GOP strategist warns fellow Republicans that impeachment is still likely for Trump — regardless of what Nancy Pelosi says
President Donald Trump seldom thanks Democrats for anything, but he did thank House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her recent assertion that she has no interest in impeaching him short of new evidence turning up that is so “compelling and overwhelming” that impeachment would enjoy “bipartisan” support. But conservative strategist Pratik Chougule is taking no comfort in Pelosi’s words, warning fellow Republicans in a new USA Today op-ed that impeachment is still a strong possibility unless they take steps to avoid it. And Chougule is even recommending that Trump not seek reelection in 2020.
Chougule, who served as a policy coordinator for the 2016 presidential campaigns of Trump and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, warns Republicans that regardless of what Pelosi said, Rep. Ilhan Omar made a “promise to introduce articles of impeachment by the end of the month.” And in light of attorney Michael Cohen’s public anti-Trump testimony before the House Oversight Committee in late February, Chougule stresses, Republicans must “offer a coherent defense of the president, or at least a cogent case for why impeachment is an inappropriate remedy for his wrongdoing.”
“Cohen might not have provided a smoking gun on the Russia collusion question,” Chougule tells the GOP, “but he broadcast in front of millions of Americans evidence and allegations that Trump committed an array of crimes and ethical lapses in his campaign finance disclosures, business dealings and cooperation with federal investigations. Cohen’s portrayal of Trump’s win-at-all-costs mindset did little to quell suspicions that the president is putting his personal interests in Russia ahead of the country.”
Chougule goes on to say that in order to “prevent a premature end to the Trump presidency,” Republicans will need to “take three steps”: (1) “indicate a genuine commitment to fact-finding and a willingness to sanction the president if investigations so warrant,” (2) “raise legitimate, principled concerns about prosecutorial overreach,” and (3) “pressure Trump to forgo his re-election bid.”
Of course, #3 would be totally unacceptable to many pro-Trump Republicans—who are afraid to give him even mild criticism, let alone encourage him not to seek reelection in 2020. But Chougule asserts that doing so “would give the Republicans a reset and reduce Democratic incentives to pursue protracted investigations.”
Chougule concludes his op-ed by making a Trump/President Richard Nixon comparison.
For Democrats, Chougule explains, a “strategy of character assassination” rather than calling for impeachment “will avoid short-term confrontation with Trump, but it will also turn public opinion against him and increase the likelihood of forcing him into the dilemma faced by another scandal-ridden president. When Republicans quickly and unexpectedly turned against him in the summer of 1974, President Richard Nixon had little choice but to fight a losing battle in a Senate trial—or resign with the possibility of a presidential pardon.”