Im­peach­ment: The Democrats’ dilemma

The Week (US) - - News -

It was a fool­ish mo­ment ig­no­rant of “the po­lit­i­cal re­al­ity,” said Thor Ho­gan in The Wash­ing­ton Post. Hours af­ter she was sworn in to Con­gress, Michi­gan Demo­crat Rashida Tlaib vowed that she and the newly Demo­cratic House were go­ing to im­peach Pres­i­dent Trump. “We’re gonna go in there and we’re go­ing to im­peach the moth­erf---er,” she told a group of her cel­e­brat­ing sup­port­ers. Lib­er­als might cheer her dec­la­ra­tion of war, but get­ting 20 Repub­li­can votes to con­vict Trump in the GOP-con­trolled Se­nate “is highly un­likely.” Plus, a pitched im­peach­ment bat­tle will eclipse Democrats’ progressive leg­isla­tive agenda and per­haps even rally Trump’s sup­port­ers the same way it did Bill Clin­ton’s. Rather than act­ing like an­gry fire­brands who can’t wait to im­peach Trump, said Dana Mil­bank, also in the Post, “it’s time for Democrats to be the grown-ups voters want.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) knows this, which is why she is in­sist­ing that Democrats wait for the re­sults of spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

It’s al­ready clear that Trump has com­mit­ted many im­peach­able of­fenses, said David Leon­hardt in The New York Times. He’s used the pres­i­dency “for per­sonal en­rich­ment” in vi­o­la­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion’s Emol­u­ments Clause, rent­ing ho­tel rooms and of­fice space to the Saudis and billing tax­pay­ers for trips he and his en­tourage make to his own prop­er­ties. He vi­o­lated cam­paign fi­nance law by pay­ing hush money to a porn star and Play­boy model just be­fore the elec­tion. He’s ob­structed jus­tice by re­peat­edly try­ing to halt the FBI’s and Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tions of his ties to Rus­sia. Rather than just wait for Mueller’s find­ings, House Democrats should hold “a se­ries of sober-minded hear­ings” to high­light Trump’s un­prece­dented mis­con­duct and try to whit­tle away some of his Repub­li­can sup­port. If Trump’s low ap­proval ratings fall fur­ther, and Repub­li­can sen­a­tors fear los­ing their seats in 2020, they may “have a po­lit­i­cal self-in­ter­est in aban­don­ing him.”

That’s just a nicer way of say­ing, Im­peach that mother, said The Wall Street Jour­nal in an ed­i­to­rial. Tlaib ir­ri­tated Demo­cratic lead­ers not be­cause they plan to gov­ern as sober adults but be­cause she didn’t make a pre­tense of wait­ing to see whether Mueller pro­duces ev­i­dence of col­lu­sion with Rus­sia. Like it or not, Tlaib gave voice to what all Democrats are think­ing: We’ve got Trump dead to rights. That’s the re­al­ity hid­ing be­hind Pelosi’s “wait-and-see” ap­proach.

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