Yesterday The New York Times posted an op-ed piece titled, “The Inevitability of Impeachment” by Elizabeth Drew. It is an opinion piece, so I guess facts don’t really matter, but it is still an amazing work of fiction.
The piece states:
An impeachment process against President Trump now seems inescapable. Unless the president resigns, the pressure by the public on the Democratic leaders to begin an impeachment process next year will only increase. Too many people think in terms of stasis: How things are is how they will remain. They don’t take into account that opinion moves with events.
Whether or not there’s already enough evidence to impeach Mr. Trump — I think there is — we will learn what the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has found, even if his investigation is cut short.
I can see the talking point already–if the House begins impeachment proceedings and the Mueller investigation is ended because of that, the cry will be that he would have found something if he had had more time. The man has been supposedly looking for Russian collusion for two years at taxpayers’ expense and so far all he has come up with is a legal contract asking someone to remain silent.
The piece continues:
The word “impeachment” has been thrown around with abandon. The frivolous impeachment of President Bill Clinton helped to define it as a form of political revenge. But it is far more important and serious than that: It has a critical role in the functioning of our democracy.
Impeachment was the founders’ method of holding a president accountable between elections. Determined to avoid setting up a king in all but name, they put the decision about whether a president should be allowed to continue to serve in the hands of the representatives of the people who elected him.
So the impeachment of Bill Clinton was frivolous even when he lied to a Grand Jury and tried to influence others to do the same, but the impeachment of Donald Trump would not be frivolous. Wow. Please explain the logic here.
It always seemed to me that Mr. Trump’s turbulent presidency was unsustainable and that key Republicans would eventually decide that he had become too great a burden to the party or too great a danger to the country. That time may have arrived. In the end the Republicans will opt for their own political survival. Almost from the outset some Senate Republicans have speculated on how long his presidency would last. Some surely noticed that his base didn’t prevail in the midterms.
But it may well not come to a vote in the Senate. Facing an assortment of unpalatable possibilities, including being indicted after he leaves office, Mr. Trump will be looking for a way out. It’s to be recalled that Mr. Nixon resigned without having been impeached or convicted. The House was clearly going to approve articles of impeachment against him, and he’d been warned by senior Republicans that his support in the Senate had collapsed. Mr. Trump could well exhibit a similar instinct for self-preservation. But like Mr. Nixon, Mr. Trump will want future legal protection.
Mr. Nixon was pardoned by President Gerald Ford, and despite suspicions, no evidence has ever surfaced that the fix was in. While Mr. Trump’s case is more complex than Mr. Nixon’s, the evident dangers of keeping an out-of-control president in office might well impel politicians in both parties, not without controversy, to want to make a deal to get him out of there.
Just for the record, Article II Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution reads:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
As far as anyone knows, that standard has not been met. You can’t impeach a President just because you don’t like him or you are mad because your candidate did not win the election.