Don’t Slow Down on Impeachment

Robert Reich. | Yes! Magazine | – –

The three previous presidential impeachment inquiries rested on less evidence of obstruction of justice than is already publicly known about Trump.

The real reason Democratic leaders don’t want to seek an impeachment now is they know there’s zero chance that Republicans, who now control both houses of Congress, would support such a move.

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) is already drafting articles of impeachment related to Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, believing there’s enough evidence of Trump’s obstruction of justice to begin an impeachment inquiry (not to mention Trump’s blatant violation of the Constitutions emoluments clause by profiting off his presidency, and much else).

But Democratic leaders are pushing back, warning there aren’t enough facts to justify an impeachment inquiry at this point, and, in any event, such an inquiry would politicize ongoing congressional investigations.


Historically, the three previous impeachment inquiries in the House (involving presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton) rested on less evidence of obstruction of justice than is already publicly known about Trump.

Comey’s testimony to Congress is itself more than enough—confirming that Trump demanded Comey’s loyalty, asked Comey to stop investigating Michael Flynn, repeatedly told Comey the FBI investigation was a “cloud” on his presidency, and asked Comey to declare publicly that Trump wasn’t an object of the investigation.

In addition, we have Trump’s interview with Lester Holt on NBC and Trump’s subsequent meeting with Russian officials in the Oval Office. In both instances, Trump connected his firing of Comey with the Russian investigation.

Also bear in mind the obstructions of justice that caused the House to impeach previous presidents concerned issues far less serious than Trump’s possible collusion with a foreign power to win election.

Democratic leaders say they don’t want to talk about impeachment now because they’re worried about politicizing the current congressional investigations, which aren’t impeachment inquiries. Hello? Republicans have already politicized them.

The real reason Democratic leaders don’t want to seek an impeachment now is they know there’s zero chance that Republicans, who now control both houses of Congress, would support such a move. So why engage in a purely symbolic gesture?

Democratic leaders figure that between now and the midterm elections there will be even more revelations from non-partisan sources – future testimony by Trump operatives like Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, early reports from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and leaks to the press – that will build the case, and fuel more public outrage.

That outrage will give Democrats a strong chance of taking back the House and maybe even the Senate. Then they’ll really impeach Trump.

I can’t argue with the political logic of Democratic leaders. And if their strategy will lead to Trump’s ouster sooner than any other way, I’m all for it.

But here’s the problem. It’s not clear America can wait for the midterm elections, followed by what’s likely to be a long and drawn-out impeachment investigation, followed by a trial in the Senate. (Note that none of the presidents listed above was ever convicted by the Senate and thrown out of office.)

With each passing day, Donald Trump becomes a greater danger to America and the world. We don’t have time.

The advantage of introducing a bill of impeachment now—even attempting to do so—is that such an action might itself galvanize the vast majority of Americans who want Trump out of office. It could mobilize and energize people around the most important immediate issue facing the country.

Never underestimate the power of a public aroused to action. It is worth recalling that Nixon resigned of his own accord before the House had even voted out an impeachment resolution. The American public demanded it.

This article was originally published at It has been edited for YES! Magazine.

Robert Reich is the chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under former President Bill Clinton. He has written 13 books, including “The Work of Nations,” “Locked in the Cabinet,” “Supercapitalism,” and his most recent book, “Aftershock.” He blogs at

Via Yes! Magazine


Related video added by Juan Cole:

EuroNews: ” Trump confirms he is under investigation”

10 Responses

  1. As horrid as Trump is – and he is, the possibility of gimlet-eyed Mike Pence becoming president is unthinkable. Trading a chaotic incompetent who really is without ideology for a true-believer with knowledge of how to operate the levers of power is a step in the wrong direction.

    The money men who call the Republicans’ tune don’t care about Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors as long as no tipping of their apple cart occurs. And the voters who bought Trump’s snake oil last November will see impeachment as vicious Democrats persecuting the one man who can put the Nigras, Mooslims, Welfare Queens, and Terrorist/Criminal Immigrants in their place. Ridiculous as it may seem, in their minds Trump will be a latter day Agnus Dei, martyred trying to make America great again.

    Better strategy is to impede Trump and his agenda in every way possible, chip away at the Republican majorities in 2018 and put up a candidate in 2020 who can actually win. Let’s hope the republic can survive the experience.

    • william – you are very correct about Mike Pence and his creepy Dominionist bedfellows. Pence has been a fly-on-the-wall throughout and has done NOTHING to stand-up for the citizens of our country.

      Cowardly Pence lurking in the shadows must not become our President.

  2. Politicization by Republicans is their air; Reich is correct and even cautious – indictment/impeachment actions now will gain [not diminish] support for potus’ ouster.
    Might be that the real fear by Dems is that potus will meltdown in lethal ways.

  3. As long ad Trump is going to be, as Grover Norquist put it, their trained monkey the Republicans will never impeach him. He could shoot and kill someone on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of a thousand witnesses and they still wouldn’t even consider it.
    The only way Trump will get impeached before 2020 is if he abandons the “Republican plan.”
    Think about it. Even if dems took every available seat in 2018 they wouldn’t have the votes necessary to impeach.
    It’s time people got off the stupid impeachment idea. It’s wasting energy needed to stop him from ruining this country.

    • What other tools are there to stop him from ruining the country? Most Americans have such short attention spans that they don’t want to know that governance is any more complicated than getting your guy in the White House with a rubber-stamp Congress. The promise of impeachment will at least get them off their asses for the midterms, which is where you’d have to win just to stop Trump on any policy matters.

      Beyond that, stopping Trump from ruining this country requires economic warfare against our fellow crazy citizens and real sacrifices. We would have to BDS ourselves to the brink of civil war.

      • “What other tools are there to stop him from ruining the country?”
        IMHO, “he”, being DJT, is not the one who needs to be stopped. Those people are the billionaires who are financing fascism and economic warfare against all the rest of us. They own the media, ALEC, Pharma, the weapons industries, the energy industries, the corporate farms, etc. etc.
        Also, we do well to keep in mind it’s not only a question of ruining only this country.

  4. An important fact – Trump lost the popular vote. A majority of American voters did not want this maladministration to occur. And they rejected at the polls, the cruel and destructive policies that Trump and his minions are currently forcing upon them. 

    Trump voters are THE MINORITY but due to Republican election CHEATING these miscreants are treated as the majority, THEY ARE NOT!

    This must never be forgotten.

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