I am reluctant to try to add to the mountains of good commentary on the Mueller report that you can find in the various media.  For an excellent short take, I would point you, as I often do, to Mother Jones’s Kevin Drum. The bottom line, for me: While it cannot be proved that the Trump campaign conspired to advance Russian intervention in the election (not for want of appreciation for same) it is clear that Trump repeatedly sought to obstruct justice, evidently fearful of what Mueller might turn up.  The Times and other news outlets for once gave up on their inhibition against printing obscenities, since Trump’s reaction, on learning of the appointment of the special prosecutor, was too noteworthy to censor:

Oh, my God, this is terrible. This is the end of my presidency.  I’m fucked.”

Not the reaction of a man convinced of his innocence.

So, where to go from here.  Congress will hold hours and hours of hearings, as it must. I am still inclined to believe that the end result of those hearings should be an impeachment resolution. As I’ve said before, I believe that Trump is already impeachable for his continuous violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution and for numerous violations of the public trust. Congressional hearings will strengthen that case.  And Trump’s refusal to cooperate with Congress in its legitimate oversight responsibilities will add to the list of impeachable offenses. Of course, barring some really spectacular new revelations, Trump will not be removed from office.  The chances that at least 20 Senate Republicans will join most or all 47 Democrats in voting to dump Trump are nil. But it seems to me that impeachment of this lawless, corrupt and dangerous president is a moral imperative.  I tend to agree with Rep. Maxine Waters:

Congress’s failure to impeach would set a dangerous precedent and imperil the nation, as it would vest too much power in the executive branch and embolden future officeholders to further debase the U.S. presidency, if that’s even possible.”

The inescapable question is whether impeachment would be politically smart.  Time will tell, but I think it can be at least not damaging to the good cause.  People point to the Bill  Clinton experience, when the impeachment drive actually hurt the Republicans.  But Clinton was being impeached for sexcapades; the charges against Trump concern the conduct of his office.  If the polls show a plurality in favor or even just an even split of public opinion on impeachment, I think the House should probably go for it.  Failure to do so would amount to abdication of an historic responsibility.  And I’m not moved by the objection that impeachment would fire up Trump’s base.   The good guys have a base too, and it’s not immune to fire.



  1. Daniel April 19, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    “But Clinton was being impeached for sexcapades; the charges against Trump concern the conduct of his office.”

    If this is intended as an explanation for why impeaching Trump would be strategically safer for Democrats now than impeaching Clinton was for Republicans then, it strikes me as unpersuasive. People who supported impeaching Clinton then would’ve said that he was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice, even if the underlying matter about which he was lying and obstructing didn’t go to the conduct of his office. Still, it hurt the Republicans.
    They went after him for Whitewater, couldn’t find anything, so they got him for lying about an affair. Does that dismissive take really sound so different from “they went after him for collusion, couldn’t find anything, so they got him for trying to obstruct the investigation into the nonexistent collusion”?

    • tonygreco April 19, 2019 at 8:00 pm

      As I said, there are many grounds for impeaching Trump in addition to obstruction, which will be explored in the hearings. Apart from obstruction, there were no substantive reasons, i.e., having to do with governance, for impeaching Clinton. This is an objective difference that I think only hard core partisans would deny. You are certainly right that for many people—possibly even most people and surely for Trump’s loyal base–that objective difference is inconsequential. But it might be meaningful enough for just enough people to make the difference between a plurality for impeachment and a plurality against. We are nowhere near there yet, but we shall see.

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