The Logic of Impeachment Does Not Favor Trump
The view that Donald Trump would welcome an impeachment fight is a product of White House propaganda and bravado. No US president wants to be impeached, because once the process gets underway, there is no knowing how far it might go.
WASHINGTON, DC – US President Donald Trump’s presidency is in peril. He’s likely to be impeached (the equivalent of an indictment) by the House of Representatives, and it cannot be ruled out entirely that the Senate will vote to convict him and thus remove him from office. Impeachment alone would leave an asterisk by Trump’s name in history. And even if he isn’t convicted, which requires a two-thirds vote, any Senate Republican votes against him will undermine his argument that the whole affair is a “hoax.”
The issues raised by Trump’s recent actions – in particular, his pressuring of a foreign government for his own political benefit (which could be a crime) – are at least as serious as the charges that forced President Richard Nixon to resign in the wake of the Watergate scandal. But until last week, House Democrats, most of whom already believed that Trump should face an impeachment inquiry, had been bumbling along, frustrated by the president’s across-the-board efforts to stonewall investigations of his multitude of alleged misdeeds, and by Trump-supporting witnesses who got the better of the committees investigating them. Then, out of the blue, came the news that a whistleblower’s report regarding Trump was being withheld from Congress, which, by law, was supposed to receive it.
Over a dizzying three days, it emerged that Trump, having held up military assistance to beleaguered Ukraine, which is locked in a war with Russia, had gotten on the phone with that country’s young president, Volodymyr Zelensky. Following Zelensky’s suggestion that he would like to receive the military funds, Trump replied, in words that have now become infamous: “I would like you to do us a favor, though.” Trump went on to press Zelensky to find dirt on former Vice President Joseph Biden, who is now Trump’s leading rival for the presidency in 2020. Trump instructed Zelensky to work with his personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr. But recently the Washington Post cited evidence that the so-called transcript had been edited. And Trump has since openly called on China to investigate the Bidens, too.
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