After Fourth of July fireworks light up Yankton’s summer skies over the Missouri River, there could be no better celebration of our Declaration of Independence than to exercise the principles embedded in our Constitution and launch an investigation to impeach the president of the United States for committing “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Your editorial, on “what has happened to our election process” [and] the Senate’s “baffling dereliction of duty” underscores the urgency of this action. (“Election Security Must Be a Priority,” Press & Dakotan, June 18).
Americans spurned King George III’s appeal: “Remember, despite our estrangement, I’m your man,” as sung in the Broadway hit, “Hamilton” and threw off the yoke of this tyrannical ruler, remembered in history as being mad, like King Lear, “not in my perfect mind.”
Although the president flatly denies abuse of his executive powers, his contemptuous displays of defiance call to mind remarks of Judge Robert Jackson, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice who presided as chief prosecutor in the 1946 Nuremberg War Trials.
Addressing Germany’s Third Reich leaders at Nuremberg Palace of Justice, Judge Jackson wrapped up his argument for conviction by quoting a scene in Shakespeare’s play, Richard III. He likened the Duke of Gloucester (future Richard III) to the Nazi criminals seated before him: “As the bloodstained Gloucester stood by the body of his slain King [whom he had killed], he denies his guilt to the widow: ‘Say I slew them not.’ And the Queen replied: ‘Then say they were not slain. But dead they are’’’.
Jackson concluded that acquittal of these defendants would deny the very fact of World War II: “If you were to say of these men that they are not guilty, it would be as true to say that there has been no war, there are no slain, there has been no crime.”
If the House of Representatives fails to conduct impeachment investigations, then it would be as true to say: “There has been no Mueller investigation. There was no obstruction of justice. There have been no high crimes. Then say, ‘The Constitution has not been slain.’ But dead it is.”