Must-Read: Endorse.

Matthew Yglesias: The Case for Impeaching Trump—and Fast: "Andrew Johnson... the move... to remove him... reeked... of...resolv[ing] a policy dispute by ginning up a legal one... https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/22/15655296/impeach-trump

...Clinton’s impeachment... the opposite problem. The charges... ha[d] too little to do with the duties and responsibilities of his high office. Republicans had hoped a sex scandal would damage Clinton’s approval ratings, it didn’t really, and then they went berserk. The exception that proves the rule is Richard Nixon, whose misdeeds were legitimately “high crimes.”... His downfall represents a kind of founding myth of modern American civic culture, complete with a Robert Redford movie that reserves a key heroic role for conservative icon Barry Goldwater. The question that faces Congress today is whether the Trump case is more like Nixon or closer to Clinton or Johnson. And the answer is that it’s... highly Nixonian....

Donald Trump is charged with misconduct that is serious and directly relevant to his public office but that isn’t simply a reiteration of longstanding ideological disagreements in American life.... Impeachment... is... clumsy and rare... not so much [because] presidential misconduct is rare as that replacing the incumbent president of the United States with his hand-picked vice president is rarely a reasonable remedy.... But it’s ideally suited to th[is] particular moment in which the country now finds itself.... [D]isagreements with Mike Pence... are fundamentally unrelated to the core of Trump’s obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and financial conflicts of interest—for now, at least....

The smoking gun is already in our possession. Trump should be impeached. Now.... Nixon.... The question had been whether Nixon himself was engaged in the Watergate cover-up. That tape proved he was. And that was it.... In Trump’s case... the smoking gun already aired in the form of an interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt, where Trump explained his reasons for firing Comey.... Trump was meddling with an FBI investigation, he fired the FBI director when he wouldn’t go along with it, then he lied about why he’d fired the FBI director, and then later he confessed the truth. That the facts have emerged so quickly is disorienting, but it shouldn’t blind us to the basic reality that the whole saga has played out....

The White House’s defense that firing Comey was within Trump’s legal rights is no defense at all. It would have been “legal” for Steve Bannon to shoot Comey in the head and receive a presidential pardon, but it still would have been an abuse of power. It’s legal for a private citizen to buy a friend a gift or to fire an employee, but it becomes illegal to do those things if the purpose of doing them is to obstruct an investigation.... Trump’s obstruction of justice happens to be the rare situation to which impeachment is well-suited. It is a genuinely big deal that is directly relevant to his performance in office. And yet it’s quite idiosyncratic.... If Republicans would move quickly toward removing Trump from office, they could put a different, better-qualified man in his place. That wouldn’t settle all of Trump’s critics’ disagreements with his administration—but it would put them in the realm of ordinary politics where they belong....

One of the reasons Gerald Ford was able to move on from Watergate with a modicum of success is that by happenstance he’d only been vice president for eight months when Nixon resigned. There is a lesson in that for Pence, and for the Republicans who would prefer to see him in office. The tape of the No. 1 and No. 2 Republicans in the House of Representatives “joking” about how Trump is probably on Putin’s payroll is another case in point.... The joke is only funny if you acknowledge that there is something creepy and weird about Trump’s affection for Putin, and something suspicious and odd about Trump’s totally nontransparent finances. Every day that Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy persist in declining to use their authority to actually look into those finances, they implicate themselves more and more as co-conspirators.... A fast, decisive break from Trump is extremely unlikely.... But a slow, ugly, painful divorce only means that Trump’s sins will more and more become the sins of the entire party, and impeachment will look like less and less of an appropriate remedy for wrongdoing that can only be redeemed by a broad and deep electoral landslide.

Comments