Trump has just tweeted that he’d like SCOTUS to stop the impeachment, and aside from the signal he’s trying to send them, Trump has finally realized that there will be consequences from the actual impeachment process. The details of the articles of impeachment are being drafted and there will be plenty on which the House will be voting. Robert Reich has written an article that reminds us of those consequences now worrying POTUS*.
If Trump is impeached by the House, he can never be pardoned for these crimes. He cannot pardon himself (it’s dubious that a president has this self-pardoning power in any event), and he cannot be pardoned by a future president.
So if there’s no chance of getting the 20 Republican votes needed to send Trump packing, is there any reason for this impeachment proceeding to continue?
Yes. There are three reasons.
The first is the constitution itself. Donald Trump has openly abused his power – not only seeking electoral help from foreign nations but making money off his presidency in violation of the emoluments clause, spending funds never appropriated by Congress in violation of the separation of powers, obstructing justice, and violating his oath to faithfully execute the law.
A failure by Congress to respond to these abuses would effectively render the constitution meaningless. Congress has no alternative but to respond.
The second reason is political. While the impeachment hearings don’t appear to have moved Republican voters, only 29% of Americans still identify as Republican.
The hearings do seem to have affected Democrats and independents, as well as many people who sat out the 2016 election. National polls by Morning Consult/Politico and SSRS/CNN show that 50% of respondents now support both impeaching Trump and removing him from office, an increase from Morning Consult/Politico’s mid-November poll.
Presumably anyone who now favors removing Trump from office will be inclined to vote against him next November. The House’s impeachment could therefore swing the 2020 election against him.
The third reason for the House to impeach Trump even if the Senate won’t convict him concerns the pardoning power of the president.
Had the House impeached Nixon, Ford’s hands would have been tied.
Trump is not going to be so lucky. The House will probably impeach him before Christmas and then his chance of getting a pardon for his many crimes will be gone.
History has already cemented Trump’s status as a presidential pariah at a level resembling Andrew Johnson more than Bill Clinton. The GOP attempted to pre-empt the House Intel committee report to be released on Tuesday with their own report on Monday including their strange reasons to help the WH declare Trump innocent without allowing any evidence or witnesses.
DEVELOPING: Ahead of House Dems report, House GOPers released one of their own that ignores evidence from weeks of investigation & damning testimony by senior admin officials who undercut the WH's claim of a “perfect” interaction w/Ukr. Prez. Zelensky.https://t.co/kq2iLKh8rE
— Brandi Buchman (@BBuchman_CNS) December 2, 2019
The House Republicans’ 123-page report is a total defense of the president’s engagement with Ukraine, including the July 25 call in which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate his likely 2020 election opponent Joe Biden. Trump made his request even as he was actively withholding roughly $400 million in U.S. military aid from Ukraine.
House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff called out the criticism with a sharp rebuke on Monday night.
“The minority’s rebuttal document, intended for an audience of one, ignores voluminous evidence that the president used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rival by withholding military aid and a White House meeting the president of Ukraine desperately sought. In so doing, the president undermined our national security and the integrity of our elections,” Schiff said in a statement. ‘Tellingly, the minority dismisses this as just part of the president’s ‘outside the beltway’ thinking. It is more accurately, outside the law and Constitution, and a violation of his oath of office.”
This is a ridiculous argument by House Republicans. @realDonaldTrump never mentioned any valid concerns or corruption in his phone calls with Ukranian Leader. Trump's concerns were very specific: the DNC server in Ukraine conspiracy theory and the Bidens.#DefendOurDemocracy https://t.co/PzTFz1QsrZ
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) December 2, 2019
Because there’s a mountain of evidence that no amount of GOP prevarication can offset.
#MuellerMemos: Hope Hicks told the FBI about an incident where she received a 3am phone call from a "foreign person" with a 202 (DC) area code —
"Hicks had a hard time understanding the person but she could make out the words 'Putin call'" (pg 203) pic.twitter.com/DlOOFKYRe7
— Ellie Hall (@ellievhall) December 2, 2019
The person on the other end of the line was Sergey Kuznetsov, an official at the Russian embassy.
After the call, he sent Hope Hicks this email with the subject line “Extremely urgent message from president putin”
The email was sent at 4:06am on 11/9/2016
Hope Hicks told the FBI that Trump was “angry, surprised, and frustrated” the day Mueller was appointed special counsel, and that she had only seen him like this on one other occasion — when the Access Hollywood tape came out during the campaign:
Hope Hicks told the FBI that Obama warned Trump to “watch out for” Michael Flynn and that the advice “sat with Trump more than she expected.”
Also, “It bothered Trump that both Flynn and his son sent bad tweets.” #MuellerMemos (207)Six pages right in the middle of Hope Hicks’ 1st interview with the FBI are redacted — except for this one line about Trump telling Rick Gates that he needed to “keep an eye” on Paul Manafort #MuellerMemos
— Adam Goldman (@adamgoldmanNYT) December 2, 2019