CINCINNATI (WKRC) – Retired appeals court judge Mark Painter has handed down a lot of opinions over a 30-year career on the bench.
His opinion on fellow Republican President Donald Trump is terse and to the point: Impeach him now.
“America is in danger from one of the most incompetent presidents we’ve ever had and I think we ought to start the process,” Painter told Local 12 via Skype from Orlando, Florida Wednesday afternoon. “The president of the United States sticking up for his family’s enterprises and using public money and features to do it and the power of his office to help his own personal family business is beyond belief.”
Painter says he is convinced Trump’s actions have crossed the threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors” required for articles of impeachment. He says Trump’s ties to his business empire violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause every time a foreign government does business with one of his developments or hotels. Painter says the questionable, pre-inauguration connection between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and a Russian diplomat is a problem not just for Flynn, but also for Trump.
“Obviously the president knew about Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador way before Trump was sworn in. That would certainly be, by itself, an impeachable offense.”
Painter, a lifetime Republican, has called upon U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, to start the impeachment process. A Chabot staffer said that won’t happen, because the president has not done anything that is “grounds for impeachment.” Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, suggested that everyone take a deep breath.
“Let’s take a look and see what facts are out there,” Wenstrup told Local 12’s Duane Pohlman. “I don’t think that’s an appropriate conversation at this time.”
Painter obviously disagrees and says impeachment may not be imminent but is likely.
“We grow immune to it, because every day there’s something worse or as bad as the day before. I think there is a lot more likelihood as we go forward, because more and more things will come out.”
Painter served as a Hamilton County Municipal Court judge from 1982-1995. He sat on the Ohio First District Court of Appeals bench from 1995-2009.