Former U.S. Senator Gary Hart was the chairman of the Presidential Climate Action Project during the 2008 presidential campaign season. He believes that apart from other alleged offenses, President Trump should be impeached for his “repeated attacks upon and casual neglect of the nation’s public resources and environment”. Toward that end, Sen. Hart prepared the following Articles of Impeachment. 

 

Introduction to Articles of Impeachment

Political considerations aside, there is a mounting consensus that the House of Representatives would be derelict if it fails to introduce an Impeachment inquiry.  That dereliction would be to Members oath of office to see that the laws of the United States be faithfully executed, to the rule of law itself, to the Constitutional obligation to oversee the operations of the Executive branch, and to history.

This challenge is complicated by the President’s ritual effort to reverse much of established domestic and foreign policy, especially the domestic policies of the previous Administration virtually across the board, and the liberal democratic world order established in the age of Truman and supported since then by Republican and Democratic Presidents.

Mr. Trump’s unorthodox and destructive behavior is so wide-spread and far-flung as to challenge any comprehensive effort to include it all in one Impeachment document.  Many of us have our own basis for reluctantly accepting the necessity of Impeachment proceedings.

On this view, Donald J. Trump is impeachable for his repeated attacks upon and casual neglect of the nation’s public resources and environment, including his perverse refusal to acknowledge and his effort to cause his Administration to pretend climate change does not exist.

The Impeachment agenda favored here is for the House to launch an investigation of wrong-doing that would almost inevitably lead to the preparation of Articles based upon that investigation, but neglect to refer the Articles to the United States Senate based upon the acknowledgment that obvious partisan alignments will lead to its rejection.

Gary Hart

Member, United States Senate Committee on the Environment, chair of the U.S. Commission on Clean Air, Special Assistant to the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior

[The author has used “The Articles of Impeachment of Donald J. Trump: A Draft” by Ian Prasad Philbrick, NYTimes, June 5, 2019, as a convenient and persuasive template.]

 

The National Heritage

Articles of Impeachment

ARTICLE I

On January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump took the oath of office for the Presidency of the United States, solemnly swearing to “faithfully execute the laws of the United States.”  As part of those laws, the United States Department of the Interior and all its Bureaus and Agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency, and a wide variety of other Offices, Bureaus, and Agencies in other departments of the United States Government are lawfully obligated to administer the laws enacted by Congress, and regulations thereunder, as they preserve and protect the natural heritage of the nation, including national parks and recreations areas, wild and scenic rivers, national forests, lands belonging to the people of the United States, and, most recently, the air, water, and land that comprise our natural environment and our climate upon which all life depends.

For well over a century, the President and those he appoints are held to be stewards of the nation’s lands and natural heritage to be held in trust and so administered as to continue to benefit future generations of Americans.  In varying degrees, both Republican and Democratic Presidents have assumed and accepted these solemn stewardship responsibilities.

Nevertheless, upon assuming office, Donald J. Trump, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through cabinet and sub-cabinet political appointments in a course of conduct designed to delay, impede, and obstruct the enforcement of these laws and regulations enacted thereunder to subvert, impede, ignore, and otherwise obstruct the proper administration of many  laws, policies, and programs designed to protect our natural heritage.

The means used to implement this course of conduct or plan included one or more of the following:

  1. Appointment of officials and their subordinates tasked with administering our public resource and environmental laws who willfully and knowingly have subverted the clear purpose and intent of previous Congresses regarding our natural heritage;
  2. Appointment of cabinet, sub-cabinet, and heads of relevant Bureaus and Agencies whose experience, if any,  was in lobbying on behalf of corporate interests for the purpose of evasion of natural resource and environmental laws or the elimination thereof;
  3. In the case of natural resource and environmental appointments requiring confirmation, false testimony by appointees to uphold and defend the public lands and resources and protect the environment, contrary to performance once in office;
  4. Misuse the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal offices and agencies of the United States to promote the commercial interests of private corporate interests;
  5. Making or causing to be made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States into believing that national resource and environmental programs and policies are being faithfully carried out;
  6. Misuse of public funds for personal office aggrandizement and unnecessary expenditures for claimed security, transportation, and self-promotional purposes.

In all of this, Donald J. Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as president and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore Donald J. Trump, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

ARTICLE II

Using the powers of the office of president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the public land and resources, and environmental laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purpose of these agencies.

This conduct has included one or more of the following:

  1. He misused the Department of Interior, and other executive personnel, by directing or authorizing such agencies or personnel to conduct efforts to privatize so much of the public’s resources as they saw fit;
  2. He has failed to take care that the laws were faithfully executed by failing to act when he knew or had reason to know that his close subordinates endeavored to impede and frustrate laws enacted to preserve and protect public ownership of public lands and resources;
  3. In disregard of the rule of law, he knowingly misused the executive power by interfering with agencies of the executive branch, including the Department of Interior and Environmental Protection Agency, on public resource protection in violation of his duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed;

In all of this, Donald J. Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as president and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

ARTICLE III

In his conduct of the office of president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has failed without lawful cause or excuse to recognize overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change and global warming, thereby assuming to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of prudent national policies and actions, taken unilateral and in cooperation with existing and proposed international efforts to stabilize global climate conditions.

This conduct has included one or more of the following:

  1. Unilateral actions to withdraw the United States from the Paris Accords negotiated to stabilize and prevent further erosion of scientifically-established goals to prevent further global warming;
  2. Against well-established scientific concurrence that carbon emissions from all sources are accelerating damaging climate change, he has ordered all references in governmental documents in all federal departments and agencies to climate change to be removed;
  3. He has removed the United States from its previous international leadership position on climate change and subjected the nation to international contempt for its denial of well-established international scientific evidence of climate change and its sources;
  4. He has chosen to ignore increasing damaging incidence of dangerous storms and flooding that are subjecting communities in many parts of the United States to unprecedented damage caused by changing climate;
  5. His purposeful ignore-ance of climate change threatens the future of this and future generations’ health, security, and economic well-being in violation of his oath of office to protect and defend the nation.

In all of this, Donald J. Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as president and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, Donald J. Trump by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.