Democrats have promised to demand answers on his personal taxes, foreign business dealings, family charity, and other areas beyond…
The Hill: Certain common aphorisms were never meant to be taken literally. What does not kill you only makes you stronger is a particularly risky principle by which to live. A watched pot will indeed boil. Time does not heal all wounds. Slow and steady does not always win the race. President Trump added a new and, for him, potentially dangerous aphorism this week, when asked about impeachment. He said he was not at all concerned because “you cannot impeach someone who is doing a great job.”
Trump was hopefully making an aspirational rather than a literal point because a president can be entirely successful in office yet be rightfully impeached for committing “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Indeed, no matter how successful a president may be in executing significant policies, the commission of any impeachable offense means, by definition, that he or she is not doing a great job.
His statement was unnerving not only because he has said it before but because Trump is entering the most dangerous period of his term so far. With Democrats now controlling the lower chamber of Congress, the White House is about to be hit with a torrent of document demands and subpoenas from a half dozen committees. Some Democrats have already stated their intentions, intemperately or even profanely, like Rashida Tlaib.
Democrats have promised to demand answers on his personal taxes, foreign business dealings, family charity, and other areas beyond the Russia investigation. These moves reflect a strategy that not only targets Trump but is counting on Trump to be successful. They are relying on his description of himself as a “counter puncher” to supply the grounds of his removal. Yes, a president can counter punch himself into impeachment.
Despite the filing of articles of impeachment on the very first day the Democrats took control of the House, there is not a strong basis for a single article at this time. Thus far, the strongest basis is the money paid to two women to silence them about alleged affairs with Trump before the election. While highly damaging, these allegations can be difficult to prosecute and occurred before Trump took office. An in kind campaign contribution simply is not a strong standalone issue for impeachment.
Likewise, there still is no compelling basis to allege a crime based on obstruction or theories of collusion. That leaves Democrats with a House majority secured, at least in part, on promises of impeachment but without a clear act to warrant impeachment. Special counsel Robert Mueller could well supply the missing “high crimes and misdemeanors,” of course, but the only other possible source is Trump himself. As he demonstrated during the James Comey debacle, Trump has the ability to do himself great harm by acting impulsively or angrily.
His firing of Comey as FBI director was not the problem. An array of Democrats and Republicans, as well as career prosecutors, felt Comey deserved to be dismissed. Instead, it was the timing. Rather than firing Comey upon taking office, Trump waited and then fired him after inappropriately questioning him on the Russia investigation and asking for leniency for a former associate, retired general Michael Flynn. Trump also reportedly called for the firing of Mueller, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, only to be deterred by his staff.
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