President Donald Trump's admission during an interview with ABC News that he would happily take help from foreign governments during the 2020 election sent shock waves through Washington, D.C. on Thursday and put additional pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to start up impeachment hearings.
Former federal prosecutor Michael J. Stern on Thursday published an editorial in USA Today explaining why Trump's latest comments should be the "last straw" for Pelosi, who so far has been highly resistant to taking up impeachment hearings against the president.
Stern acknowledges Pelosi's concerns about impeachment hearings harming Democrats among independent voters, but he also says the party could have a real problem turning out its base in 2020 if she just lets Trump get away with committing crimes.
"Watching an emboldened Trump commit ethical and criminal violations and flout congressional subpoenas, with no tangible repercussion, is demoralizing to Democrats," he writes. "There is a growing consensus in our party that our leadership is toothless and satisfied to play by the rules of the playground while the oversized bully violates all the rules and beats us to a pulp. Capturing the swing votes would be nice but losing Democratic turnout due to an uninspired base is the real danger."
He then points out that, since Trump has shown he's willing to break the law to stay in office, there's no guarantee he won't collude with foreign powers in 2020 to flip the election in his favor.
"With Trump’s announcement Wednesday that he plans to use his 2016 dirty playbook in the upcoming presidential election, we have reached a critical mass," he concludes. "Playing out the clock is no longer an option. It’s time."