Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and, at press time, a majority of House Democrats oppose the impeachment of Donald J. Trump . . . not in principle, but “at this time.”
Why? Most Americans (read most prospective voters in the 2020 elections) do not favor impeachment.
Why? Most fear that an impeachment, followed by a “not guilty” verdict by the Republican-controlled Senate, might well help Trump win a second term.
Instead, Pelosi, most Congressional Democrats, and many others in both parties favor ongoing investigation of Trump and Trump-related “high crimes and misdemeanors,” believing that once the truth of Trump-world behavior is sworn to under oath, the public in general, and even some Republican members of the House and Senate will support removal of the current President.
Not that a clear case for impeaching (essentially, indicating) Trump is not already at hand. Hence, opposition to impeachment “not in principle, but “at this time.”
One of the most interesting cases for the case appeared in the June 5, 2019, New York Times in which Ian Philbrick drafted what he termed “The Articles of Impeachment Against Donald J. Trump,” by simply reviewing the Articles of Impeachment against Nixon and Clinton, then “removing or adding passages” to “match the President’s conduct as described in the Mueller Report and elsewhere.”
The results are both fascinating and compelling
For example, Article I of the charges against Nixon in 1974, indicted the President for obstruction of the investigation into the Watergate affair. Substituting only the name Trump for Nixon and the phrase, “Russian contacts” for “illegal entry” one could write:
“Donald J. Trump, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his close subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede and obstruct the investigation of such Russian contacts and potential obstruction of justice; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities.”
Similarly, Article II of the charges against Nixon, becomes: “Using the powers of the office of president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purpose of these agencies.” Specifics include, of course, misuse of the Department of Justice.
Article III, as in Nixon’s case, indicts Trump for failing to supply papers and other materials lawfully requested by Congress.
Similar transpositions transform the Articles against Clinton into easy indictments of Trump.
The ONLY real obstacle to the impeachment of Donald J. Trump is thus re-affirmed. In principle, he could be indicted (i.e. impeached) tomorrow afternoon.
But he won’t be unless and until a firm majority of the American people knows the facts and insist on his removal.