Will Ukraine Shift the Never-Trump Ground on Impeachment?
by D.J. McGuire
House Democrats deciding whether or not to support impeaching President Trump have faced numerous pressures in either direction – usually, folks to their left all but demand, while those to their right forswear it.
One of the loudest impeachment-is-a-bad-idea factions has been the slowly dwindling but still influential group known as Never Trump Conservatives (of which, full disclosure, I still consider myself to be one). Then the Ukraine story hit (Washington Post):
In particular, there was concern about whether or not Trump tried to pressure Zelensky to rehash old and disproven charges surrounding the family of Joe Biden. That later became the explicit accusation (WaPo).
On one level, this was just one more log for the Trumpster-fire, as Trump supporters and opponents took their usual positions…
…except for Never Trump Conservatives, some of whom took the additional step of moving past their previous skepticism about impeachment.
For example, Max Boot (WaPo)…
Until now, I have been willing to accede to the judgment of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to go slow on impeachment proceedings that are unpopular with voters and could imperil the Democratic majority. But if the new scandal involving President Trump and Ukraine is as bad as it seems — and that is, of course, a very big if at this early stage — the House will have no choice but to impeach, consequences be damned.
…George Conway (WaPo)…
To borrow John Dean’s haunting Watergate-era metaphor once again, there is a cancer on the presidency, and cancers, if not removed, only grow. Congress bears the duty to use the tools provided by the Constitution to remove that cancer now, before it’s too late. As Elbridge Gerry put it at the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, “A good magistrate will not fear [impeachments]. A bad one ought to be kept in fear of them.” By now, Congress should know which one Trump is.
…Tom Nichols (The Atlantic)…
If this, in itself, is not impeachable, then the concept has no meaning. Trump’s grubby commandeering of the presidency’s fearsome and nearly uncheckable powers in foreign policy for his own ends is a gross abuse of power and an affront both to our constitutional order and to the integrity of our elections.
…and none other than Rick Wilson himself, in reaction to ex-Congressman David Jolly’s recommendation for an impeachment inquiry: “We’re in new territory, and this is clearly the only way to move this past the WH/Barr/DNI obstruction.”
I am not going to say we should expect impeachment to happen tomorrow. The Ukraine story is evolving; people are reacting; and where predictions are concerned, I’m terrible.
I am saying that one of the redoubts of the impeachment-is-mad argument appears to be coming down. Democrats in the House who have not yet decided to support it are less likely to hear Wilson et al warn against it. Indeed, they might hear encouragement for it from their right.
That makes impeachment more likely today than it was yesterday.