On Monday, conservative Republican and Antonin Scalia Law School professor J.W. Verret, a former member of President Donald Trump’s transition team, tweeted that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was sufficient grounds to impeach the president.
On Tuesday, he elaborated further in an article for The Atlantic.
“If you think calling for the impeachment of a sitting Republican president would constitute career suicide for someone like me, you may end up being right,” Verret began.
“I never considered joining the Never Trump Republican efforts,” wrote Verret. “Their criticisms of President Trump’s lack of character and unfitness for office were spot-on, of course, but they didn’t seem very pragmatic. There was no avoiding the fact that he’d won, and like many others, I felt the focus should be on guiding his policy decisions in a constructive direction.”
“There is a point, though, at which that expectation turns from a mix of loyalty and pragmatism into something more sinister, a blind devotion that serves to enable criminal conduct,” said Verret. “The Mueller report was that tipping point for me, and it should be for Republican and independent voters, and for Republicans in Congress.”
Verret noted that the report contained about a dozen cases of obstruction of justice, where Trump “dangled pardons in front of witnesses to encourage them to lie to the special counsel, and directly ordered people to lie to throw the special counsel off the scent.” The chaos he caused, coupled with the DOJ policy against indicting a sitting president, may have saved him from prosecution, Verret wrote — but it should provide a clear basis for impeachment.
“Congress has an opportunity to shape that public sentiment with the hearings ahead. As sentiments shift, more and more Republicans in Congress will feel emboldened to stand up to the president,” said Verret, citing as an example how Republican jumped ship on Nixon in 1974. “Republicans who stand up to Trump today may face some friendly fire … yet, in time, we can help rebuild the Republican Party, enabling it to rise from the ashes of the post-Trump apocalypse into a party with renewed commitment to principles of liberty, opportunity, and the rule of law.”