Once again: should Trump be impeached?

Here’s a short video on CNN by the always sensible Fareed Zakaria on the possibility (and desirability) of Trump being impeached. He’s also put the text of this talk in a Washington Post piece called, “Democrats, there’s a better strategy than impeachment.” Listen (click on the screenshot to access the video) and/or read:

What is “Fareed’s take”?  It’s that the Democrats should “pursue legitimate investigations of Trump” that will educate the nation about what he did (certainly a lot of malfeasance), but not pursue a full impeachment trial. Remember, the House can impeach, which means just bringing charges, by a simple majority, while the trial itself, determining whether Trump should be removed from office, takes place in the Senate, where a 2/3 majority is required to convict. That won’t happen—not given what we know so far about the Mueller report.

Instead, says Zakaria—and here I agree with him—right now the Democrats need to be putting forth policies, and trying to unite around those policies, instead of trying to punish Trump with an impeachment trial. Remember, even if Trump is successfully impeached and convicted, that makes Pence the President. Perhaps, too, a removal from office could help the Democrats in 2020, but the likelihood of a successful impeachment is so small that, as Zakaria and others have noted, the specter of a Democrat-dominated trial of Trump may actually help the President get re-elected.

A short excerpt of Fareed’s Take (my emphasis):

Consider, for a moment, what the growing talk of impeachment among Democrats sounds like to the tens of millions of people who voted for President Trump. Many of them supported him because they felt ignored, mocked and condescended to by the country’s urban, educated and cosmopolitan elites — especially lawyers and journalists. So what happens when their guy gets elected? These same elites pursue a series of maneuvers to try to overturn the results of the 2016 election. It would massively increase the class resentment that feeds support for the president. It would turn the topic away from his misdeeds and toward the Democrats’ overreach and obsessions. And ultimately, of course, it would fail — two-thirds of this Republican-controlled Senate would not vote to convict him — allowing Trump to brandish his “acquittal” as though it were a gold medal.

. . .For some Democrats, impeachment talk might be a smart, if cynical, short-term calculation. If you are running for the Democratic nomination and languishing in the polls, it is a way to get attention. If you are consolidating your support with the party’s base, the more fiercely anti-Trump you are, the better. But all these moves work only as long as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slow-rolls the process and stops it from getting out of hand. Others can be irresponsible on the assumption that Pelosi will be responsible. But what if things snowball, as they often do in politics?

The Democrats have a much better path in front of them. They should pursue legitimate investigations of Trump, bring in witnesses and release documentary proof of wrongdoing, providing a national education about the way Trump has operated as president. But they should, at the same time, show the public that they would be a refreshing contrast to Trump — substantive, policy-oriented, civil and focused on the country, not on their narrow base. America is tired of the circus of Trump. That doesn’t mean they want the circus of the House Democrats.

The president is vulnerable. With strong economic numbers, he has astonishingly low approval ratings. He will likely run his 2020 campaign on cultural nationalism, as he did in 2016. Democrats need to decide what their vision will be. That should be their focus, not the unfounded hope that if they pursue impeachment, somehow a series of miracles will take place — a deeply divided country will coalesce around them, and Republicans will finally abandon their president.

The real challenge the Democrats face goes beyond Trump. It is Trumpism — a right-wing populism that has swelled in the United States over the past decade. Surely the best way to take it on is to combat it ideologically and defeat it electorally. That is the only way to give the Democrats the real prize, which is not Trump’s scalp but the power and legitimacy to forge a governing majority.

I think he’s right here, but the animus of House Democrats against Trump is so strong, and the country so divided, that I wonder if any Democratic coalescence is possible. For even the Dems are divided, with the centrists or more moderate Democrats fighting the Democratic socialists and “progressive” Democrats. Those progressives will do anything they can, I think, to bring down Trump, even at the expense of their own party. It’s times like these that I think it was a good thing that Nancy Pelosi remained Speaker of the House. In my view, she still has her eyes on the prize. And imagine what would happen if a “Progressive” were in charge!

And a vote:

 

From Rob Rogers via reader Linda

h/t: Paul

124 Comments

  1. Posted April 29, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe that impeachment would lead to conviction. I believe it’s more important to make sure that Trump is not re-elected in 2020, and that impeachment would rile up his base as well as some fence-sitters.

  2. Mark R.
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Heather Hastie had some excerpts from Zakaria’s piece; I mostly agree with him. At the same time, I don’t think that not proceeding because the Senate won’t follow through is a losing argument. This isn’t like Clinton, not even close.

    Either way, I voted “too early to tell”. Investigations, open hearings and such haven’t even started yet. Trump’s stonewalling doesn’t look good either though. I doubt people on the fence like Independents are falling for Trump’s lies as he flaunts the law. “Mr. law and order” my ass. Nothing looks as guilty as someone desperately trying to block anything and anyone associated with said guilt.

    • Rita Prangle
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      +1

    • darrelle
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      “Heather Hastie had some excerpts from Zakaria’s piece; I mostly agree with him. At the same time, I don’t think that not proceeding because the Senate won’t follow through is a losing argument.”

      I agree. Though I also agree that there is some merit to them, I am really sick of arguments that amount to “That’s a bad thing to do because of the way Trump supporters are likely to react.” I think these types of excuses have been god’s proverbial gift to the Republicans for decades now. Don’t do the right thing or else the people in the wrong might get mad and . . ., what? Continue doing what they’ve been doing?

      Fareed uses this type of argument here.

      “It would massively increase the class resentment that feeds support for the president. It would turn the topic away from his misdeeds and toward the Democrats’ overreach and obsessions.”

      Continuing investigations that have resulted in many more indictments, guilty pleas, guilty verdicts and jail sentences than any other investigation of similar kind in history, in record short time, is overreach and obsession? It’s all a deep-state conspiracy right? Even though Republicans have held the majority of the reigns for all but 4 or so years out of the past decades somehow those sneaky Democrats have so much power that they can get a bunch of Republican administration people busted! Right? Even more impressive they can shield the Clintons from many times the years of special counsel investigations even while the Republicans held all the cards! Right? I think that anyone who thinks so at this point is extremely unlikely to be persuaded otherwise no matter what. They are going to support Trump or punish the Democrats no matter what happens.

      The main problem I see, certainly in the past and I see signs of it now too, is the pernicious effects of the Big Lie tactics. Even many on the more liberal side have their attitudes adjusted. The greatest example of course being the attitudes of many of those of a more liberal bent towards Hillary Clinton. Ranging from those who simply feel she’s a dirtbag thought they can’t say why, she just is, to those who believe Big Lies about her even though they have clearly been shown to be inaccurate. Where there’s smoke there’s fire, right? I’m seeing this in the plaints of TDS coming from “our side.” And most especially hysterical is “The Barr letter says Trump is exonerated, it’s over, give up the obsession!” What exactly are we supposed to give up? Why? Why would anyone believe anything Barr had to say? I thought we were supposed to be carefully skeptical?

      • eric
        Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Don’t do the right thing or else the people in the wrong might get mad and . . ., what?

        Well, i imagine that moderate conservatives in both the House (and Senate) are MUCH less likely to vote for Dem-sponsored legislation if the Dems are proceeding with impeachment in the House. Mitch MocConnell, in particular; I can easily imagine him saying the Senate won’t consider any legislation about health care until the impeachment proceedings are completed, just to screw up the Dems and put them in the really bad public light of “you had a choice to go after Trump or fix health care, and you chose not to fix our health care.” On the House side, it will probably play out more like “gee, I’ll happily vote for this bipartisan bill…after you stop pursuing impeachment.”

        This may be naive, but I think most US liberals are sophisticated enough in their political understanding to get this – to get that impeachment is a part of the horse-trading. Thus, the Dems in the House giving it up is not necessarily going to be seen as “letting him get away with it,” and I don’t think they’ll pay much of a cost with liberal voters if they do give it up. (Also, IMO the dems are not letting Trump get away with it by dropping impeachment any more than a prosecutor deciding they have an unwinnable case is “letting the defendant get away with it.” Sometimes, reality does not support justice. It sucks, but it happens. Time to get over it and move on.)

        • darrelle
          Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

          Republicans have shown nearly 0 bipartisanship on anything of any substance in decades. We keep hoping for a significant breach of some sort. That enough Republicans to matter will finally, one day, on one issue, be so bothered by their consciences that they will break with their party when it really matters.

          Hasn’t happened yet despite many seriously egregious circumstances. I don’t think this is much of a concern because I think it is very unlikely that enough Republicans, if any, would break from McConnell’s orders to make any difference and McConnell has stated and demonstrated many times over that he will never work with Democrats.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted April 29, 2019 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          “… moderate conservatives in both the House (and Senate) …

          The moderate conservatives in the House — guys like Pennsylvania’s Charlie Dent and Ryan Costello — called it quits before the 2016 election. As they observed in doing so, the Republican Party they joined doesn’t exist anymore; it’s Trump’s party now.

          • Posted April 30, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

            Which I think may explain his “continued” high support – after all, if Trump is ever the only republican left he will presumably have 100% support amongst republicans.

      • Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        “Continuing investigations that have resulted in many more indictments, guilty pleas, guilty verdicts and jail sentences than any other investigation of similar kind in history, in record short time, is overreach and obsession?”

        I am afraid it looks like something even worse: witch-hunt.

        • darrelle
          Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

          I know the accusation well, but I don’t get it coming from people like you mayamarkov (meaning people who favor evidence based reasoning). Looking at all the evidence you think the investigations of Trump, his people and Russian meddling are unwarranted? Given the results we’ve seen so far, given the evidence that has come to light so far, why do you think so? Do you disbelieve it all? Or do you think all the charges are trivial? Do you think there is a deep-state that the Democrats somehow control? I don’t think those positions are reasonable.

          • tomh
            Posted April 29, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

            What gives you the idea that mayamarkov favors evidence-based reasoning? I have seen no signs of that.

          • Posted April 29, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

            Trump’s vassal behavior towards Putin and Russia is, to put it mildly, very suspicious. However, the investigation needed facts, not suspicions (after all, Trump may just be crazy). I admit I have not followed the story in detail, but from what I know, a number of people from Trump’s team have been investigated, some charged, some convicted, and not one because of Russian meddling (rather tax violations and others of this sort – and while I believe these charges, I do think they are trivial). So my opinion is that the probe was carried out by dragging one by one members of Trump’s circle and throwing charges at them until some sticked, in the hope that someone would talk and divulge the needed information. To me, this is witch hunt. And I am retracting what I wrote before on this site that Trump is “whining like a 3-yr-old” about the convictions – it is normal to whine when people are thrown in prison for working for you and you cannot do anything about it.

            About the so-called “deep state”: I am not sure what others understand by this, but I find the repressive course of the Mueller investigation very worrying, more than anything it could find out (which it didn’t anyway). This is abuse of state power and should cause alarm.

            • GBJames
              Posted April 29, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

              I admit I have not followed the story in detail

              Pick up a copy of the Mueller Report.

            • darrelle
              Posted April 30, 2019 at 6:37 am | Permalink

              There is not a single thing out of the ordinary about the way the investigations into Trump campaign associates were started or the Mueller investigation, or the way they have been executed. Not a thing.

              As GB James responded, I encourage you to pick up a copy of the Mueller report and read it.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted April 29, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          If this is a witch hunt, Maya, that makes the Trump administration Act 1, Scene 1 of Macbeth. 🙂

    • Posted April 29, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      …..”flouts” the law.

  3. alexander
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    This could be problematic. He might declare war on Iran for example, in an attempt to block/stave off impeachment. And who knows, a war might fortify his chances in 2020.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Now you’ve frightened me. How many innocent Iranians would have to die to bolster tRump’s re-election chances?

      (Ask any Iraqi. They know, to their cost).

      cr

  4. JezGrove
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I agree with Douglas E. Impeachment would be counterproductive, since there is zero chance of it getting through the Senate and it would only enliven Trump’s base.

  5. Historian
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Virtually every pundit has weighed in on the impeachment question, pro or con. This is one of the situations where there are good arguments on both sides. There are three points that are incontestable.

    1. Trump has committed the impeachable offense of obstruction of justice multiple times as well as violating campaign finance laws.

    2. There is zero chance of him being removed by the Senate even if he is impeached by the House.

    3. The majority of people do not want to see Trump impeached, although 58% believe that he lied during the Mueller investigation, per an ABC poll.

    The argument for impeachment is a moral one. Elizabeth Drew, a respected columnist since Watergate days and far from a radical progressive, puts in this way: “The Democrats may succeed in avoiding a tumultuous, divisive fight over impeachment now. But if they choose to ignore clear abuses of the Constitution, they’ll also turn a blind eye to the precedent they’re setting and how feckless they’ll look in history.”

    The argument against impeachment is political: It will hurt Democrats more than help. It is believed that an impeachment hearing in the House would allow Trump to continue yelping “No collusion, no obstruction,” resulting in him gaining sympathy votes for being hounded by mad dog Democrats. This is an assumption that may not be true. Somehow, those who oppose impeachment believe that Democrats cannot pursue an attractive agenda while investigating impeachment. This is ridiculous. There is no reason why they cannot do both.

    So, whether or not to pursue impeachment is a tough call. It is certainly the moral duty of Democrats to investigate Trump, otherwise as Drew notes, it will establish a bad precedent when the next Trump comes along. Political expediency could jeopardize democracy. On the other hand, Democrats need to do everything they can to avoid helping Trump. My less than satisfying conclusion is that the Democrats need to go full bore in investigating Trump. Every one of his crimes need to be exposed, including those he committed in business. After the investigations are concluded, Democrats should see how the nation stands on impeachment. If there is a solid majority for it, they should impeach in the House, even with the knowledge that the Senate will not convict and remove. If the nation is still against impeachment (which would be a very poor reflection on the American people) then perhaps a motion of censure in the House would be in order. The balancing act between doing what is right and political expediency is very difficult. I hope the Democrats don’t fall off the tightrope.

    https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/31-trump-exonerated-mueller-report-56-oppose-impeachment/story?id=62659425

    • Posted April 30, 2019 at 4:57 am | Permalink

      +1. You don’t have to win in the Senate to win in the big picture.

      • Posted April 30, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        Not sure. If Trump is able to crow from the President’s bully pulpit that he has been proven innocent twice, once by Mueller and again by the Senate, I fear that many voters will believe him.

        • merilee
          Posted April 30, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          That’s what concerns me, too, Paul.

        • GBJames
          Posted April 30, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          Trump crows regardless. Not acting on something for fear that Trump will crow at his rallies does nothing but grant him veto power over civic action. It is pretty much worst reason for not doing something, IMO.

          • Posted April 30, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

            I don’t understand your position at all. In general, prosecutors won’t bring cases to trial that they don’t think they can win. The benefit of presenting evidence in court does not outweigh losing. How is this different?

            • GBJames
              Posted April 30, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

              The decision whether to impeach or not should be made on whether here evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors and if the official in question a danger to the institutions by which the country runs. The public needs to be educated about said crimes and misdemeanors. That is what pubic hearings are for. Assuming that said hearings make evidence sufficiently clear, public opinion will change. At that point a trial in the Senate is much more likely to succeed.

              Whatever happens, Trump will bloviate and strut. For the Congress not to proceed with what is their Constitutional obligation, for fear that Trump will be Trump would be the height of irresponsibility.

              And it is incredibly stupid to grant Trump a veto over what Congress does for fear he will say stupid/obnoxious/wrong things. His base will follow him to the gates of Hell. And he will lead them there with lies, bigotry, and all manner of outrageous claims.

              Since when do prosecutors fail to bring charges for fear the defendant will say something afterwards?

              • Posted April 30, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

                I’m all for having the public hearings. Unlike with a proper legal trial, it is possible to obtain witness testimony without going proceeding to a decision. When people suggest that the Dems not attempt to impeach Trump, they are talking about stopping short of sending articles of impeachment to a trial in the Senate. Full speed on the public hearings by all means! With the Senate controlled by McConnell and those who will vote in favor of Trump, it would be crazy to take it to a judgment, IMHO.

            • GBJames
              Posted April 30, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

              I’m particularly taking exception to the “Trump will crow” perspective.

  6. littleboybrew
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I don’t see the need to commit to impeachment right now. But open investigations into all of his crimes, drag his name through the mud. Then decide if impeachment is the right thing to do.

  7. Neil Wolfe
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    To impeach or not to impeach? Why are Republicans never bothered by such questions? There were TEN Benghazi investigations and the Republicans appear to have paid zero price for their vigorous oversight of the executive branch. The stated objective of the Republican congress during the first Obama term was to deny Obama a second term. Now that the roles are reversed Democrats are wringing their hands over how to perform their oversight duties. Why can’t they get their shit together?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      When current House Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy was asked by Sean Hannity in 2016 about the successes of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives under Obama, he pointed out that its Benghazi special committee investigation had tanked Hillary Clinton’s public-approval polling numbers.

      That was, after all, its raison d’être.

    • Posted April 30, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Because Republicans are brazen hypocrites?

    • Posted April 30, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      The Benghazi investigations were only investigations that sought to identify prosecutable crimes. Dems have no problems with doing more investigations. I hope they don’t investigate the same thing over and over again without finding anything like the GOP did but Trump has so many shady avenues to investigate that there’s little fear of that. The Dems fear of impeachment with its bought-and-paid-for jury (the GOP-dominant Senate) is another thing entirely.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 30, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        Someone needs to “follow the money,” to investigate what undisclosed foreign conflicts of interest Donald Trump has. I’d hoped Mueller might do that with regard to Trump’s financial entanglements with Russia, but that was apparently beyond the scope of the special counsel’s remit.

        • Posted April 30, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          There’s also satisfaction in seeing the Trump family squirm against the Deutsche Bank and tax return subpoenas.

          • merilee
            Posted April 30, 2019 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

            Saw a news banner on the subway late tonight thst Trump is suing Deutsche Bsnk??? What a moron.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted May 1, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

              Deutsche bank could be the pivot point of the whole Trump-Russian relationship.

              Deutsche was the only major bank that would lend Trump money after he burned so many American banks with his Atlantic City casino bust-outs. And Deutsche is a known Russian dirty-money laundromat, having been fined tens of billions of dollars for washing hundreds of billions of dollars in filthy Russian oligarch lucre, and additional investigations ongoing.

              Trump seems deathly afraid that anyone will get their hands on either of two things: his Deutsche bank records or his tax returns.

              • merilee
                Posted May 1, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

                So the idiot is prophylactically suing thrm?

              • Posted May 1, 2019 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

                Isn’t it likely that Trump lied about his financials in order to obtain loans from Deutsche Bank and that his tax returns will help make that case? On the other hand, wouldn’t DB require a peek at his tax returns as part of the loan process? Perhaps that only applies to us non-billionaires.

  8. yazikus
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I don’t know what the solution is here. On the one hand, I’m inclined to think of toothless parenting – if you never follow through on stated consequences for bad behavior you’re going to end up with far worse issues.
    On the other hand, it might really not do any good? Also, Pence is terrifying.

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I really liked Historians comments on this issue. Are we coming closer together on this? Anyway, Heather has a very good posting on this that everyone should see.

    We have to remember it is still a long way to election time and there are several other investigations going on that could be very important in Trump’s removal or not. Things like is taxes, his money making while in office, influence peddling, money laundering and maybe, where all his money came from. At the same time, for those who remember the Watergate days – the hearings throughout the summer of 1973 is what educated the people on Nixon. It could be the same here if they do it correctly. The republicans did not turn on Nixon until the very end when all the evidence was in front of their face. These people may be very slow but they can be lead to the correct view if you give them all the info on TV where they don’t have to read.

    If all you had from John Dean was the written testimony it would not fly – nothing like the TV version. Another thought I have is on Mueller. I believe he could have done better but we have to live with what we have. Maybe it will help to hear him. Remember, the constitution does not say anything about indicting a president. This is simply in house department of justice crap. A bolder prosecutor might have said indict. The number of obstructions alone call for it.

    • Jon Gallant
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      The Watergate precedent differs from the present situation in two important respects. (1) The Democrats had a majority in Congress, including the Senate and the relevant Senate Committee. (2) On that Committee sat two Republican senators of unusual integrity, Howard Baker and Lowell Weicker (who later became an Independent). Other GOP Senators, including Goldwater, were not such toadies as Mitch McConnell & Co. are today.

      I agree with Zakaria, who advises that the Democrats investigate everything (including Trump’s likely tax frauds), but forbear to create an impeachment circus, at least unless something unquestionably criminal turns up. Attempted collusion isn’t quite that.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted April 29, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        The most important thing we are yet missing of the Watergate example are hearings themselves. We have had none so far. What the hell are they waiting for. All this time they said, oh, the Mueller report. Well, so know they have it and we still have no hearings in progress. The numbers of republicans/democrats in congress means very little. They did not have the votes in the Senate to get rid of Nixon, except it didn’t matter. He thought they did and he gave it up.

        Attempted collusion we are told is not a crime. So what? Impeachment does not require a crime, this is not a court. If your number one man in the election campaign, Manafort, provides the Russians with polling data for their use on the internet in Facebook and other platforms in specific regions, based on that polling data, what do you call that. It looks like conspiracy to me. The Roger Stone angle will also be conspiracy as this comes out. So we have conspiracy and a whole bag full of obstruction just for starters. Zakaria is a wimp who appears afraid of the word, impeachment. Each Congressmen should go back and look at the oath they took and see if it means anything.

  10. darrelle
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    When it comes to a final position I am currently at “Too Early To Tell.” And that is based purely on pragmatism. I think that there is absolutely zero doubt about whether or not Trump should be impeached. If ever there were a president from which the mechanism of impeachment was devised to protect the nation from by the people who created our system of government, it is Trump.

    I think many people, including among the press, don’t understand or at least seem to have a problem keeping straight that impeachment is a political process, not a judicial process. The congress and the senate do not need to prove anything in the legal sense. They are free to decide whether or not a president is fit for office based on nothing but their assessment, without having to meet any specific codified standards.

    The Mueller Report by itself, let alone all the other data, should be more than enough to impeach Trump and in any earlier age he would have been. Based only on his public statements since the Mueller report was released, Trump should be impeached. Based only on what he has said at his rallies since he has been president Trump, should be impeached.

    I understand the practical reasons that may make actually pursuing impeachment less favorable, but as far as merit goes Trump merits impeachment. It is hard for me to understand any excuse for not agreeing that Trump merits impeachment except for ignorance (arrived at by any number of paths) or craven self interest. To my mind the Republicans of congress and the Senate, most especially Mitch McConnell, are traitors to their constituents and the country as a whole. No matter how bad the shit they’ve had to swallow they have continued to double down time after time in order to hang on to every last scrap they can glean for themselves no matter the cost to the country and everyone in it. The Trump presidency is a travesty for our country.

    But, at the moment I largely agree with Fareed about how the Democrats should proceed right now. Given the probability of widespread violence if impeachment happens it should be because a large majority of the public say it needs to happen. Public hearings, much like as happened in Watergate, seem like the best way to go right now.

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    The House of Representatives should pursue hearings in the oversight and intelligence committees first (despite Donald Trump’s blatantly unconstitutional efforts to block that testimony). In particular, the House should hear from former White House counsel Don McGahn, who was witness to all manner of attempted obstruction-of-justice efforts by Donald Trump to interfere with the Russia investigation. Indeed, McGahn himself was alone responsible (by his resignation, from which he was later talked back onto the reservation by Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon) for avoiding a mass-resignation constitutional crisis — one that would have made Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” pale by comparison — when he refused to follow Trump’s order to have Assistant AG Rod Rosenstein fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

    (When some Oliver Stone (JFK, Nixon, W.) or Adam McKay (Vice) films a movie version of the Mueller Report, the Don McGahn character will definitely be doing the voice-overs — and film’ll have a hell-on-wheels obstruction-of-justice montage sequence to rival the one from The Godfather where the baptism scenes are intercut with the scenes of the rival mob bosses getting shot in the eye on the massage table, in bed with the gumar, on the steps, in the elevator, and in the revolving door.) 🙂

    Anyway, once the that testimony has been adduced, the House judiciary committee should go forward with impeachment proceedings. If the rule of law means anything in this nation anymore, it means that the United States House of Representatives must do its constitutional duty — political considerations be damned. Let Trump be tried by the US senate, with the Chief Justice of the United State presiding. Let the American people see Trump’s arrant mendacity in full living color on live tv. And let them watch the Republicans wallow in their pusillanimity and hypocrisy (especially on the part of the Republicans left around from their 1999 vote to impeach Bill Clinton on obstruction charges).

    Moreover, any concerns that losing the impeachment trial in the US senate (as Democrats almost surely would, given the cowardice of the Republican senate caucus) would bode ill for Democratic electoral prospects in 2020 are based on a misreading of the failed Clinton impeachment. Although those impeachment proceedings improved Bill Clinton’s own personal approval numbers, they didn’t hurt Republicans in the 2000 election one bit. Republicans actually picked up seats in the House and held the Senate. And the presidential election, in which Al Gore should’ve stomped that little yokel George W. Bush, ended up much closer than it should have (the one-off SCOTUS opinion handing the victory to Dubya, and the butterfly ballot that caused some alter kockers in Palm Beach County to mistakenly vote for Pat Buchanan, notwithstanding).

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      I have a couple of legal questions on Mueller that seem to have gone political.

      Why not indict when you have so many obstructions to indict with. just because it is procedure in the department? Why not get this guy in a chair to testify? With all this evidence you just let it go because it will take time and a little fight in the courts?

      • darrelle
        Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Not that it’s worth much but my read on Mueller is that he was meticulously careful to avoid as much as possible giving any opportunities for accusations of bias. From what I understand he was instructed to abide by the October 16, 2000 DOJ opinion, updated December 10, 2018, claiming that it would be unconstitutional for a sitting president to be indicted. Of course he could have ignored that.

        What he seems to have done instead was carefully place the baton in the hands of Congress while strongly suggesting that the evidence supports impeachment. Which might have been the best approach. Trying to bring indictments against Trump directly probably would not have been effective. Instead of approaching it as trying to prove a case, he approached it as trying to disprove all the reasonable scenarios the evidence supported and showing that he couldn’t disprove some of them. Too subtle perhaps for the general public. The Mueller report needs a whole lot of unpacking to understand the Mueller Report and most voters won’t get it without a lot of help. As usual, I wish the press would do a better job of that.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        There is an opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) — who serve as sort of the lawyers’ lawyers within Main Justice — that says a sitting president cannot be indicted. (Mueller explains in Volume II of his report that he viewed that OLC opinion as binding upon him in preventing a final decision on indicting Donald Trump.) The OLC opinion has no precedential value outside DoJ, and the Supreme Court has never yet passed upon the constitutional question regarding a presidential indictment, so the Manhattan DA’s office or the Office of the New York State AG might still indict Trump, and thereby present a test case.

        As for why Mueller didn’t subpoena Trump to testify (which he had the absolute right to do under Supreme Court precedent from the Nixon and Clinton cases), I can’t say for sure. But my best guess is that Mueller thought Trump would play out the string with bogus claims of constitutional privilege, which could have taken a year or more to resolve in the courts, and that in the end, when Trump lost in the Court and had no other options, Trump would simply assert his 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, so all would’ve been for naught. Better to get shitty written non-answers, I suppose, than to wind up with no answers at all.

        It would have been politically unthinkable for any prior president to plead the Fifth (and Trump said only the guilty do so, when he was out bitching about Hillary’s email investigation on the campaign trail), but with Trump we’ve wandered off the charts into political terra incognita. He thinks, probably correctly, that his cult-of-personality base will stick by him no matter what he does — even were he to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, or to Take Five on live tv.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for the response. My two cents is that Mueller is such a by the book guy, and also a republican, he plays it safe. Throwing everything on the congress as if the congress will handle it. Maybe they will and maybe they will blow it. Maybe some of the other investigations will open it up, who knows.

  12. Posted April 29, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I think public impeachment hearings are the best way to make Trump’s wrong doings as detailed in the Mueller Report transparent to the public. So what if his supporters get riled up. They’re already riled up. And I don’t think independents will be turned off when they see the depths of Trump’s malfeasance.

  13. Posted April 29, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Based on the evidence available now, including in the Mueller report, my vote is no. The evidence is not enough to support a charge of high crimes and misdemeanors. If some new evidence is uncovered then reconsider.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      There are plenty of people doing time in federal prison right now on weaker obstruction-of-justice cases than Mueller makes out against Trump.

      Way I read Mr. Mueller’s report, there are at least five or six of the 10 or 11 obstruction-of-justice incidents set forth that would be strong enough to take to a jury as is.

      Let’s not define “high crimes and misdemeanors” out of existence. Do you think the Watergate case was any stronger against Nixon (excepting that that dumbass actually taped himself saying the kind of things that can be established through witness testimony and documentary evidence against Trump)?

      • Posted April 29, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I think the case was stronger against both Nixon, Clinton and W. Bush. Even though nothing was ever even discussed to any great extent against W.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted April 29, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          To say the case was stronger against Nixon than Trump is just not true. The obstruction against Trump goes on forever and in plain view. Witnesses everywhere. The case against trump is much more serious – Nixon was not dealing with foreign enemies to get re-elected. Not that he wouldn’t because he actually did to get elected the first time but that had nothing to do with Watergate. They have already indicted and convicted several, including Cohen, indicted for doing the payoffs for Trump to cover up his screwing around. Trump was an un-indicted co-conspirator on that twice. I am only giving you the surface stuff, there is more.

      • Posted April 29, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        There are a lot of people in prison for crimes that do not rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. Whether or not a crime was committed is not the test.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted April 29, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          What’s your test for “high crime,” OG?

          Obstruction of justice, a felony offense under 18 USC sections 1501-1521, was one of the “high crimes” included in the articles of impeachment voted out of Peter Rodino’s judiciary committee against Richard Nixon, and was one of the “high crimes” in the articles of impeachment on which Bill Clinton stood trial in the US senate.

          Nixon resigned in lieu of impeachment for trying unsuccessfully to cover up a “third-rate burglary,” and Clinton was impeached for lying about a blowjob. Donald Trump endeavored in a dozen ways to obstruct justice into a federal investigation of a hostile foreign government’s “sweeping and systematic” (Mueller’s words) interference with our national presidential election — interference which (as Volume I of the Mueller Report sets forth in detail, and as we with our own eyes witnessed) Donald Trump gleefully encouraged, accepted, and lied about.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted April 29, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

            +1

          • Lee
            Posted April 29, 2019 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

            Exactly. In addition, Trump has continued to block any preparation against Russian interference in our nation’s elections in the future. His oath includes protecting and defending, and he has shown extreme dereliction of that duty, to the extent that he it’s not incorrect to call him a de facto Russian asset.

            One question I have is whether adding the word “impeachment” to the investigations might provide any kind of legal advantage when it comes to obtaining documents or testimony. Also, whether it could help create a narrative of Trump’s criminality that might finally break through the blinders of at least some of the people? If people could see the investigations for themselves, week after week on C-Span, listen to the testimony, hear the sound bites repeated over and over, might this not be exactly what is needed to take the fight out of the hands of the talking heads and to the American people?

            Impeachment IS the Constitutional remedy for Trumpian levels of criminality BTW. Article 2 section 4 uses the word “shall”. If people are looking for signs of strength and conviction among the Democrats, mightn’t waffling about something so fundamental be seen as weakness? If Trump’s level of criminality isn’t the trigger, what would be?

            If Trump’s main appeal is that he looks tough (a powerful appeal for us primates), might it not be a good move for Democrats to just say “Screw the politics. Our duty is to the nation, to our children and future generations, and we will do what our oath of office prescribes.” A little of the “full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes” attitude might go farther in the eyes of a public raised on themes of patriotism than all the temporizing and hang-wringing about the things that could go wrong.

            Just my 2 cents…

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted April 29, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

              Right on, Lee.

  14. Robert Ryder
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I voted no, not because Trump doesn’t deserve to be impeached (he does), but for the reasons outlined in the article. We should separate our feelings about what should happen from what we can realistically expect to happen. Spineless and ethically-impaired Republicans like Mitch McConnell will never vote to remove Trump, and the impeachment effort by Democrats will serve only to increase Trump’s hold on his base. Democrats must outline smart policies, investigate the crap out of Trump without impeaching, and be the party of reason. Then they can defeat him at the polls, hand him the humiliation he deserves, and we won’t ever have to face a President Pence.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      From the other side of the pond, I voted the same way, and largely for the same reasons. If I was a US citizen, I would be pressing the Dems as hard as I could to create a set of policies that are actually likely to appeal to a majority of the electorate. Nothing matters more than to get this man and his creatures out of power as soon as possible.

      • Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        I agree. To me, pushing for impeachment when the election campaign has already started, is tantamount to an admission by his opponents that they do not hope to defeat him at the polls.

  15. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I tend to agree with Zakaria, Historian and Heather (on her website), and several others. At present an impeachment procedure might be counterproductive.
    One small detail, in order to ‘swing’ the Senate to condemn after impeachment, not just a large majority of voters should want to see Mr Trump removed, but a significant majority of voters in ‘red states’, something not likely to happen anytime soon. Due to the US system, a minority of voters can control the nation via the Senate.
    It is as if Mr Trump’s crimes (conspiracy -just not in the narrowest sense-, and blatant obstruction of justice) appear not to register. The red state senators, did anybody work out how large or small that minority is in the present Senate? Jblilie? Anyone?

    So keep the investigations going, and by all means publicly. And don’t forget to run the ‘bread-and-butter’ issues, the latter might even win you elections.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Srry, I formulated that very confusingly, I meant how large or small the minority of voters is that gives the GOP a majority in the Senate. Did anybody work that out?

  16. Posted April 29, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    While there are certainly many progressives calling for Trump’s impeachment, my sense tells me that those Dem presidential candidates that have come out for impeachment have done so in order to draw attention to themselves. It seems likely that whoever wins the primary will be more centrist, thoughtful, and will align their thinking with Pelosi by not being in favor of impeachment.

    On the other hand, it doesn’t really matter at this point whether one is for or against impeachment. All are in agreement that the next steps should be for the House to pursue its investigations and show the public what Trump is really about. There need be no decision on impeachment for many months.

  17. Posted April 29, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Vote him out.

    • rickflick
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Please do.

  18. GBJames
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Failing to impeaching Trump (at some point) is effectively removing impeachment from the corrective measures available under the Constitution. If this kind of criminal behavior isn’t sufficient, what would?

    When to start formal impeachment processes, vs. running open hearings that provide the public with the reasons why impeachment is appropriate, is an open tactical question.

    I didn’t answer the poll because none of the options reasonably reflect my view.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      We’re all frogs in the pot of water that’s nearing the boiling point, but some of us haven’t noticed because the pot has been heating up for so long with Donald Trump’s blatant and continual misconduct.

      If the House fails to act in this matter, what constraints will there be on the next president, or the one after that?

      An “imperial presidency” is one thing; having a president with no more constraints upon him than an actual emperor — one who can violate the laws of the land with impunity — is quite another.

      • GBJames
        Posted April 29, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        I couldn’t agree with you more.

      • Posted April 29, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        I wonder about this “if we don’t impeach, it sets a precedent for all future presidents” argument.

        First, impeachment is not a legal procedure but a political one. As such, I am not sure precedent really applies. Every Congress is free to impeach on whatever they want. At most it would be a historical precedent.

        Second, it is clear to everyone that the Dems reasons for not impeaching are practical, rather than a declaration of Trump’s innocence or that his crimes weren’t serious enough.

        • GBJames
          Posted April 29, 2019 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          Legal vs political here is a red herring. I makes no difference. Either way… if these conditions don’t qualify as impeachment time, then what?

          Your second point is not in question. The only Democratic opposition is “practical” (political). It is what I understand your position to be. I just think it is shortsighted.

          • Posted April 29, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

            “Legal vs political here is a red herring. I makes no difference.”

            I disagree. Within the US legal system, the concept of precedent has expectations imposed on judges actions. Precedence outside the legal system is simply historical observation. My point is that setting a precedent here will likely have much less importance than it would in a legal system.

            • GBJames
              Posted April 29, 2019 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

              If politicians can’t bring themselves to run impeachment under these circumstances, on what basis do you think they ever would? Cultural precedent is also a real thing. It isn’t just an “observation”. Most of the time, cultural norms have actual momentum.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted April 29, 2019 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

              Of course, it’s historical precedent, Paul; why do you think the names Nixon and Clinton get bandied about whenever the topic of Trump and impeachment is raised? It’s because this nation has never before had a president removed by impeachment, and because there have been but three serious efforts to do so in the country’s 240 years of existence — and only two of those in last 150, Nixon and Clinton.

              Given Trump’s lawlessness, and his utter contempt for the norms and rules and institutions and traditions that have stood this Republic in good stead since its inception, it would set a horrible historical precedent were the Democrats to wuss out from even bringing articles of impeach before the House judiciary committee and, should they pass there, to a vote on the House floor.

              Democrats would reveal themselves to be every bit as spineless and chickenshit as the Republicans they bemoan.

              • Posted April 30, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

                I don’t think it is spineless if, by failing to impeach, they avoid handing the 2020 election to Trump. If Trump were able to say that the Senate had cleared him of wrongdoing, he would take that to the bank. Many voters do not follow the news as closely as we do. Even now I’m sure many think Trump was cleared by the Mueller Report simply because Trump and his minions have told them so.

              • GBJames
                Posted April 30, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

                Basing one’s action on things Trump might or might not say is, IMO, just about the worst possible sort of motivation. Trump’s rant’s will be pretty much identical no matter what. And his cult base will believe whatever he says.

                This is not the basis upon which we should make public policy decisions.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted April 30, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

                Let the people of the United States have the evidence of Trump’s guilt (and the paucity of any evidence of his innocence) laid before them everyday on tv during the course of a senate trial. And let the people watch how their elected representatives in the senate perform (or fail to perform) their constitutional duty.

                That’s American democracy in action, and it would inure to the Democrats’ advantage in the next election.

  19. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    It’s a shame this requires strategy instead of just impeaching someone for committing a bunch of crimes. It was so much simpler when Bill Clinton was a president and he lied.

    • Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      I agree that strategy should not be a consideration. Choice should be made on basis of whether his actions rise to the level of requiring removal from office and nothing else.

    • Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      So your definition of is is that it is not limited to current activity or status. Bill thought it was. Which meant he was not lying.😊

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted April 29, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        No, Bill lied to the grand jury about Monica Lewinsky. He was also accused of obstructing justice. Trump has lied and obstructed justice according to the Mueller Report.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted April 29, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          Yes, but all Trump has obstructed is a measly investigation into a hostile foreign government’s “sweeping and systematic” interference with our federal election. Clinton lied about a crucial matter of state like a blowy.

  20. Roger Lambert
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Fareed:

    “Democrats need to decide what their vision will be. “

    They need to decide what, if anything, they stand for. Because right now, nobody knows, least of all the electorate.

    They need to decide if they actually have bedrock principles, and whether those principles include honesty, and honor, and doing the right thing despite the political risks.

    Which is why if they were serious about what they stand for, they would definitely hold hearings, amass evidence to impeach, and then impeach and send the vote to impeach to the Senate.

    And then have the country and the world see which political party stands for something worth supporting, and which one does not.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Amen, Brother Roger, amen.

    • rickflick
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      It seems to me that’s asking a lot of the electorate, most of whom don’t know much (see my relatives and acquaintances) . I would hope there are values and principles beyond saying I pledge allegiance to the flag one nation under God…
      In God we trust because we don’t have any values and principles of our own.
      But, my gut, and reading of history, tells me we may be deeply disappointed if we assume people have much vision. It’s usually after the tragic collapse that folks start thinking about values. OK, I’ll leave now. 😟

      • darrelle
        Posted April 30, 2019 at 6:44 am | Permalink

        Chin up rickflick!

        • rickflick
          Posted April 30, 2019 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

          Thanks. I needed that.

          • darrelle
            Posted May 1, 2019 at 6:30 am | Permalink

            🙂 I know just what you mean.

  21. Posted April 29, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    “right now the Democrats need to be putting forth policies”

    Yep. And not just repeating that they are committed to doing that and addressing the problems that families talk about around their kitchen tables.

    As Fareed said, “Don’t impeach, just send him cheeseburgers and wait for his metabolism to seize up.”

    (Well maybe he didn’t say that.)

  22. DrBrydon
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Without a consensus among the voters, impeachment just looks like election nullifcation. It is clear that for many Democrats that is exactly what it is. (And it was the same under Clinton for Republicans.)

    • GBJames
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      I think the “impeachment is election nullification” is a bit of a deeply. It is trivially true that it evicts an elected official from office. But it isn’t really nullification of an election. The Vice President (assuming he isn’t also impeached), an elected official, would take over.

      Impeachment exists because elections are scheduled every four years. There are reasons why the country might not be able to wait for a corrective election to occur.

      • Posted April 29, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        Not all impeachments are election nullification but this one would be. After all, the main reason Trump fought the Russia investigation so hard is because it hints that his election was illegitimate. He’s certain accusing the Dems of pursuing it for exactly this reason.

  23. Posted April 29, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    This reminds me of your post about empathy. And this video starts by asking the viewer to put themselves in the shoes of someone who voted for Trump….

    And this is exactly what so many cannot do!!!! I just imagine the exploding heads …

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Mebbe so. But Democrats would never tolerate from a Democratic president what Trump cultists (for there no longer exists an old-fashion Grand Old Party) ignore from Donald Trump with barely so much as a “so what?” shrug.

  24. Steve Gerrard
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    A big benefit of an impeachment trial in the Senate is that it is a trial. Evidence would be presented for the record. Defense evidence, such as it is, would be presented as well. Arguments will be laid out, for the record. All of it would be public.

    Much of the spin that currently gets applied to the evidence would be absent. It would be a public confrontation with the evidence, and hand waving arguments would be readily recognized and ignored. There would be no ignoring subpoenas or withholding documents.

    We need a public accounting of the evidence, and if a senate trial is the only way to do it, we should (eventually) do one.

    • tomh
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      “We need a public accounting of the evidence, and if a senate trial is the only way to do it, we should (eventually) do one.”

      The problem is, it’s very unlikely there would be a public accounting.

      The Constitution confers on the Senate “the sole power to try,” which simply gives the Senate exclusive authority. It is not a command. Just as the House is free to impeach or not, the Senate is free to try or not. Does anyone think that the same McConnell that wouldn’t hold hearings on a SC appointment would feel obligated to hold a trial?

      Beyond that, in a 1993 judicial impeachment case, the Supreme Court affirmed that the Senate’s “sole power” to “try” means that it is not subject to any limitations on how it could conduct a proceeding. McConnell could simply bring a motion to dismiss and scuttle the whole thing. Or just adjourn at any time and terminate the proceedings, as happened with Andrew Johnson when the Senate voted on three articles and then adjourned without holding votes on the other eight.

      In short, considering the McConnell majority, there would almost certainly not be a trial with evidence laid out.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 29, 2019 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        You really think the House could pass articles of impeachment, and Mitch McConnell could refuse to bring that matter to the senate floor? I think you think Article 1, section 3, clause 6 gives the senate more discretion than it does.

        But, constitutional questions aside, the country would go ballistic. You think Mitch McConnell would fall on that kind of grenade for a president with a 40% approval rating?

        You think McConnell would have the balls to block an impeachment trial even if there was a majority in the senate willing to send the matter to the floor? Because at least four Republicans I can think of — Cory Gardner, Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski (and maybe some others with at least a scintilla of respect for our constitutional processes) — would jump ship on that one, whether or not they’d end up voting to acquit Trump at trial.

        • tomh
          Posted April 29, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          I think the Constitution gives the Senate absolute discretion in the matter, and I’ve seen no real argument otherwise. Do I think McConnell would do it? Yes, I do, and I doubt the country would go any more ballistic over it than it did over Garland. Lastly, I think you give those four you name far more credit than they deserve or have earned.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted April 29, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

            Gardner and Collins are up for reelection in blue states in 2020. They would be throwing away their chances of reelection by going along with McConnell on this.

            Romney still has dreams of being US president. No way he throws away the image of statesman he’s trying so hard to cultivate to vote like such an obvious hack. Plus, he has no love for Trump, and recognizes that his most direct route to The Oval(and perhaps only route before he’s too old) is to move Trump out of his way. He fancies himself as the only guy who can hold the Republican Party together after the disaster of Trumpism.

            Lisa Murkowski has shown an independent streak. Plus, she’s up for reelection in an increasingly purple Alaska in 2022.

            Plus, Mitch McConnell himself is up for reelection in 2020, and is far from a shoe-in to win. You think he wants to give a howitzer like that to his Democratic opponent? What is the upside for him? Earning goodwill with Donald Trump?

            This is not about “giving credit” to these Republicans; this is about realpolitik.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted April 29, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

              Such a move by McConnell would be orders of magnitude beyond Merrick Garland. People (including me) would be taking it to the street.

        • Posted April 29, 2019 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          You’re right. Four Republican senators would be “very concerned” if that were to happen.

  25. Posted April 29, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Trump has told over 10,000 lies and misrepresentations since becoming the POSPOTUS, and 90% of Republicans still back him. This Congress has been pretty much of a do-nothing partisan circus, and impeachment and trial would simply be more of the same. Sure, it is what they are supposed to do, but they are also supposed to govern wisely. And we know how that’s going.

  26. merilee
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  27. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Impeachment *is* a political process. US may be too hung up on revenge (c.f. the uncivilized death penalty).

    The party divisions would more naturally be recognized with more parties, US is a deadlock outlier … but of course more parties won’t make a nation’s politics any stronger.

    Meanwhile, China has declared that they will replace the US mothballing the ISS *and* make a Moon outpost on the lunar south pole within the decade. US is circling the superpower drain, literary.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 29, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Not to worry. Trump has announced a brand new branch of the military called Space Command. We may not have a clue how to get there but we will shoot them down anyway.

  28. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I see the news this Sunday is that Rosenstein has resigned. Hate to say it but that probably won’t get you out of testifying.

  29. GBJames
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    What Trump says is of little interest. It is almost always a falsehood.

    Why would this one alone be nullification of an election?

  30. rustybrown
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Democrats may not be able resist the shriller elements of their party and pursue impeachment, but I think that would end up badly for them. From Spectator:

    “…it’s a fallacy to presume that there’s anything inherently ‘progressive’ or ‘left-wing’ about advocating to impeach the president on the basis of a debunked international espionage conspiracy theory that has its genesis in the FBI and CIA (both of which employed all manner of extraordinarily invasive surveillance tactics and extra-legal measures to impede the democratically-elected head of state) – and which had the practical impact of effectively criminalizing foreign policy heterodoxies. According to former Trump lawyer John Dowd, as well as conversations between Trump and administration officials relayed by Mueller in the report, the investigation hobbled Trump’s ability to conduct foreign affairs throughout his first term, and negated the possibility of any ‘détente’ with Russia to the point that relations between these two nuclear-armed states have soured to a dangerous nadir. Indeed, Mueller himself identifies a rationale for Trump’s behavior in ridiculing the Special Counsel investigation that would actually exculpate him in terms of obstruction, because it would bear on Trump’s Article II powers under the Constitution: ‘The president’s decision to curtail a law-enforcement investigation to avoid international friction would not implicate the obstruction-of-justice statutes,’ Mueller writes.”

    “Democrats can try all they want to convince themselves that impeaching Trump on grounds of ‘obstruction’ rather than collusion is a tenable course, but politically speaking these two subjects are wholly inseparable. ‘Obstruction’ only ever arose as a live issue due to a collusion investigation which we now know was predicated on a complete fiction – or a ‘hoax,’ as Trump correctly observed on many occasions. If they really want to oust Trump on the basis of a discredited militaristic conspiracy theory that was generated by the most retrograde elements of the American national security state, fine: but at least be honest about it.”

    https://spectator.us/madness-democratic-impeachment-crusade/

  31. Steve Gerrard
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Fox News: when they talked about Obama, it sounds like they are talking about Trump:https://youtu.be/b-cZG81-MPQ

  32. rickflick
    Posted April 29, 2019 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    This whole saga of should we or should we not impeach brings to mind leaders of singular insufficiency. Leaders who cannot be dealt with as adult citizens who should be held to account based on their actions. Charles II of Spain was physically disabled, mentally retarded and disfigured due to inbreeding. He died at 38, senile and wracked by epileptic seizures. I sense tRump is similarly bewitched.

  33. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 30, 2019 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    I offer Maher’s editorial on the Mueller report from Friday – whatever one thinks, at least it has a few laughs https://youtu.be/S4LMxMLTCps

    … I left one space before the link, yet it word wrapped- apologies if it’s a bloated YouTube embed..

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted April 30, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

      Hooray for no-fuss YouTube links that don’t embed

  34. Posted April 30, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I say no, do not impeach him.

    In practical terms, the Senate is not going to convict Trump, so it’s pointless to impeach right now. If Trump is impeached and acquitted, he’s going to bang on about it the whole time until the election. That’s not a narrative the Democrats want to be defending.

    There is a moral imperative for Trump to stand on trial for obstruction of justice and for a number of other alleged crimes but this can be served just as well (or better) by ensuring he loses in 2020 and then indicting him and putting him on trial in a real court of law. Furthermore, if found guilty, he doesn’t just lose a job, he goes to prison.

    I think he’s as guilty as a puppy sitting next to a pile of poo, But impeachment on what you’ve got now isn’t going to work.

  35. Posted April 30, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I would be in favour – those who oppose I do not understand what would count as suitable.

    That said, is it possible to arrange for a “spring loaded” indictment of some kind to kick in automatically once he is out of office? (To avoid the question of whether a sitting president can be indicted.)

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 30, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      It’s possible to file a “sealed” indictment, which would remain publicly undisclosed until unsealed. Federal prosecutors do this all the time where they have a concern that a defendant might flee if the indictment is made public before the defendant can be arrested (or where a defendant is already of fugitive, and the statute of limitations is about to run on the charges to be filed).

      It is unclear (to me, at least) whether the memo from the Justice Department’s Office of legal Counsel that says a sitting president cannot be indicted also applies to sealed indictments (since the existence of a sealed indictment would not interfere with a president’s performance of his duties, which is the main concern of the OLC memo).

      I think the US Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York (which is known for maintaining its independence from Main Justice in Washington, DC) may be eyeing an indictment against Trump. (It has, after all, named him — under the pseudonym “Individual-1” — as a confederate of Michael Cohen’s in a campaign-finance crime indictment returned by a grand jury sitting there.) That office may have an indictment all set and ready to present to a federal grand jury as soon as Trump is out of office — or, if the statute of limitations is about to run before Trump is out of office, it may seek to bring a sealed indictment against him.

      In any event, the OLC memo prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president is binding only on the federal Justice Department and its affiliate offices. Nothing prevents the Manhattan district attorney’s office or the office of the attorney general for the State of New York — both of which have open investigations of Trump, his business, and his family — from bringing state-court indictments against Trump while he is still in office (and they may well do so, providing a constitutional test case for ultimate decision by the US Supreme Court).

  36. Posted May 8, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I unequivocally support Speaker Pelosi’s position on not impeaching Trump at this time and to slow it way down on any enthusiasm to do so. As of today, April 24, 2019, she has not moved on that viewpoint. I hope she stays there. Not only is it the correct strategy for the Democratic Party, but far more importantly, I believe it is the best direction for the good of our nation as well, and this is not a close call. I’ll explain.
    In my opinion, Trump has only acted Presidential in a handful of ways, and I believe most see and understand this. Most of the time, he behaves in a way that is completely unfit for a President, and many times, he acts like a little “temper tantrum throwing” spoiled brat. He is far worse than a rebellious child throwing unbridled temper tantrums most of the time. He has operated that way from the very beginning in my opinion. So, many argue, shouldn’t he be impeached? From a moral standpoint, absolutely! That is without question!
    But should he be impeached from a practical and “best interest of our nation” point of view? Emphatically, No! Not at this time, regardless of what is found in investigations. It is simply the wrong time for such a move. This is not an imperative upon the Democratic Party at all. In 2019, one year prior to the 2020 elections, I believe impeachment is a very high-risk political gamble for the Democratic Party, and more importantly, it would absolutely not be in America’s best interest. Such a move is very risky for our nation at this time. Does he deserve it? Absolutely! But he is literally daring the House to impeach because he believes, and is probably correct, he would be able to use such a move against the truth and against the Party that impeached him.

    Impeachment is NOT in the best interest of our nation

    Impeachment could be one of the worst disasters for our nation and for ALL democracies around the world if the following scenario occurs: The House of Representatives impeaches President Trump. Complicit McConnell and the majority of Republicans do not convict him. Both of these are completely predictable and would likely be a most certain outcome. In the meantime, the Democratic Party continues to move far left, or Trump successfully uses impeachment as an issue to gain ground over even a moderate Democratic candidate, should they win the primary. So Trump wins re-election because he is a liar and deceiver and he used the divisiveness of impeachment itself to stir up over half the country his direction because he is simply the best deceiver our nation has right now. He is an all-star liar! So, people choose to vote him in as President for a second term in spite of the impeachment.
    We now have an impeached President who was voted by one half of Congress as unfit for office, but voted into office by the American voters for a second term, and we have a divided 5-4 Supreme Court split to boot and a completely divided Congress. What could be a worse disaster for the polarization of our nation than that? Do we want a civil war in this nation?? Trump, the wannabe, would certainly welcome it! And we would be almost begging for it if we continue in this direction and the worst case occurs. Impeaching Trump could end in one of the worst possible Constitutional Crises in our history. It could even be worse than the civil war because there is no Abraham Lincoln to stop it! No! We have, instead, a Vladimir Putin wannabe! This could be one of the most destructive outcomes for our democracy and may even provide the force necessary to shred it apart altogether, especially with Trump in the helm once again, who has made it emphatically clear that he has the intent to destroy democracy and become the dictator of America!

    Impeachment could be the worst case scenario for Trump to finalize his destruction attempt on our democracy.

    • Posted May 8, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the comment but, as per the rules, could you make future comments shorter? This is more in line with a mini essay. Also, since you don’t identify yourself on your website, you’re not allowed to link to it.

      • Posted May 13, 2019 at 1:27 am | Permalink

        Thanks for letting me know. I will shorten comments from now on. And, soon, if things do move forward, I will reveal my name. I’m just testing waters now and am not quite ready.

    • Posted May 8, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Agreed but the Dems should act like they are going to impeach by continuing to investigate Trump via all available avenues. They do need to make sure each move has ample justification but that shouldn’t be hard.

      • tomh
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        Easy to say they should just investigate Trump. What happens when he refuses to allow people to appear before committees, when he instructs them to ignore subpoenas, and places everything that’s ever happened in his administration, including the Mueller report, under Executive Privilege? Because that’s what’s happening now.

        Sure, they take it to court, which will take anywhere from months to years to resolve. What then?

        • Posted May 13, 2019 at 1:25 am | Permalink

          I agree that is exactly what is happening. Trump successfully ran out the Mueller clock in late fall of this year. Anything now, would likely run out the clock to election. That is why we must win, and by a very solid victory over him in 2020. There is NO other path for victory until after the election, unfortunately.

          And I believe it will take a VERY strong, centrally moderate Democratic candidate to take him on head to head. Such a candidate must be able to invade Trumpland in every red state and force a defensive posture.

          Trump must be called out strongly when the general election debates occur. I am concerned no one is up to these tasks yet.

          Honestly, this is why I’m testing the waters personally to consider running. I know I could take him on, but for a nobody to come out of nowhere, wildfire must be caught quickly. That is the reason for my book. I present a strong statement against Trump and a solid plan for Healthcare and Education that is centric and could get bipartisan support.

          We’ll see what happens.

      • Posted May 13, 2019 at 12:08 am | Permalink

        Yes, I support that. They should use the investigative arm and, as long as they don’t overreach or even appear to overreach, keep the information stream trickling out through 2020. And Impeachment would be a nuclear option after that if he won and the worst case scenario occurred.


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