Impeachment Superlatives

Impeachment seems to be all the rage these days for Kentuckians.

Both Republican U.S. senators from our state, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and junior Rand Paul, continue to play featured roles in Washington, as Donald Trump’s second impeachment heads to trial. Meanwhile, a special impeachment committee has been formed in the Kentucky House to consider a petition to remove Gov. Andy Beshear from office. Recently, two other impeachment petitions have been filed — one against Republican state Rep. Robert Goforth and the other against Republican Attorney General Dan Cameron.

Each is special in its own way. If you’re trying to keep up with them, but not sure how, here’s an easy guide to all the impeachments.

Most Obvious Impeachment:

Let’s just get this out of the way. Rep. Goforth was arrested and indicted over the summer for allegedly abusing and strangling his wife with an Ethernet cord. Citing the domestic abuse, plus using his office for personal financial gain, 10 petitioners are seeking his removal from office. This feels like it should be an easy one (a guy can’t show up to work if he’s in prison…), but we’ll see.

Most Delusional Impeachment:

The petitioners seeking to remove Gov. Beshear from office accuse him of violating the rights of Kentuckians through executive orders he issued early last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is like trying to pass off a plastic Kroger bag as genuine Prada. The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in November that Beshear had the authority under the Kentucky Constitution and state laws to issue the emergency orders, which were challenged by AG Cameron. “The governor’s orders were, and continue to be, necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of all Kentucky citizens,” reads the Supreme Court’s decision. Given that this impeachment petition was filed on Jan. 8 — two days after the failed insurrection of the U.S. Capitol (at then-President Trump’s urging), which led to immediate calls for a second impeachment of Trump — this looks and feels like a cheap knockoff.

Most Popular Impeachment:

The Trump trial will certainly garner most of the media’s and public’s attention. But, while it’s important that the former occupant of the White House be held politically (and eventually criminally) accountable for inciting a riot and insurrection of the U.S. Capitol, Trump’s impeachment is more theoretically important to Kentuckians — establishing standards and safeguards to protect our democratic processes and institutions — than it is practically important.

Most Important Impeachment:

The petition to impeach AG Cameron might be the last opportunity for transparency, accountability and justice for Breonna Taylor. Among the petitioners are three jurors from the grand jury trial for which Cameron was the special prosecutor. The integrity of Cameron’s handling of the Taylor investigation has long been in question; in particular, after one of the jurors filed a motion in court asking to be released from their confidentiality so they could publicly dispute Cameron’s account of his presentation to the jury. This impeachment petition, which accuses Cameron of “misdemeanors in office,” could finally compel the AG to provide the kind of transparency he has so far successfully averted. The petitions states, “[AG] Cameron falsely claimed that certain evidence before the Grand Jury did not exist and gave incorrect and inaccurate versions of the actual factual evidence before the Grand Jury, thereby diminishing the liability of persons potentially criminally liable for wrongdoing and defaming the name and reputation of Ms. Taylor, her friends and family.” Unlike the four petitioners seeking Beshear’s removal (who must have studied law at the same non-existent law school as Rand Paul), these are credible sources leveling serious allegations. Do I think there’s actually a chance Cameron is removed from office? No. Impeachment is a political process, and the Republican supermajorities in the state legislature ensure Cameron’s position is safe. The impeachment process, however, could still prove critical, regardless of whether or not Cameron is removed from office — or an appropriate prosecution is brought against the officers responsible for killing Breonna Taylor. The truth of the AG’s prosecution could glean critical flaws in the justice system and lead lawmakers to enact reforms that ensure transparency, accountability and equal justice in the future. The committee can also ask Cameron why he’s still on the executive committee of the Republican Attorneys General Association — an organization that paid for robocalls to Trump supporters, calling on them to march to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

I just can’t wait to see how many times Republicans can end up on the wrong side of an impeachment.