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Not Impeaching Has Political Costs Too

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Nancy Pelosi greets Donald Trump ahead of his inauguration ceremony in 2017.

Democrats have been arguing among themselves for a while now about whether to move ahead with impeachment against President Donald Trump. As the party mulls what decision to make, what it should understand is that either route will have important consequences for this presidency and for future ones: Just as impeaching may come with a political price, not doing so might too.

To perhaps a surprising degree, the impeachment debate so far has been less about whether there are grounds for it and more about the political costs in pursuing it. On the former question, there is considerable basis for impeachment. The Mueller Report provided quite damning evidence of multiple counts of obstruction of justice; every week we are witness to Trump‘s violations of the emoluments clause; his intimidation of federal witnesses; his ignoring congressional subpoenas and ordering others to do the same; his massive campaign finance violations; and his other actions that fall easily into the definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Impeachment articles were drafted against Richard Nixon for less (and against Bill Clinton for far less). And at least within Democratic circles, this does not appear to be in dispute.



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