Why Nancy Pelosi must set aside the politics of impeachment — and focus on the constitutional imperative of it

Thank you, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for telling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the Russia-Trump case is not closed. That's a start, but you can do a whole lot better than this: "Trump is goading us to impeach him. […] he knows that it would be very divisive in the country, but he doesn't really care. He just wants to solidify his base."

Trump isn't goading Congress to impeach him. He's counting on Pelosi to continue thinking just that, that "it would be very divisive in the country," and to shy away from it out of concern for the politics of 2020. His base is solidified and will only become increasingly so as he's able to bat away every attempt by Democrats to hold him and his administration accountable.

Pelosi also says that the House "can't impeach him for political reasons" but also can't not impeach him for political reasons. "We have to see where the facts take us." The facts have taken us there already. The Mueller report was essentially an impeachment referral. That's confirmed in the statement from former federal prosecutors that Trump's conduct would, "in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice." There are now some 650 prosecutors, Republican and Democrat alike, who've signed onto that statement.

At this point it's basically a petition to the Democratic House and to Pelosi, imploring them to impeach. The obstruction continues, by the way, with the White House instructing former White House counsel Don McGahn to refuse to honor a congressional subpoena, and word that they're going to try to block special counsel Robert Mueller himself from testifying.

The obstruction is happening right before our very eyes. There's no point in keeping any dry powder around at this point: there’s nothing to save it for if Trump gets away with this. There won't be any rule of law to protect the next time around—and there will be a next time, if Trump isn't held accountable.

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