Some current members of Congress served in their present capacities during the impeachment of Bill Clinton, 20 years ago. It is thus understandable that the Clinton impeachment would be their automatic reference point as they think about impeaching Donald Trump.
This is a mistake.
It is an understandable human reaction to believe that we have a good understanding of events we lived through, especially if we participated in them in some important way.
This is a mistake.
Good lawyers know that eye witnesses are usually highly unreliable. Human perception is subject to all manner of influences that undermine its reliability. Add on the dodginess of human memory, and looking at documents and other historical sources is a much better way to ensure an accurate understanding of past events. It doesn’t matter if Nancy Pelosi was in the House of Representative when they voted to impeach Bill Clinton, she does not necessarily know what happened then.
The concern current members of the House have, apparently, is that Clinton sailed through impeachment with his popularity largely undiminished and finished his second term with a historically high approval rating.
Understandably, members of Congress who want to be shut of Trump do not want to bring about a repeat of this history.
But this is foolish.
At this writing, Trump’s approval is 41.8 percent, far lower than Clinton’s got throughout his second term.
More importantly, Clinton remained popular during his impeachment because the public could easily see that impeaching him was a partisan hit job that lacked all political and legal merit.
Current members of Congress underestimate the intelligence of the general public.
They seem to forget that Trump lost the popular vote and gained the presidency only because of an archaic, incompetent feature of our Constitution.
They seem to forget that the Democrats control the House of Representatives only because of a huge turnout in their favor in 2018, and that they failed to recapture the Senate because they faced a very bad map.
They seem to think that this obvious repudiation of Trump as the horrible president he is will somehow magically reverse itself by 2020 if they impeach Trump.
That makes no sense.
Like Nixon, the impeachment of Trump will come only after a crime clearly has occurred and a special prosecutor has examined that crime carefully. Like Leon Jaworski, the second Watergate special prosecutor, Robert Mueller indicted numerous people and won several guilty pleas and convictions, with more on the way.
More, Trump continues to commit acts that amount to obstruction of justice almost daily, as Pelosi herself admits.
Pelosi and the rest of the house leadership need to put on their grown up undies and impeach Trump now. He deserves it and the public understands why. Impeachment will provide a golden opportunity to show the public all of the gory details of Trump’s crimes. It will also put the House on the strongest possible legal ground for any court battles that result from Trump’s continued refusal to comply with their subpoenas.
Just do it.