How? By not introducing (at least so far) an article of impeachment based on Trump’s obstruction of justice as described in the Mueller report. In particular, telling Don McGahn to fire Mueller, and to prepare a false document denying that Trump gave that order.
The following are arguments that Republicans have made, and will make again in the Senate, against impeachment based on the Ukraine matter:
- The investigation was begun by partisans, and not by an outside counsel.
- The acts complained of do not amount to statutory crimes.
- There is no first-hand witness to the events whose account has been made public.
- There is an arguable national purpose to the actions that does not relate to President Trump personally.
I’m not saying they are good arguments. The first is irrelevant. The second is irrelevant and indeed laughable, given the Founders’ concerns about abuse of presidential power. The third is a joke because we have the transcript, I mean the summary, of the call. And the fourth depends on the notion that Trump deeply cared about corruption in Ukraine — but only corruption related to two individuals, a father and a son, and only after the father became his chief political opponent.
But these arguments would be even harder to make about the obstruction of justice outlined in the Mueller report. The investigation was done by a special counsel, investigating and finding substantial evidence of statutory violations. McGahn is a firsthand witness and we know what he told Mueller. And telling McGahn to lie has no plausible public justification.
Nothing would change if this article of impeachment were introduced, of course. The Republican hacks in the Senate would vote to acquit on this charge too. But they’d look like even bigger fools doing so than they already will. And there is no reason to give Trump a pass on the egregious behavior outlined in the Mueller report.
Well. They didn’t ask me.
[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]