The previous administration was so concerned about this that they coached a nominee as to how to answer questions about this situation.

Now, all of that adds up to at least the possibility that there was something amiss. To refuse to even entertain that possibility is a dereliction of duty. In addition, this is one of the most corrupt countries and governments in the world. Making a public statement about investigation is a lot different than a private one. A private one can be easily pushed aside. A public one cannot. 

The standard setup by this process is that all one has to do to avoid investigation is to declare to be a candidate for the presidency. 

Should Trump have done this? I have no problem with it, and not because I like Trump; I don't. But I think our government is way to free with the passing out of money. I think ther e is a lot of corruption and I think there is a duty to investigate it even if it leads us to uncomfortable places.

And I remind us all that the Dems have no problem with what Trump did. They have done it multiple times including against Trump himself. The Dems have a problem with Trump. And as the Dems are wont to say, If he did nothing wrong, why is he opposed to investigation?

Darrell Post's picture

Larry,

Or more simply put, the Democrat led US House impeached the man who inadvertently uncovered crimes in Ukraine to help elect the man who committed the crimes.

 

 

mmartin's picture

Trump 2020, 2024. . . .

Sarcasm.

RajeshG's picture

Mike Huckabee has penned an open letter to Nancy Pelosi concerning the Democrat's tactics in impeaching President Trump. This excerpt from the letter drives home the nature of the tactics used in their proceedings:

So let me get to the point of this letter. I have a helpful suggestion for you that will give you the fairness you crave, and I think Sen. McConnell might be persuaded to go along with the idea. To make sure the process is scrupulously fair, here's what you do:  just have him follow exactly the same rules in the Senate that Adam Schiff did in the House. There you go, fairness!

This is how it will work: Sen. McConnell gets to make up the rules he wants, just as Schiff did, and being in the majority (as you were in the House), the Republicans vote straight party-line to approve them. Since you are the minority, you don’t get to call witnesses, but they do, and the witnesses can offer any “evidence” they want. You can ask questions –- that’s only fair –- but only the ones McConnell approves. The Senate majority has the option to dismiss the charges, of course, or it can subpoena Adam Schiff, his staff, Eric Ciaramella (alias “the whistleblower”), Hunter Biden, Joe Biden (after all, just because he’s running for President, he doesn’t have immunity), and numerous others. Maybe even Ukrainian President Zelensky would like to come testify --- no quid pro quo involved.

Joel Shaffer's picture

"He just got impeached. He’ll be impeached forever. No matter what the Senate does. He’s impeached forever because he violated our Constitution,” she said.

“If I did nothing else, he saw the power of the gavel there,” Pelosi told the AP. “And it wasn’t me, it was all of our members making their own decision.”  

https://www.voanews.com/usa/pelosi-power-gavel-means-trump-impeached-for...

I remember back in 1998, the Republicans saying the same thing about Clinton.  It seems as if Pelosi wanted to return the favor.  I agree with Tyler that he probably did it (which to me is an unethical abuse of power), but it wasn't proven beyond a reasonable doubt and even so, does this unethical abuse of power warrant removal of office?  Or would it have been better to use censure power in this instance?  

By the way, the comments, disagreements, and critique of the CT article are much more thoughtful here on Sharper Iron than in the Facebook world, where many Christians now think that CT is a progressively liberal "Christian" magazine because of the responses from Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr, and etc...

 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Galli wrote:

To use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence. And just when we think it’s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that’s when the whole game will come crashing down. It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel.

This paragraph will likely resonate with evangelicals who are willing or unwitting heirs to the civil religion of Christian Americana that President Eisenhower, Billy Graham and later the political movement known as the Religious Right spent decades imprinting on our conservative religious identity.

Robert Jones, in his book The End of White Christian America (which I reviewed here), argued that this cultural moment has passed us by. I don't believe younger evangelicals are beholden to Christian Americana in the same way their parents were (or, are!). Galli's prophesy of doom and loss of cultural cachet is touching and quaint; as if conservative Christians have any cultural cachet left to dispense! It's also a remarkably America-centric call to arms. For many evangelicals (or, as Olson likes to say, post-fundamentalist evangelicals), I suspect politics is not the idol it is to the older generation. Russell Moore's book Onward captured this shift in mindset quite well. I somehow suspect Galli doesn't understand that.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Dan Miller's picture

I believe President Trump likely did what Democrats accuse him of doing. I believe he's capable of it, and I suspect he did it. The problem is that they haven't proven it.

In my opinion, the problem is there is nothing wrong with what he did. 
He asked a foreign leader to investigate corruption in his country. I see nothing wrong with that. Even if there was a quid pro quo​​​​​​, I see nothing wrong with telling a foreign leader that if he won't investigate corruption we will reduce aide. 
If he asked them to INVENT corruption charges, yeah that would be wrong. Even if there was no reason for him to be suspicious and he asked for investigation into a potential rival, you could find fault, but only if you're biased. 
 

To Trump asking Ukraine to investigate corruption, I think proper response is THANK YOU. 

Mark_Smith's picture

Dan Miller wrote:

I believe President Trump likely did what Democrats accuse him of doing. I believe he's capable of it, and I suspect he did it. The problem is that they haven't proven it.

In my opinion, the problem is there is nothing wrong with what he did. 
He asked a foreign leader to investigate corruption in his country. I see nothing wrong with that. Even if there was a quid pro quo​​​​​​, I see nothing wrong with telling a foreign leader that if he won't investigate corruption we will reduce aide. 
If he asked them to INVENT corruption charges, yeah that would be wrong. Even if there was no reason for him to be suspicious and he asked for investigation into a potential rival, you could find fault, but only if you're biased. 
 

To Trump asking Ukraine to investigate corruption, I think proper response is THANK YOU. 

Amen, brother.

dmyers's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

Can't say it better than David French already has.

Actually,virtually anyone can say it better than David French.  When it comes to Trump, French is rabidly irrational.

dmyers's picture

A good friend of mine is Louis Hensler, who graduated from BJU a few years after I did and who overlapped with me at the University of Chicago Law School.  After a judicial clerkship with a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit (Atlanta) and a stint at one of the country's largest law firms, he has been for a number of years now a professor at Regent University Law School in Virginia.  During the Republican primaries and well after Trump was elected, he was a Never Trumper.  Here are his recent thoughts on reconsidering that position (much better reasoned than Mark Galli/CT's and infinitely better reasoned than anything from David French):

https://henslerisms.blogspot.com/2019/10/confessions-of-erstwhile-nevert...

 

Mark_Smith's picture

If Obama had been the one who Republican's found had told Ukraine to start an investigation into Romney, or McCain, or Trump, or Ted Cruz, or whoever, because their son was working for Barisma (sp?), or else the blankets and MREs he sent would be withheld despite the Russian onslaught against them, no Democrat would dream of thinking Obama had done something wrong. Yes, Republicans would clamor for it, but no Democrat would go along with it. And there is where the problem lies. There is not agreement across party lines that this "incident" involved an abuse of power or a crime.

In the case of Nixon, it became clear Nixon had done something fundamentally wrong. in the case of Clinton, there was a clear record of his crime.

Not so here. And that is why this incident is a sad comedy of errors on the part of the Democrats for taking it too far.

dgszweda's picture

TylerR wrote:

 

Yet, the author of the CT piece says:

But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents.

I have seen the same thing quoted above.  That is definitely one way to look at it, but I think most people forget how the mind of Trump works.  He didn't even view what he was doing was bad.  He definitely didn't hide it and was clear about it.  Many people were on the phone when he said it, he gave the transcripts that indicated it, and truth be told, he even campaigned on this.  He views this less about a political opponent and more at attacking something he thinks is wrong by someone who he doesn't agree with.  His problem is that he can't let it go.  I would say it is probably worded this way.

"The president of the United States used his political power to ask a favor from a foreign leader on behalf of himself and his base of supporters to investigate something that himself and his supporters felt was corruption".  I don't think he attempted, I think he did it, and he felt that he was fulfilling a campaign promise of seeking to root out corruption, and especially his campaign promise around Biden's son and felt that since he was elected he had a mandate.

This was really not some kind of back door dealing.  He felt he had a mandate to do this.  Right or wrong, I think people miss this fact.  They view Trump through their eyes instead of through his eyes.  I think this guy has some serious, serious flaws in his life, I just struggle to see that what he did was breaking the law.

Joeb's picture

The Democrats do not even have a candidate to challenge Trump.  Trump will eat whoever they nominate for breakfest lunch and dinner.  I'm no Trump fan but I realize the truth of the situation.  
 

The Democrats  made a big mistake by impeaching Trump and will probably loose the house for it.  Instead of rushing they should have gone to court and enforced the subpoenas which I believe would have shown Trump to be the lair he is.  However even if they proved their case in Trump's second term the Republicans still would not have removed Trump.  All the Republicans have to do is point and say you didn't remove Billy Boy.  The end of the conversation. 
 

Trump is here until 2024 like it or not.  Be a realist and except it. The real question in my mind is what is this going to do to the testimony of the Evangelical Church in the US before nonbelievers.  How bad will the gospel be harmed.  Especially as more Republican. Christian Right Leaders and Pastors are exposed by the hot knife of the Church To and Me To Movements ie Prolife and Anti Gay Crusader Congressman Duncan Hunter and his 5 mistresses stabled with stolen money. Hunter used the same defenses Trump did like fake News False Allegations by Liberals and the Swamp.  In the end with his five mistresses and wife testifying against him Godly Duncan coped a plea of GUILTY.  

Bert Perry's picture

Regarding the differences between 1998 and today, again, let's remember that Bubba was charged with multiple counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, and there was someone genuinely harmed until it was exposed--Paula Jones, who was sexually harassed by Clinton.  Really, the closest analogy for this impeachment is the one of Andrew Johnson, where Congress passed a Constitutionally dubious law called the "Tenure of Office Act", whereby Congress was trying to infringe on the President's right to choose his own advisors, and then impeached him for (among other things) removing the Secretary of War.  If you read the history, the parallels are uncanny between the Johnson case and Trump cases. 

And again, I'm personally unclear on why--except for partisan politics--one would decide that it's wrong for a President to ask for help investigating why the former VP's son has always gotten jobs for which he's completely unqualified.  Folks, that's precisely how Tammany Hall and the Chicago machine worked.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

For the record, I am not a fan of calling Presidents silly names in normal conversation. Satirical songs are one thing, but I am not a fan of Bubba, Billy Boy, BJ Clinton, W, Barry, or any of the Obama nicknames. They were our president. Call them their proper name.

Bert Perry's picture

Mark, I appreciate your sentiment, but that train left the station two centuries ago or more.  Just ask Old Hickory, Honest Abe, Jimmuh, "Tricky Dicky", "Dubya", "high tax Harry", "little Jemmy", or most of the other men who've held the office.

I can draw the line at obscene or clearly slanderous nicknames, but some of how we under the character of our leaders is through the more humorous ones.  For example, "Le Grand Orange" for the current guy.  Moreover, as we get to know the very real flawed character of many of our Presidents, we're supposed to insulate them from nicknames....why?  Besides, Clinton carefully cultivated the "Bubba" image to appeal to Southern voters.  The man was crying all the way to the Oval Office over that one.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.