Robert Reich: Impeach Trump Now – OpEd

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) is already drafting articles of impeachment related to Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, believing there’s enough evidence of Trump’s obstruction of justice to begin an impeachment inquiry (not to mention Trump’s blatant violation of the Constitutions emoluments clause by profiting off his presidency, and much else).

But Democratic leaders are pushing back, warning there aren’t enough facts to justify an impeachment inquiry at this point, and, in any event, such an inquiry would politicize ongoing congressional investigations.

Baloney.

Historically, the three previous impeachment inquiries in the House (involving presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton) rested on less evidence of obstruction of justice than is already publicly known about Trump.

Comey’s testimony to Congress is itself more than enough – confirming that Trump demanded Comey’s loyalty, asked Comey to stop investigating Michael Flynn, repeatedly told Comey the FBI investigation was a “cloud” on his presidency, and asked Comey to declare publicly that Trump wasn’t an object of the investigation

In addition, we have Trump’s interview with Lester Holt on NBC and Trump’s subsequent meeting with Russian officials in the Oval Office. In both instances, Trump connected his firing of Comey with the Russian investigation.

Also bear in mind the obstructions of justice that caused the House to impeach previous presidents concerned issues far less serious than Trump’s possible collusion with a foreign power to win election.

Democratic leaders say they don’t want to talk about impeachment now because they’re worried about politicizing the current congressional investigations, which aren’t impeachment inquiries. Hello? Republicans have already politicized them.

The real reason Democratic leaders don’t want to seek an impeachment now is they know there’s zero chance that Republicans, who now control both houses of Congress, would support such a move. So why engage in a purely symbolic gesture?

Democratic leaders figure that between now and the midterm elections there will be even more revelations from non-partisan sources – future testimony by Trump operatives like Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, early reports from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and leaks to the press – that will build the case, and fuel more public outrage.

That outrage will give Democrats a strong chance of taking back the House and maybe even the Senate. Then they’ll really impeach Trump.

I can’t argue with the political logic of Democratic leaders. And if their strategy will lead to Trump’s ouster sooner than any other way, I’m all for it.

But here’s the problem. It’s not clear America can wait for the midterm elections, followed by what’s likely to be a long and drawn-out impeachment investigation, followed by a trial in the Senate. (Note that none of the presidents listed above was ever convicted by the Senate and thrown out of office.)

With each passing day, Donald Trump becomes a greater danger to America and the world. We don’t have time.

The advantage of introducing a bill of impeachment now – even attempting to do so – is that such an action might itself galvanize the vast majority of Americans who want Trump out of office. It could mobilize and energize people around the most important immediate issue facing the country.

Never underestimate the power of a public aroused to action. It is worth recalling that Nixon resigned of his own accord before the House had even voted out an impeachment resolution. The American public demanded it.


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Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He has written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations, Beyond Outrage and, most recently, Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning documentary INEQUALITY FOR ALL.

One thought on “Robert Reich: Impeach Trump Now – OpEd

  • June 9, 2017 at 6:09 pm
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    Recently arrived in the Realm of Ignorance, Grumpy Troll Robbie declares, “Impeach Trump Now!”
    Whereupon he issues a series of half-truths and misinterpretations designed to inflame the stupid and mobilize an army of disaffected buffoons.
    “Trump’s possible collusion …” Ah, sweet court jester, you base your thesis on a possibility that something may have occurred, perhaps.
    In so doing, you draw upon Item 2 of the Democratic Party playbook: ‘Have the opponent arrested for wife beating the week before the election with major press coverage and release of that opponent the day following the election for lack of evidence with no press coverage at all.’
    As you yourself have pronounced: BALONEY
    As preposterous as the charge you advocate is the use of the term ‘Russian investigation.’ Which investigation?
    The putative Teabag evidence that the President cavorted with a Russian hooker; blackmail demands and film to follow investigation?
    The investigation into assorted Russian contacts with and by members of the administration before, during and after the election investigation?
    The Flynn/Russian investigation?
    An absurd Russian influence on the election biased toward Trump investigation.
    And on what evidence … possible, may, maybe, and the potential for outrage! Outrage indeed, at the stupidity of your continual assertions.
    You lost, the American people won: get over it.

    Reply

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