'Lawless President': Conservative Columnist Lays Out a Decisive Case for Impeaching Trump
With Michael Cohen's guilty plea, President Donald Trump has potentially been implicated in serious criminal acts.
And conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens — who, while never a fan of Trump, was up until this point skeptical of taking serious action against his presidency — has come to one conclusion: Trump needs to be impeached.
"The Constitution's standard for impeachment is 'Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,'" Stephens wrote in a new op-ed for the Times. "The standard is now met."
"As a candidate," Stephens continued, "Trump is credibly alleged to have purposefully conspired with Cohen to commit criminal acts ... It also means that, as president, Trump allegedly sought to conceal the arrangement by failing to note in his 2017 financial disclosure forms his reimbursements to Cohen. The president most likely continues to lie to the American people about the nature and purpose of these payments."
Stephens then invoked the words of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — now one of Trump's major political supporters in Congress — from the 1990s, during the impeachment proceedings of President Bill Clinton, who drew a parallel between Clinton's sex scandal and Watergate by saying that Richard Nixon "cheated the electoral system" whereas Clinton "cheated the legal system":
To conservatives reading this column, ask yourselves the following questions:
If breaking the law (by lying under oath) to conceal an affair was impeachable, why is breaking the law (by violating campaign-finance laws) to conceal an affair not impeachable?
If “cheating the electoral system” (by means of a burglary) was impeachable, why is cheating the electoral system (by means of illicit hush money) not impeachable?
If cheating “our institutions” (by means of an “assault” in “every way” on the legal system) is impeachable, why is cheating those institutions (by means of nonstop presidential mendacity and relentless attacks on the Justice Department and the F.B.I.) not impeachable?
Stephens lays out the cold, hard facts of the situation and politics, in a way that Republicans in Congress have desperately sought to ignore. With more legal problems for Trump and his associates on the horizon, like a potential deposition and testimony in the Stormy Daniels lawsuit and a second, potentially more revelatory Manafort trial, the reality of what Trump is accused of, and the choice our nation faces, is impossible to brush aside.