The dominoes have fallen. Let the impeachment inquiry begin in earnest.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that she’s greenlighting a formal impeachment investigation— an initial step—into President Trump’s actions, which, she said, violate the Constitution. The allegation: the president used a foreign leader to try to take down a domestic political rival.
Pelosi’s throwing the doors open to impeachment, and a cavalry of House Democrats from Texas jumping on board, came after the Trump administration refused to hand over a whistleblower to Congress. The whistleblower alleges Trump, on a phone call, pressured Ukraine’s President to investigate Joe Biden and his family. This claim is corroborated by a rough transcript released by the White House on Wednesday.
The President has more than earned this impeachment inquiry. He intentionally provokes not just the Democrats and media but American democracy itself. At minimum, he tries to circumvent laws to see what he can get away with. His pathology that he’s above the law is the high crime of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” standard outlined by the Framers.
We could tick through the litany of constitutional and moral wrongdoings. But you probably already know what they are: Russia, family separation at the Texas border, Muslim ban, treatment of women, “good people” at the Charlotesville white supremacist march, Trump’s businesses making a profit from foreign governments, etc.
2020 will be a base election. Assuming for a minute the relevant House committees go beyond just an inquiry and actually hold votes on impeachment, the measure could die in the Republican-led Senate. Base voters, and others, will want to personally serve up their own punishment and put a nail in the coffin next November.
Pelosi, who withheld her impeachment imprimatur for months, isn’t politically dumb. Far from it. Democrats are now on offense, with Trump on defense—a place the pugnacious president can’t stand.
It’s too early to know how an impeachment proceeding will play in the Lone Star State, but Trump already isn’t popular here. Multiple polls indicate he’s struggling, and more than half of Texans don’t like the job he’s doing.
The mega-storyline here isn’t just about Democrats. It’s also about Republicans’ full-throated embrace of the president, or their thunderous silence on the matter, which is tacit approval.
The House should levy the sternest possible punishment of impeachment for violating our constitutional rule of law. That an American president also denigrates immigrants, the Black community, and women doesn’t help his cause. Which is why impeachment would be all the sweeter if it’s being led by the most powerful woman in government.