The Mueller report, with its detailed allegations that Donald Trump obstructed justice by trying to impede the special counsel's investigation into the issue of possible collusion with Russia to sway the 2016 election, has revived discussion about whether impeachment proceedings should be brought against the president.

But there may be a far more fundamental and urgent reason for impeaching Trump that has little or nothing to do with Mueller's investigation. This reason is based on Trump's white supremacist immigration agenda, consisting of his many actions to exclude and expel brown, black and Muslim immigrants because of their race or religion, in violation of our constitution's guarantees of equality for all people.

In 1868, just over 150 years ago, President Andrew Johnson was impeached (though not removed from office) for his agenda of attempting to uphold white supremacy as the law of the land. A look back at this history is instructive.

Yoni Appelbaum, a journalist and historian who previously taught at Harvard and is now the senior editor of The Atlantic, relates the history of Andrew Johnson's impeachment proceedings in that magazine's March issue. See:

Impeach Trump Now

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/03/impeachment-trump/580468/

Appelbaum writes:

"The case before the United States in 1868 bears striking similarities to the case before the country now - and no president in history more resembles the 45th than the 17th...

No one ever thought Johnson would be president. Then, in 1865, Booth's bullet put him in office. The end of the war exposed how different Johnson's own agenda was from the policies favored by Lincoln. Johnson wanted to reintegrate the South into the Union as quickly as possible, devoid of slavery but otherwise little changed. Most congressional Republicans, by contrast, wanted to seize the moment to build a new social order in the South, enshrining equality and protecting civil rights."


Appelbaum continues:

"The two visions were irreconcilable...
Congressional Republicans approved the Fourteenth Amendment...and passed the Civil Rights Act. Taken together, these measures established the equality of Americans before the law..They amounted to nothing less than a social revolution, a promise that America belonged to all Americans, not just to white men."


He then describes Johnson's agenda by contrast:

"Johnson and his supporters found this intolerable. In federal efforts to establish racial equality, they saw anti-white discrimination. Johnson vetoed the Civil Rights Act, insisting that 'the distinction of race and color is by the bill made to operate in favor of the colored and against the white race.'"

Congressional Republicans overrode the veto.

Appelbaum next goes on to describe the dilemma of having a president who was in charge of administering laws which he had tried to block, and how both Congressional Republicans and some of Johnson's own cabinet members tried to restrain his extremist views.

It was only when white mobs started rampaging in order to terrorize and slaughter black people trying to exercise their right to vote, and Johnson refused to take action because, in Applebaum's words:Johnson wanted to:

"...build a constituency more loyal to him than to either party."

Finally impeachment proceedings were begun because of Johnson's firing of the Secretary of War in an action that was meant to defy a law preventing him form undermining reconstruction. While Johnson survived removal from office by only one vote, Appelbaum write that Congress was able to take back control of reconstruction, and Johnson was help back from continuing ot block the progress of racial equality by the threat of another impeachment proceeding.

However, ultimately Johnson's racist agenda won out. Appelbaum writes:

"Johnson had said he was fighting to preserve a 'white man's government', and for the next century,that's what the country largely had."

For this reason, Appelbaum concludes, historians have looked on Johnson's impeachment as a failure, because not only did he survive the vote to remove him from office, but his white supremacist agenda held sway for the next 100 years, until the 1960's civil rights movement.speared by another president Johnson.

Donald Trump is now trying to reverse this movement toward racial equality and equal justice, using immigration as the main battleground.

Just as impeachment proceedings were successful in at least temporarily slowing down Andrew Johnson's illegal and unconstitutional white supremacist agenda, shouldn't they be used now to do the same thing with Donald Trump's illegal and unconstitutional white supremacist immigration agenda, which is already damaging the rights to racial and religious equality for millions of Americans who employ immigrants, have immigrant family members, or worship together with immigrants?

These questions will be discussed further in my forthcoming comments.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law