Democrats Should Tread Carefully on Impeaching Trump
EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.
Far from the “complete and total exoneration” claimed by President Trump, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s 448-page report paints a scathing portrait of a lawless president. The report finds “substantial evidence” that the president obstructed the investigation and invites Congress to consider how to hold him accountable to the law. The question now is how Congress should respond.
The report details much of what we already knew. The Russians did interfere in the 2016 election. But, contrary to many liberals’ expectations, the investigation did not find that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government. When investigation into Russian interference began, the president sought to discredit, impede and obstruct it. In the words of the report, the president launched “public attacks on the investigation, nonpublic efforts to control it, and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation.” His efforts were limited only by his incompetence and the common sense of aides who refused to follow orders to trample the laws, choosing instead to ignore his “crazy s—,” as then-White House counsel Donald McGahn phrased it.
The report confirms that Trump is a congenital liar, ignorant or scornful of the laws, who has turned the White House into what columnist Maureen Dowd accurately characterized as a “dystopian outpost of his id.” Far from an exoneration, the Mueller report is being viewed as essentially an impeachment referral. Some of the best and brightest progressive leaders in Congress have called for initiating impeachment hearings. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the first of the presidential contenders to do so. Insurgent progressive freshmen congressional stars such as Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are pushing Tlaib’s impeachment resolution. Grass-roots groups such as Indivisible and powerful donors such as billionaire Tom Steyer are demanding impeachment hearings.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.