When Democrats announced their articles of impeachment Tuesday, the first charge was abuse of power. “The president’s continuing abuse of power has left us no choice,” said Adam Schiff. “To do nothing would make ourselves complicit in the president’s abuse of his high office, the public trust, and our national security.”
Of course, presidents should be impeached for legitimate abuses of power. Their case against Trump, however, is super-thin at best. Yet, for all of their platitudes about protecting our democracy and no president being above the law, they spent eight years ignoring Obama’s abuses of power, which makes their shock and awe at Trump appear completely disingenuous. Obama abused his power so much that selecting just five examples was no easy task. But alas, here’s an abbreviated list of Obama’s abuses of power, for which, if Democrats truly cared about “our democracy” and the Constitution, they would have had no choice but to impeach him.
5. Illegally firing an inspector general
In 2009, Barack Obama illegally fired Gerald Walpin, the inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service, without notice or providing the legally mandated explanation for the firing to Congress. Obama did this to protect Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, an ally of his, whom Walpin had been investigating for misusing federal funds Walpin had discovered a cover-up of sexual assault allegations by minors against Johnson.
As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama co-sponsored the 2008 Inspector General Reform Act, which protected inspectors general from being fired without cause. Obama ignored this law to protect an ally who sexually assaulted minors and tried to cover it up with hush money that came from federal grants. If that’s not an abuse of power, what is? Worse yet, when the firing was investigated by Congress, the Obama White House stonewalled the investigation, refused to provide requested documents, and deliberately misled Congress about the reasons for the firing.
At the time this happened, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, and if they cared about a president acting above the law, they should have impeached Obama then.
4. Giving “green energy” loans to donor companies
If you want to talk about an abuse of power, Barack Obama and Joe Biden were both personally involved in the decision-making process to determine who got $80 billion for clean energy loans, grants, and tax credits for green energy companies, in a highly politicized process that favored companies that supported the Obama-Biden campaign over those that didn’t. It was no coincidence that the companies that got all the cash were donors to their campaign. In fact, DOE officials expressed concerned that Obama and Biden’s involvement was putting taxpayer dollars at risk. Not only did they give all this money to green energy companies that donated to their campaign, but the Obama administration also stole proprietary technology from companies that didn’t get the loans to the Obama cronies who got them. This scandal was much bigger than Solyndra, but the calls for Obama’s impeachment weren’t there.
3. Unconstitutional recess appointments
When Obama made a number of controversial picks for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), he was unable to get them through the Senate. So, in January 2012, he declared his nominees appointed to the Senate via recess appointments. Except the Senate wasn’t even in recess at the time. Obama’s actions were such a blatant abuse of power that experts on both sides of the aisle blasted Obama for what he did and a federal appeals court overturned the appointments a few days after his second inauguration, declaring, “Allowing the president to define the scope of his own appointments power would eviscerate the Constitution’s separation of powers.” The United States Supreme Court ultimately took up the case, and unanimously agreed Obama abused his power.
2. Illegally reinterpreting Title IX
When Title IX was written, the goal was to protect people from discrimination based on sex in education. The notion of “gender identity” or “gender expression” wasn’t even a thing back in 1972 when it was passed. Nevertheless, Obama unilaterally decided that “sex” meant “gender identity” and threatened to enforce this bizarre idea. This was a huge violation of the rights and privacy of women and girls nationwide without so much as a national debate in Congress, where this issue needed to be worked out. Instead of going to Congress, Obama simply threatened educational institutions at all levels with the loss of Title IX funding if they didn’t comply and allow boys to share bathrooms, locker rooms, and dorm rooms with girls, as well as allow boys to play on girls sports teams. Obama’s going around Congress on this issue was a huge violation of power. Rather than attempt to have the law updated by Congress, Obama abused his power by simply reinterpreting the law on his own, knowing very well Congress wasn’t going to change the law to include “gender identity.”
1. Changing immigration law via executive order
The truth is, Obama spent most of his presidency with a divided Congress or a GOP-controlled Congress. His radical left-wing agenda was mostly DOA because rather than work toward compromise legislation, his default position was to act on his own, assuming the executive authority to change laws via executive fiat. Anyone who’s familiar with the Constitution knows he had no such authority.
Still, when the DREAM Act failed to pass, Obama issued an executive order creating DACA, an executive-branch version of the DREAM Act. Obama literally bypassed Congress, changing U.S. immigration law via executive pen to appease his pro-open-borders base.
What makes Obama’s abuse of power here even worse is that he’d previously acknowledged that he didn’t have the power to unilaterally create immigration law. But, when that pesky Constitution got in the way of his radical agenda, suddenly he decided that he did have that power. How many times have we heard Democrats claim that “no president is above the law” when talking about Trump? So far, they’ve failed to make a case that Trump has acted above the law, because polls haven’t changed since they started the impeachment process. But, when Obama repeatedly acted above the law, they were nowhere to be found.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis