It remains to be seen whether the Democratic majority in the United States House of Representatives will proceed with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remains adamantly opposed to impeachment, while House Democrats ranging from Rep. Maxine Waters to Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez are pushing for it. And the New York Times’ Ian Prasad Philbrick, noting that almost 60 House Democrats have come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry, describes what impeachment of the president could look like in an in-depth article published on June 5.
Philbrick digs into specific articles of impeachment as outlined in the U.S. Constitution, comparing Trump to two previous presidents who faced impeachment in the House:
Republican Richard Nixon in the 1970s and Democrat Bill Clinton in the late 1990s. For Article 1, Philbrick argues that Trump could be impeached based on his efforts to undermine former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Philbrick explains, “the introduction in the first impeachment article against Nixon sets up the main argument Congress would likely use against Mr. Trump: the president attempted to impede a federal investigation into his actions and those of his associates.”
The New York Times journalist goes on to say that although much of Article 2 “doesn’t match what we know of Mr. Trump’s conduct;” the president “has undermined the purpose of the federal government by attacking the rule of law and calling for investigations of figures like Hillary Clinton and (former FBI Director) James Comey.” And Philbrick offers a Trump/Bill Clinton comparison for Article 3, noting that “Mr. Trump arguably took more extensive steps than Mr. Clinton did to thwart investigators. Beyond interfering with witnesses and encouraging the giving of false testimony, Mr. Trump tried to limit the scope of Mr. Mueller’s investigation and have the special counsel removed.”
Philbrick concludes his piece by stressing that whatever the political ramifications of impeachment might be for Democrats, Trump has clearly committed “impeachable offenses” as president.
“An impeachment inquiry against Mr. Trump is far from guaranteed, and whether impeaching him would politically help or hurt Democrats remains an open question,” Philbrick observes. “But there is no question that by the standards for high crimes and misdemeanors applied to past presidents in living memory, Donald J. Trump has committed impeachable offenses.”