The push for impeachment and the risk of a second Trump term

By | July 26, 2019

The New York Times reports:

Robert S. Mueller III’s long-awaited testimony has inflamed divisions among Democrats over impeachment, with some senior lawmakers pushing on Thursday to begin formal impeachment hearings soon, and vulnerable moderates pleading that the party needed to rest its case against President Trump.

Liberal House members who have been agitating for impeachment were buoyed by Mr. Mueller’s nearly seven hours of testimony, asserting, despite modest viewership numbers and no dramatic revelations, that the former special counsel’s words confirmed their case that Mr. Trump had tried to obstruct justice. They showed signs of momentum.

Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has gradually become convinced that his panel should proceed with impeachment hearings and do so as expeditiously as possible, though he has not stated so publicly, according to lawmakers and aides familiar with his thinking. In a closed room of lawmakers on Wednesday evening after the hearing, he broached the idea that House committees could soon begin contemplating articles of impeachment, though Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pushed back on the idea of quick action.

On Thursday, four more House Democrats came out for beginning impeachment proceedings, including the highest ranking one yet: Representative Katherine M. Clark of Massachusetts, the vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus. That pushed the total above 90. [Continue reading…]

Ed Kilgore writes:

A new argument for impeaching President Trump has gained attention in the wake of Robert Mueller’s testimony in the House on Wednesday, during which the special counsel confirmed his understanding that Trump could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice (or any other crimes he might have committed) after leaving office. There’s a problem with that scenario, notes Brown University’s Corey Brettschneider:

Mueller’s answer needs to be front and center as Congress decides its next move. If the president is reelected and serves his full term, the five-year statute of limitations on obstruction of justice will run out before he leaves office. Thus, reelection would almost guarantee that Trump will never stand trial for his crimes. The only way Congress can ensure Trump is ever held accountable is to begin impeachment proceedings.

But it is as certain as anything in this life that the Republican-controlled Senate will not remove Trump from office under any foreseeable set of facts (and no, the Nixon precedent is not especially relevant). A failed impeachment effort — whether the House doesn’t formally take up articles of impeachment, or it takes them up and they are defeated, or the Senate acquits — would not only leave the president in office, but could even look like an exoneration (which is precisely how Trump would depict it). So what would be the point? A theoretical discharge of duty? [Continue reading…]

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