'A tragedy': Noam Chomsky slams Democrats for narrow focus of Trump’s impeachment trial

'A tragedy': Noam Chomsky slams Democrats for narrow focus of Trump’s impeachment trial
Noam Chomsky

Most of the criticism of the ways in which Democrats have handled President Donald Trump’s impeachment have come from the far right, although some Never Trump conservatives have praised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and other Democrats. However, author/journalist Noam Chomsky has criticized Trump’s impeachment from the left — not because he is pro-Trump, but because he believes the impeachment has been much too narrow.


In an interview with Law & Crime, the 91-year-old Chomsky asserted, “I think the impeachment process, which avoids Trump’s major crimes and keeps to the fact that he tried to harm a prominent Democrat…. will end up being a gift to Trump and may send him back to office. A tragedy.”

Drawing a parallel between the Ukraine scandal of 2019 and 2020 and the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, Chomsky told Law & Crime that in both cases, Democrats in Congress didn’t consider Republican presidents impeachable until they went after the affluent and the powerful. In Watergate, burglars broke into Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in Washington, D.C. — and President Richard Nixon was facing articles of impeachment in the U.S. House of Representatives for his efforts to cover that crime up. And in the Ukraine scandal, Trump tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

Chomsky told Law & Crime, “Same as Watergate — there was an attempt by Robert Drinan to include Nixon‘s real crimes, like the bombing of Cambodia, in the bill of impeachment. But that was cut out, and the focus was on an attack on Democrats, much as today.”

The late Father Robert Drinan was a left-wing Jesuit priest who was vehemently opposed to the Vietnam War and served in the U.S. House of Representatives via Massachusetts in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Chomsky attacked Trump for his draconian immigration policy and his position on climate change, but lamented that Democrats don’t consider those things impeachable — it took an attack on the Bidens for House Democrats to impeach Trump.

“The worst crimes by far are those that literally threaten human survival, not in the distant future: (Trump’s) policies on escalating global warming and the race to develop still more destructive weapons,” Chomsky told Law&Crime. “But the Dems would never agree that these are ‘high crimes.’”

Looking back on Nixon’s presidency, Chomsky argued that similarly, House Democrats  of the 1970s went after Republicans for committing crimes against the DNC but not for the death of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton or U.S. foreign policy in Asia.

“The message appears to be the same: a real crime is attacking the powerful,” Chomsky stressed. “It’s OK to murder Fred Hampton or to send children to concentration camps and all the rest but not to undermine those with power here.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.