Frank O. Bowman wrote the book on impeaching the 45th president. Published in July, High Crimes and Misdemeanors: A History of Impeachment for the Age of Trump seeks to ground the talk about removing the president from office in centuries of history and practice. A law professor who teaches at the University of Missouri and lectures at on impeachment at Georgetown, Bowman doesn’t pretend to be above the fray, politically. He describes himself as a “centrist” Democrat. But he insists, “I’ve tried hard to play it straight in applying rigorous legal and constitutional analysis.”
Shortly after eight on Monday morning, the President of the United States, making maximal use of his “executive time,” wielded his smartphone to issue a legal threat against the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. It is worth reading the missive from @realDonaldTrump in full: “Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people. It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?”
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that Senate rules would require him to take up any articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump if approved by the House, swatting down talk that that the GOP-controlled chamber could dodge the matter entirely.
In the course of just two weeks, a previously unknown scandal sprawled to imperil Donald Trump’s presidency. News broke that the Trump administration was withholding a mysterious whistleblower complaint from Congress on September 13. The chaotic days afterward were filled with leaks, revelations, document releases, and a new Democratic consensus in favor of an impeachment push.
If you’re looking at history to provide a guide to the impending impeachment saga … don’t. With only three past examples, involving three very different controversies, there’s thin gruel that will provide little nourishment. So let’s turn to a different tool: the concept of an infinite number of universes, where events play out in different ways, depending on everything from consequential decisions to random chance. Modesty forbids asserting that any of the outcomes listed below will happen; only that they might.
More than half of Americans — and an overwhelming number of Democrats — say they approve of the fact that Congress has opened an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. But as the inquiry begins, there is no national consensus on how to assess the president's actions.
For President Donald Trump, impeachment once seemed like a vacation compared to the never-ending, leak-filled Mueller investigation. The president for months genuinely believed he’d gain politically from an impeachment inquiry because he thought Democrats were out to get him on any issue they could, and such an inquiry would make that clear, according to two former senior administration officials.
For nine out of 10 Republicans in the House or Senate, the defense they’ve mounted of Donald Trump is simple, if a little strange: They’ve forgotten how to read. Senator after senator escaped Washington on Thursday, and every Republican cornered as they hurried toward the next available flight to anywhere else was quick to claim that handling a seven-page complaint had just done them in. Maybe someone can read it to them over the break.
In Federalist 65, Alexander Hamilton considers the problem of impeachment. The process, the Constitution framer writes, is meant for offenses “denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.” Political offenses are, by nature, politicized. They “agitate the passions of the whole community” and “divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused.” The danger, Hamilton says, is that the impeachment process will be decided “more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.” If that proves either the perception or the reality of impeachment, the process loses its legitimacy, and America loses critical protection against tyrants and criminals.
Americans are split, 49%-46%, on whether they approve of Democrats' impeachment inquiry into President Trump, and independents at this point are not on board, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll finds.
Amid a political swirl over his interactions with the Ukrainian president, President Trump is denying the July phone call between the two leaders included anything improper. But behind the scenes, Trump is “lashing out” in frustration that details of that call were communicated to the person who filed the whistleblower complaint. Yamiche Alcindor joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the latest.
The whistleblower’s identity remains obscured, the details of his work for the CIA cloaked in secrecy. But the document he delivered reveals almost as much about the investigative mission he carried out in stealth as it does about the alleged abuses of power by the president.
On a conference call, Pelosi and the chairs of several powerful committees discussed the path forward following the release of the Mueller report.
We’ve been here before, right after the 2010 midterms, but this time may be even worse. Last time President Obama tried to compromise his way out of gridlock, but the Tea Party-driven Republicans were too insatiable. The president was willing to give away the store, but they wanted the whole damn town. They overplayed their hand, and Obama, in spite of himself, stumbled back into some semblance of coherence and principle — although his thirst for compromise brought the nation to the brink of default before he veered back in the direction of sanity.
Rep. Steve King suggested on Sunday that Congress should begin impeachment talks if President Barack Obama moves ahead with an executive order that could defer deportation for millions of illegal immigrants. "I think, then, we have to sit down and take a look at that. Where would we draw the line otherwise?" the Iowa Republican said on "Fox News Sunday." "If that's not enough to bring that about, then I don't know what would be. We've never seen anything in this country like a president that says 'I'm going to make up all immigration law that I choose, and I'm going to drive this thing regardless of the resistance of Congress.'"
Some 40 years after Richard Nixon resigned to avoid his likely impeachment by the House of Representatives, Washington is again talking impeachment. Members of Congress are denouncing the president’s contempt for constitutional law, while the president is raising money to fight the effort to remove him. But this time, the money pouring in would be just as well spent on defense against Bigfoot. Much of the debate has been more mythological than constitutional.
If you attack the president repeatedly for law-breaking, executive overreach and deceiving the public and Congress, do you have an obligation to impeach him? This is the logical question Republicans are now trying to duck. There is a reason why impeachment is a big deal in Washington this week. It’s not just because a call to defend President Obama motivates the Democrats’ base, although it surely does. John Boehner is having trouble countering fears that House Republicans will eventually try to oust the president because the speaker’s colleagues have spent years tossing around impeachment threats as a matter of routine.
Congressional Republicans have spent the majority of 2014 doing very little even marginally controversial. They put talk of government shutdown showdowns to rest and avoided another stand-off over raising the debt ceiling. The goal was simple: Keep the focus on the unpopular President Obama in hopes of turning the midterm election into a referendum on him.
Last week, House Republicans huddled in a Capitol conference room to figure out what kind of emergency immigration bill they might be able to pass. In his telling, Florida Rep. Ted Yoho wanted the party to jam the White House, to pack the bill with new border security measures and threaten to impeach Obama if he ignored them.
On Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner lashed out in response to growing media chatter about Republicans potentially impeaching President Obama. "We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans," he said, according to The Hill. The recent media emphasis of the issue, Boehner said, is "all a scam started by Democrats at the White House."