Memo to Democrats who are still unsure whether to impeach President Donald Trump.
Here is the bottom line, Trump deserves to be impeached and removed from office. The findings in the Special Counsel Robert Mueller III Report produced evidence Trump betrayed public trust, and his campaign welcomed an attack on our democracy by a hostile adversary.
The only reason he is not in legal jeopardy is because Department of Justice rules prohibit indicting a sitting president.
Failure to impeach, regardless of what Republicans in the senate do, sends a signal that Trump is invincible and his conduct is tolerable and not as serious as President Bill Clinton’s.
History will be very harsh on Democrats were such a prospect come to pass.
Turns out that this is not an easy decision and many Democrats are struggling to find the way forward.
But not to worry.
Just ask yourself, what would Republicans do, had a President Hillary Clinton obstructed justice as Trump is said to have done in Mueller’s Report.
Gosh, some Republicans still want to impeach her over the emails, yet she is not even president.
Or what would have Republicans done to President Barack Obama if they heard a rumor he was hiding a Muslim prayer rug in his bedroom?
Fox News would have run round-the-clock breaking news headlines with commentary from conservative national security experts. Sean Hannity would have called him an ISIS sympathizer and televangelist Pat Robertson would have labeled him the anti-Christ.
Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) would have led a fervent drive to impeach him and send him back to Kenya.
Or imagine what Republicans would have done had Attorney General Eric Holder stonewalled the Mueller Report as Trump’s AG William Barr has done?
These are some of the basic questions Democrats should ask themselves as they ponder the way forward.
If party roles we have today were reversed, with Trump as president under Democratic Party, Senator Lindsey Graham would be on every TV not just asking for his impeachment and removal from office, he would be calling for his arrest.
Republicans would not have waited patiently for Mueller to complete his investigation before launching an investigation into Trump. They would have subpoenaed his tax returns the moment they could, investigated his finances, conflict of interests, his connection to Russia and relentlessly dragged all his aides to public hearings.
All legitimate issues of national security and interest.
And they certainly would not have tolerated the games played by AG Barr, releasing a four-page summary and then hosting press conference to misrepresent the report before releasing a redacted copy over the Easter holiday week.
If Trump were a Democrat, he would not have lasted 100 stupid tweets, partly because Republicans would not have tolerated it and Democrats would not have defended him.
Democrats’ fear that the public is not onboard with impeachment, is a Republican-slash-Trumpian framing of the issue. The reality is the public is undecidedly wide open and ready to hear the case against Trump and any polling showing support for impeachment to be low is premature.
If Democrats need a template, they should just look at the speed with which Republicans handled President Bill Clinton’s impeachment investigation to engage the public.
Special Counsel Kenneth Starr, who was investigating Clinton, submitted his report September 9, 1998, with all supporting documents to Congress, not to the Attorney General and Clinton appointee, Janet Reno.
Two days later, Congress voted to release the full 445-page report to the public. The report revealed that Starr recommended 11 counts of impeachable offenses against Clinton including perjury, obstruction of justice and witness tampering among other charges.
They did not seek permission from then AG Reno.
On September 18, 1998, Republicans voted to release Clinton’s videotaped grand jury testimony, a move clearly geared toward influencing public opinion. The tape was released for public Sept 21 and was widely broadcasted showing Clinton lied to the public about his affair with Intern Monica Lewinsky.
What followed was an intense investigation leading up to October 8, 1998, when Republicans officially opened an impeachment inquiry into Clinton.
After three months of dramatic testimonies, orchestrated twists and turns and controversies affecting both parties, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach Clinton December 19, 1998.
Republicans warn Democrats that rushing to impeach Trump would only strengthen his popularity and even hand him a second term. This view is puzzling because suddenly Republicans are acting like Democrats’ goodwill ambassadors. Additionally, it almost sounds as if Republican don’t want Trump to be re-elected.
That doesn’t make any sense.
For Democrats to fall for this trick, will mean they have no conviction to their principles, and they lack faith in Americans’ ability to see through a fair impeachment trial that would reveal Trump’s betrayal of American values and expose his criminality as spelled out in the Mueller Report.
Trump is not above the law. No US President is above the law. The US is a democracy and a nation of laws. Failure to take action to impeach Trump gives him the aura of being above the law. Democrats cannot let that happen.
As a refresher, Mueller found Trump obstructed justice in several ways; firing former FBI Director James Comey after Comey refused to end investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. attempting to fire the Special Counsel, asking White House Counsel Donald McGahn to fire former Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing the Special Counsel investigation and abusing his powers by dangling pardons to witnesses.
This is how Mueller put it on Volume II, page 157:
Impeaching Trump is not an attack on the Republican Party even though Republicans have made Trump synonymous to them. It’s not a backdoor coup d’état by Democrats, who, as Trump like to say, are just mad because they lost an election they should have won.
Impeaching Trump is about cleansing our democracy and rediscovering American values of moral strength coupled with compassionate might.
That is why Democrats must move forward, make a case for impeachment. They should not worry about the lies Trump will spread to deflect, or whether Senate Republicans would vote acquit him.
Impeaching Trump is a historical statement that half of the country did not sit idly by and watched as a president betrayed public trust and his oath of office. It is a statement against corruption taking root in our government, a defense of the rule of law and a restoration of American values.