Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday morning that the chairmen of six House committees would prepare draft articles of impeachment against President Trump for review and approval by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. The announcement commits the Democrats to pushing ahead with the impeachment of Trump, which would lead to a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate.
While Pelosi’s formal statement was full of historical allusions, invoking the words of James Madison, Gouverneur Morris, George Mason and Benjamin Franklin, the real driving force of the impeachment campaign is far more contemporary: the raging conflict over foreign policy within the US ruling elite, and the efforts by the national-security apparatus, with the Democrats as political frontmen, to prepare the American people for war with Russia.
Pelosi began her statement by quoting from the Declaration of Independence, “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another,” Pelosi read, before referring to the “grievances” that the colonists elaborated to justify this separation from the British monarchy.
What, however, are the grievances of the Democratic Party in relation to Trump? Pelosi summed it up in her press conference following the statement: “This isn’t about Ukraine. This is about Russia. Who benefited by our withholding—withholding that military assistance? Russia. It’s about Russia. Russia is invading eastern Ukraine … our adversary is Russia. All roads lead to Putin. Understand that.”
In her statement, Pelosi denounced Trump’s effort to enlist the support of the president of Ukraine for his reelection bid by having Ukraine publicly announce an investigation into Hunter Biden, son of former vice president Joe Biden, one of Trump’s main challengers. “His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution,” she said. “Our democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.”
Pelosi claimed that Trump was engaged in the type of action that the drafters of the Constitution feared when they provided for impeachment and warned of the danger of foreign intervention. The comparison is preposterous: the drafters of the Constitution were seeking to defend a small and weak republic from the interference of powerful empires.
Today it is the United States that maintains a worldwide empire, with more than 700 military bases around the world and military spending greater than the next dozen countries combined. For more than two decades, US governments have sought to subjugate Ukraine and use it as a base for political subversion and military operations against Russia, culminating in a fascist-led coup in 2014 that brought the present regime to power.
Trump’s interference with that long-term reactionary covert operation, reflecting differences within the ruling class over foreign policy, is what sparked the response, first by the CIA (through the anonymous “whistleblower”) and now by Pelosi, a CIA political spokeswoman for 25 years.
The most powerful Democrat in Washington is not genuinely concerned about a threat to American democracy. On the contrary, the anti-Russia campaign has included demands for censorship of the internet and the suppression of alleged “fake news,” whose purpose is to block any independent or critical reporting of the crimes being committed by American imperialism on a daily basis.
Pelosi is not really troubled by the possibility of manipulation in the 2020 presidential election. If she were, she would be sounding the alarm about the intervention of billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who seeks to buy the Democratic presidential nomination and, if possible, the White House, by spending lavishly from his $53 billion fortune.
Nor is she concerned about the real crimes which Donald Trump has committed against working people, from the persecution of immigrants and refugees to his constant appeals to racist and fascist forces and to the police, for the purpose of building support for authoritarian rule. In her press conference, Pelosi barely mentioned Trump’s decision to change the rules for administering food stamps to cut another 700,000 people off the program, an action that will lead to widespread suffering and hundreds if not thousands of premature deaths.
Pelosi is speaking as the tribune of a powerful section of the national security apparatus which has been at odds with Trump over foreign policy even before he entered the White House. Significantly, she responded to suggestions that the Democrats were proceeding too hastily towards impeachment by declaring, “We feel comfortable with all of the time that has gone into this—two and a half years since the appointment of Mueller and all that transpired since then.”
This amounts to an acknowledgement that the impeachment inquiry is simply a continuation, using other pretexts, of the anti-Russia campaign that has been waged in the media and through the military-intelligence apparatus since before the 2016 election. Its purpose is to force Trump to maintain the hardline foreign policy stance adopted during the Obama administration, which targeted both Russian influence in the Middle East (Syria) and the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, where NATO is deploying military forces and constantly drilling for war with Russia.
In the conflict between Trump and the Democrats, both sides are reactionary defenders of American imperialism. Their differences are purely tactical, over whether Russia or China should be the priority target, and what mix of economic pressure and military provocation should be employed to impose American world domination.
Both the fascistic Trump and the Democratic advocates of the CIA and Pentagon are deadly enemies of the American and international working class. The working class needs a political alternative: the building of an independent mass political movement of working people, opposed to both the Republicans and the Democrats, and fighting for a socialist and antiwar program.
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