In response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her decision to shut down impeachment talk against President Donald Trump, for now — Constitutional law experts Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz laid out the case for impeaching Trump on two high crimes.
Republicans have been desperately claiming that Democrats want to impeach Trump for mere political reasons as if no crimes have been committed that warrant impeachment.
In order to destroy that narrative, Pelosi made it clear that House Democrats will only impeach Trump if clear evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors is found.
“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” she said.
Of course, Pelosi’s move is a political strategy in itself because Trump is polling so law right now that Democrats stand a chance of beating him badly in 2020. By refusing to impeach Trump, Republicans are risking political doom to protect him.
But while Tribe and Matz praised Pelosi for delaying impeachment, they also warned Congress not to ignore their constitutional duty, of which impeaching a lawbreaking president is a part.
“We concluded that four alleged impeachable offenses merited further investigation: (1) improper dealings with Russia surrounding the 2016 presidential election; (2) obstruction of justice in Russia-related investigations; (3) abuse of the pardon power; and (4) implementing kleptocracy,” the duo explained before adding at least two more reasons Trump should be impeached.
“In addition to the four listed above, we would flag two more subjects of investigation<‘ they wrote. “We think it’s essential to probe both topics, but we also believe that they each involve a number of under-appreciated complexities that merit further examination.”
“The first such offense is corrupt failure to defend the United States—and its electoral system—against domestic operations launched by a hostile foreign power,” they continued.
One of the president’s most basic responsibilities is to protect this nation from foreign attacks. Just as he is obliged to repel foreign armies, so must he guard against cyberattacks and intelligence operations designed to destabilize democracy and undermine our electoral system. In light of the overwhelming, terrifying evidence of ongoing Russian interference, Trump’s ostentatious failure to defend the country—or even to recognize that we’re under assault—is an unconscionable abdication of his duties as president.
Indeed, Trump has refused to punish Russia for interfering with the 2016 Election and their continued efforts to meddle with other elections in our country. Russia most recently tried to meddle with the midterms in November, but was successfully blocked from doing so by our military.
Trump gave the order to shut the Russians down this time, but he wasn’t on the ballot like he will be in 2020, when he may want the Russians to intervene for his benefit.
In our view, it would be appropriate to impeach a president who ignores a nation’s attacks on our democracy because he hopes that nation will help him (or his political party) at the polls or in future business endeavors; or because he fears compromising the legitimacy of his own election; or because that nation has some kind of actual or suspected leverage over him or his family. Trump’s motives for adopting this policy of apparent inaction are therefore worthy of investigation.
And then there’s Trump’s coordination and direction of campaign finance felonies, which were committed when he ordered Michael Cohen to pay hush money to two women in 2016 in order to hide his affairs with them from the voters.
“Here we have in mind Trump’s personal involvement in directing payments to two women to suppress their allegations of sexual impropriety,” Tribe and Matz wrote. “Trump appears to have given this order not to protect his family or private reputation, but to benefit his campaign.”
Republicans are certainly trying to make it seem like Trump did this to protect his family, but that doesn’t make it any less illegal. Trump is already known as “Individual 1” and is an unindicted co-conspirator. That alone is a reason to impeach.
“Viewing Trump’s conduct as a whole, we see a sustained disregard for the law—and a willingness to use his wealth in illegal ways while buying silence from those who might harm his political fortunes with the truth,” Tribe and Matz concluded. “Congress and federal prosecutors should, therefore, persist in their efforts to ascertain what happened. Congress must then decide how to respond to any evidence of presidential wrongdoing, speaking for the nation as a whole.”
Featured Image: Screenshot