Should the House of Representatives impeach President Donald Trump?
There’s a compelling case that they should. With Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation complete and a redacted form of his report public, there is now substantial evidence to support charges of obstruction of justice. Many are arguing that the report reads like an impeachment referral. Mueller even suggests that, in addition to potentially supporting impeachment charges, the evidence he lays out could be used to bring criminal charges against Trump once he’s out of office.
But Democrats are clearly split on the issue impeachment. So how should they be answering questions about the issue?
First of all, no one should be writing off impeachment. Even if there’s no chance Trump can get removed from office by the Senate, taking impeachment off the table is an abdication of duty. It treats Trump’s conduct as acceptable when it clearly is not.
The report just came out, so the answer on this end should be easy. Democrats can say: “We’ll be examining the report thoroughly and weighing what our best options are for going forward.” Some Democrats are already saying they support impeaching Trump, and that’s a defensible position as well.
Second — and this part is crucial — lawmakers can urge Trump to leave office. Every single Democrat should be demanding that Trump resigns. Some are already calling for Attorney General Bill Barr to resign for his conduct in the probe, and as bad as it has been, Trump’s conduct has clearly been worse.
And it’s not just the obstruction of justice charge that should prompt calls for Trump’s resignation. The report lays out the nefarious and extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, which includes the then-candidate telling Michael Flynn to search for Hillary Clinton’s emails. Flynn reached out to a man who claimed to be in touch with Russian agents trying to get the emails. Trump also told countless lies about Russia, his business dealings with the Kremlin, and the investigation. Some of his aides and allies told lies to align their stories with his false narrative. And Trump refused to testify for Mueller, something that would be unacceptable for any other federal employee. When he gave written responses to the investigators, he said he couldn’t remember 36 times. He was either lying about his memory, or he’s far too forgetful to be in a position of power.
The fact that — based on these facts and more — Trump should resign is so obvious it almost seems to be not worth saying. Trump would surely try to laugh it off and conservatives would scoff.
But here’s what the call for resignation would do: It would show that all Democrats, regardless of their feelings about impeachment, are on the same page about the seriousness of Trump’s conduct.
And it would reiterate for voters — again and again — that his behavior is truly unacceptable.
Democrats could go into 2020, no matter who ends up as their presidential nominee, with a simple message: Trump should be out of office, as we’ve been saying for more than a year. He refused to resign, so voters should oust him instead.
If Trump were ever on the verge of being removed from office by the Senate as the result of impeachment, he would likely end up resigning instead, just as President Richard Nixon did. It’s the most likely way that he would leave office without being voted out. So why not cut to the chase and just call for the best solution to this crisis?