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Impeachment is about to make everything worse.

If our politics seems overheated, our institutions beleaguered and our public debate degraded, just wait until we are in the midst of the impeachment debate.

Democrats have had an impeachment itch that they’ve been desperate to scratch ever since Donald Trump took office. For them, Ukraine is equal parts a genuine outrage and an excuse, the release valve for nearly three years of fear and loathing.

Rich Lowry mug

Rich Lowry

Rather than conducting himself as if he’s aware that a hysterical opposition is eager to impeach him just as soon as it finds a reason, Trump has embraced constant provocation. He has shown little interest in distinguishing between himself and the high office that he holds. Although we need to learn more, there’s clearly an impropriety in his handling of Ukraine.

If he’d only urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to cooperate with Attorney General Bill Barr on the probe related to the beginnings of the 2016 Russian investigation, it would be completely appropriate (the president reportedly pushed other countries to cooperate, as well). Or, if the story only involved Rudy Giuliani poking around in Ukraine under his own power to find damaging information on the Bidens, it’d be standard hardball politics.

It’s the intersection of the latter with Trump’s official capacity as president that’s inappropriate.

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Enough to impeach and remove him? Presidential-level diplomacy always involves horse-trading, and it, surely, is not the first time a president has prodded an ally to do him a favor in his political interest. The risk of Trump’s heavy-handed request — an aid package to Ukraine was being held up at the time — was that the Ukrainians would have felt compelled to manufacture damaging information on the Bidens. That didn’t happen, and the aid, thanks to congressional pressure, was released in short order.

So far as we know, Ukraine lacks the hallmarks of other presidential scandals. There’s been no cover-up. Trying to keep a transcript of a presidential call from leaking in the absence of any congressional or criminal investigation doesn’t qualify. And once the controversy became public, the White House rapidly released key documents.

Nor is there any violation of law. Trump’s ask of Zelenskiy wasn’t extortion or a campaign-finance violation under any rational interpretation of our statutes. If it was, practically every president in our history would have had criminal exposure.

Unless there’s a thermonuclear revelation, impeachment will be an exercise in futility, inevitably ending with Trump’s Senate acquittal. There’s tsk-tsking in the press and among Democrats about Republicans holding the line. But GOP senators, by and large, are going to end up where their voters are. You can’t expect Republicans to be told, falsely, for two and a half years straight that some conspiracy with the Russians was going to be uncovered imminently and then accept at face value a five-alarm interpretation of Ukraine.

Democrats can point to the predicate of the Clinton impeachment. Although if Trump had flagrantly and repeatedly perjured himself, he’d have been impeached long ago. The lesson from the 1990s is, Yes, you can impeach in the absence of any real hope of convicting in the Senate, but it’s a lot of trouble to go through for basically a censure vote.

If Trump were for some reason actually removed on anything like the current universe of possible evidence, it would create a crisis of legitimacy at the heart of our government. Think of what the U.K. is going through with Brexit, only worse. Ten of millions of Trump voters would feel cheated and disenfranchised, and the roiling populism that Trump has tapped into would get stronger, not dissipate.

Congress has shown before that it’s possible to conduct a big, news-dominating investigation without impeachment proceedings; it’s what it did during the Iran-Contra hearings in Ronald Reagan’s second term. But impeachment is the verdict that Democrats have always wanted, and any offense will do.

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Rich Lowry is editor of The National Review.

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(69) comments

Rick Czeczok

All the little bobble heads ganging up on anyone who disagrees with them. Why; because they are an socialist activist group that are organized and are doing this garbage all over the country to papers that let them. Communism is spread by people like this they used to at least admit they were a communist party, now the pretend to be democrats with a socialist agenda. Fake people with really bad ideas. Watch out for what you wish for, once changed you will never see it again. Socialism is only one leader away from a dictatorship.

oldhomey

We will take it under advisement. Thank you for your testimony, Ricky.

Jobaba

Must impeachment be based on a statutory crime?



No. Congress certainly can — and perhaps must — impeach if the President has committed a crime. But even if Trump's conduct dodges the statutory raindrops and doesn't quite meet the definition of a federal crime, impeachment at its core is a remedy for abuse of constitutional power.



The Constitution prescribes impeachment for "treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors."



But the term "high crimes and misdemeanors" is not defined anywhere in the Constitution or statute law, and appears to be drawn from English parliamentary practice, which provided for impeachment for crimes or for conduct beyond the reach of established criminal law.



Our own precedent supports the notion that a crime is not necessary for impeachment. President Andrew Johnson was impeached by the House (and then acquitted by the Senate) for firing a Secretary of War — certainly not a criminal act.



Drafted articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon included abuse of power and misuse of public office, while one of the proposed articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton (voted down by the full House) related to abuse of power for non-criminal conduct.- CNN

DMoney

Ok, throw out "high crimes and misdemeanors". That leaves treason and bribery as eligible causes for impeachment. Neither has remotely occurred. So, now we're inventing things.

martian2

throw out high crimes and misdemeanors??? Who said anything about those not being important. Might as well throw out treason and bribery too, heck toss out the entire constitution. Let Trump do whatever he wants. Talk about inventing things, how preposterous.

A Veteran

martian you throw out people having free speech--,do you not?????????????


martian2

oh fake veteran reared his ugly head from his drunken stupor to type one sentence. What a great accomplishment from you! Free speech stupidity, I think you are entitled to make a fool of yourself as much as you want to. Just do it somewhere else, we all had enough of you for one lifetime.

A Veteran

martian your problem is you like to lie a LOT and you dislike the fact that I call you out for your serial lying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

martian2

oh fake veteran, there is no fooling you, that's for sure. Those one sentence postings you present are classic. Love those exclamation points, they sure prove intelligence on your part. I am just dumb founded on what to say. You got me, what else is there to admit.

capedcrusader

AVeteran/Czeczok - you and DMoney don't believe in the First Amendment when it comes to Kaepernick though do you?

new2Lax

Looks like the report on Schiff knowing of the whistleblowers complaint a week before schiff wrote it and it is being reported by the NYT’s, so I have a less than 50% chance it may be correct. More than likely it looks like Schiff put this person up to making a complaint to the IG. You can bet, Schiff made him or her sound as credible as possible. If Trump had done something this bad he would have been impeached the same day at least by the left.

PhysicsIsFun

This is being reported by the New York Post, a blatantly biased tabloid newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch. So with that in mind assuming it is true what matters is the veracity of the claim. No one has challenged that. My guess is this tabloid has made something out of nothing.

A Veteran

funny---It was an article in the NYT and hardly reported on most news and cable sites.Looks like the media is like you trying to ignore it.Maybe you had better start looking for truthful news outlets instead of your liberal loon outlets who either ignore or lie about news.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


oldhomey

Well, Schiff was told a few days before filing the complaint that the whistle blower had filed a complaint, and he knew the bare bones of what was in the transcript, apparently, but never saw it until it was released by the White House, which has never denied the contents in the transcript. Show us one fact refuted by Trump's furious reaction, new2. He hasn't because he knows it is now likely that more records of the transcript likely will be recovered and examined by the House committees, showing its accuracy. The whistle-blower sent his complaint through channels through the CIA, according to the accounts I have seen, but he so distrusted how the White House was likely to bury it before it saw a thorough airing out that he arranged to tell the House Intelligence committee that there was a complaint and a transcript to back up the complaint. That is what Schiff learned early on and made sure it would not be buried. That is why Trump has to sputter furiously with all that egg on his face. One hopes this is finally the beginning of the end to his corrupt presidency, either through conviction or by a disgusted electorate roundly voting him out and, one also would hope, all the Republicans who continue to protect this corrupt presidency.

PhysicsIsFun

This is exactly what I read, Rep. Schiff knew that a whistleblower had contacted the staff of his committee. He still does not know if it was the whistle blower that filed the complaint. The notion that he helped write the complaint is just one more lie in a blizzard of lies told by Trump and propagated by Newt.

new2Lax

I did May a slight error here, Adam Schiff and staff knew of the transcript a month before not a week before. The staff was meeting with the whistleblower and advising he or she as what to do, they met face to face and I’m sure they never said a thing to Schiff about the contents of what was discussed. So what you actually believe they withheld the content until the day before, I guess, it’s possible but we both know it didn’t happen. I guess that’s why Schiff never mentioned having any knowledge of the complaint prior to the day before released and you think Republicans are naive. This is what happened more than likely, Schiff and staff wrote the complaint for the whistleblower, they had a month to prepare. Trump doesn’t sputter on anything. The fact that Schiff was involved a month prior without reporting it will be the downfall of the allegations. I’m sure being involved with the case prior will mean he will recuse himself. He and his staff were involved as advisors.

PhysicsIsFun

Please share with us the source of all of this information. Is it Trump, the world's biggest liar?

oldhomey

new2, you "did May a slight error here"? Everything you write is erroneous, and you continue to proffer this garbage without a scintilla of evidence to back it up other than it was taken from the most-watched cable news network in the country, a network that is not news but entertainment for the uninformed. Please answer Physics' 11:13am post.

martian2

another whataboutism from fox nut newt. Go after the prosecutor, the investigator cause defending the stupidity of Trump is tiresome and an exercise in futility. so try to turn the tables on to the ones trying to find out the truth. That always works. Look at Nixon, he did many times and he came out of it unscathed. Wait..nope it didn't work then. And it won't work now.

DMoney

On the contrary, this will lead to a rejuvenating of the Republican base. Fundraising has skyrocketed since this latest witch Hunt. We don't appreciate the low brow attempts at a coup.

martian2

so veteran why do you keep lying about being a veteran? Why do you and your alter ego ricky boy post such stupid things. WHY why why!!!

oldhomey

Any question that is followed by 14 question marks must be a serious question, indeed, A Veteran (of no known military unit). So, seriously, Schiff did not lie about it. I am puzzled that you think he did.

capedcrusader

Your turn to answer AVeteran/Czeczok.

A Veteran

oldphony so why did Schiff lie about having contact with the whistle-blower??????????????


PhysicsIsFun

Lately I have been reading a book (The Fifth Risk) about the transition from The Obama Administration to the "Trump Administration". (I use scare quotes because it is scary.) My background is science, engineering, and education. If what I have read is truthful, and I assume it is. The most egregious scandal of this presidency is its sheer incompetence. They have taken important departments of government (e.g. Energy and Agricultural) and replaced professional scientists and engineers with political hacks. People who know nothing about the job they are assigned. People who are more concerned with politics than functionality. Trump and his people have made no effort to learn how government functions, how it protects all of us, and its vital importance. If you hired a person to run a company, and he did it like Trump is running our government you would fire him. It is disgraceful. As a 30+ year public employee it makes me sick. We will be lucky to get through this presidency without a major public health or public safety catastrophe.

DMoney

Yet, no bad results have emerged. Can you explain that? You--an educated, experienced public worker who specializes in science and engineering--are trying to tell me that 1+1=8. Explain.

PhysicsIsFun

Yes I can explain it. Not all bad decisions lead to immediate bad results, but given enough time the bad consequences will follow. You seem to be pretty reckless in many of your opinions, yet you may be surviving for now. Let's check back when you are my age and see how it worked out. I personally prefer that our nation be governed by talented people who know how the world works. Trump is not one of those people, and neither are most of the people he appoints to important positions. They are political hacks taking jobs which require competence.

PhysicsIsFun

Dmoney if you follow your logic the person who drives drunk should be considered a safe driver until something bad happens. Adults try to look at reckless, uninformed, and ill conceived policies, procedures, and behavior and do things to stop it before something bad happens. Apparently you and many Republicans don't operate like adults.

martian2

nailed him physics, D won't have a come back from your 1;02 post. He'll hide for awhile now and count his 401k dollars.

capedcrusader

DMoney - your turn...

new2Lax

I will keep everyone of the left wing loons informed as to what they can expect going forward. This is the only place they can get real information as to what is really transpiring , I think even they have given up on CNN and MSNBC but only when their numbers plummeted after the failed Mueller report. Never fear, your crack HR guy will guide you through all the pending turmoil. Looks like not only Joe Biden is done for but you will not feel the Bern much longer, we have our candidate by default and I guess it was inevitable. I think Pocahontas will have enough trouble with her support for eliminating employer based healthcare for 180 million folks, not to mention 30 trillion in freebies. Let’s get on with it.

Rick Czeczok

All for nothing otherwise Nancy would put it up for a vote. She knows it goes nowhere in the senate if it would make it out of the house. How many more fishing expeditions will Nadler and Shift try before they realize they are hurting their own socialist party. At least that is one good thing that will come out of it, then maybe they can close the door on this socialist push that will ultimately destroy this country if it would succeed.

PhysicsIsFun

Yeah Ricky everybody knows it will go nowhere in the senate. Moscow Mitch is just as big a tool as Trump. If Trump is found guilty of horrible crimes in the House Mitch and Republicans still might support him. Nothing he does seems to bother them or you. We can all thank the Republican Party for such great leaders.

capedcrusader

Hopefully Moscow gets replaced in 2020.

oldhomey

Lowry, the standard spokesman for establishment GOP types, now. like the establishment GOP, is so cowed by Trump bullying that he is reduced to making illogical arguments in a desperate attempt to protect Trump.



He tells us: "Rather than conducting himself as if he’s aware that a hysterical [Lowry's hysterical attempt to belittle the Democratic criticism of Trump] opposition is eager to impeach him just as soon as it finds a reason, Trump has embraced constant provocation. He has shown little interest in distinguishing between himself and the high office that he holds. Although we need to learn more, there’s clearly an impropriety in his handling of Ukraine."



So glad, Mr. Lowry, that you do, indeed, acknowledge and understand the gravity of what Trump did. And you, like I am sure 95 percent of the electorate (obviously this would not include crank, D, new2, Climate, bozo et al.) want to have a deeper investigation of it. Bravo for you, Mr. Lowry. We will hold you to your public statement to that effect.



Since you understand completely that what Trump has been doing contiually throughout his presidency, it is difficult to understand on what grounds that you think it is wrong to hold him to account finally.



After all, you also acknowledge now that it is the the right and the duty of Congress to step in when the executive branch oversteps its authority. You say it right here: "The risk of Trump’s heavy-handed request — an aid package to Ukraine was being held up at the time — was that the Ukrainians would have felt compelled to manufacture damaging information on the Bidens. That didn’t happen, and the aid, thanks to congressional pressure, was released in short order."



You don't reward such malfeasance by giving it a pass because you caught up to it in the nick of time. You protect the nation from further malfeasance by holding the malefactor to account legally.


DMoney

I am in full favor of a deep investigation on the issue. Investigate away. I'm confident nothing illegal or immoral will be discovered--yet again-- and will do nothing but invigorate our base leading into the election year. On the off chance that I'm wrong, and something clearly illegal/immoral has occurred--I want that caught and addressed. I believe in truth; I can handle the truth; I believe it's on our side.

oldhomey

How do you feel about the White House trying to invoke executive privilege to stop the investigating committees from seeing relevant documents and questioning relevant officials and witnesses, D? That is the key from herein out.

DMoney

If that is legal, I'm all for it.

oldhomey

How did you feel about Nixon when he said, "I am not a crook", D? You weren't born yet? Well, fear not, you will now live through a very similar episode of a guilty president desperately protesting he is innocent. If there is any justice in the world, the outcome for the present occupant of the White House will be a much more uncomfortable one than the fate Nixon met.

capedcrusader

Obstruction isn't legal.

martian2

D you don't care for truth, that much is obvious. You will redefine terms, spin facts, and constantly move the end line. Immorality is one character of this president that is irrefutable. Making hush payments to adult film star and deny it. Having affairs while his wife has a baby. Brags about grabbing women by you know what. Those are just the tip of the ice berg on the immorality of Trump, yet you have dismissed them in the past because your 401k is doing well. And there we have it, your idea of immorality has to do with your 401k not making money. It has nothing to do with the true sense of right and wrong.

DMoney

Yet, he's married. He's rich. He's not a felon. He's got great relationships with his kids. The RESULTS of his presidency have been mostly positive. Yes, I'll take actual, real-life, proven outcomes over feelings.

martian2

"I'm confident nothing illegal or immoral will be discovered" Those are your words. Now you move the end line again saying it doesn't matter, only my 401k matters. If your morality is that, then there is no sense talking to you. You don't care about the truest sense of morality of right and wrong. Of course neither do many dictators around the world, past and present. but hey if the trains run on time who cares. If laws are broken and the world turns against us who cares, the stock market is doing good.

A Veteran

martian is prohibiting someone FREE SPEECH right or wrong????????????


martian2

he has great relationships with his kids? How do you know that? Have you ever seen him with his youngest son? How do you know what goes on behind closed doors? Why would you even bring any of that up. shows true desperation on your part.

capedcrusader

A Veteran - that's what the likes of you were trying to do with Kaepernick wasn't it?

capedcrusader

DMoney - I don't believe he's had a great relationship with his kids a day in his life. Trump has zero family values . Paying prostitutes money for sex is not setting a good example for any family.

new2Lax

Pray for Trump being removed from office as I will jump off a bridge if he is. I just read the letter sent to Barr from Australia and it clearly says they are willing to cooperate with the Barr on the investigation in to the origins of the Russian/Trump collusion. So If your assumptions are correct, there is nothing to fear in the on going investigation’s but we all know there is plenty of corruption that went on as we seen in the FBI.

oldhomey

Would you allow me to select the bridge, new2? You are proud that Trump and his henchmen approached yet another foreign nation and enlisted it into helping the Trump campaign? My, you are one terrific patriot. I trust, however, Australia will be more resistant to being cowed by Trump's bullying and will not gin up something falsely sensational for use in the campaign and then promptly forgotten.

capedcrusader

Believe me "new2Lax, I would pay money to watch you jump off a bridge. I would hope you aren't using a bungee cord.

johnnybragatti

Lowry is getting scared, so he cops a : "why make a big assed deal about it." ? ,. Dems and Libtards ,looking for impeachment in all the wrong places? Evidently the 500+ potential indictments , the Orange Carcass qualifies for,are not a serious problem.

Who knew? Lowry is scared and pooh poohs it ,while nationwide Trump-Humpers are getting more "cranky', as is the case when their dictator is called on the carpet. Some of "em get down right angry and extend their rage toward the Dems.

Jobaba

An immaculate exercise in minimalisation. Here be a truism for ya. Just because Democrats have been watching this president like a hawk (because his corruption is obvious) is not an argument that they haven't found an impeachable offense. These are two different things.

A coverup? If you call White House lawyers causing transcripts to be "hidden" on a different computer system than normal (because they knew the transcripts showed guilt) anything but a coverup, then you are a unique one, indeed.



I fear the baby will become ill with the breeze blowing through the holes in this editorial. To minimize a serious violation of the Constitution is the GOP taking the American public for fools...again. And yet conservatives will and are trying. I must thank them for creating more minds bent on impeachment. Americans don't like being taken for fools.

PhysicsIsFun

Well Lowry your party nominated and elected an incredibly unqualified, immoral, inappropriate, and unprepared person. So this is what we get.

new2Lax

How do you account for this moron getting all this done economy, etc., GDP. Looks like it takes someone Democrats call a moron to get it done, either he is very smart or awful lucky, Obama must have been neither.

PhysicsIsFun

How do I account for it? I don't , because it is not true. Only fools like you believe it.

new2Lax

For god sake, I think you are immoral.

PhysicsIsFun

You don't even know me. As a matter of fact, you seem pretty clueless to me.

oldhomey

Well-said and well-played, Physics. There is a lot of low-hanging fruit on these comment boards when it comes to right-wingers, and new2 is one of the lowest of them all.

DMoney

Funny, his entire lifes outcome is the exact opposite of the accusations you describe. I'll take the results, but thanks.

oldhomey

Huh? What did I miss here? Whose life and whose accusations?

DMoney

Physics original comment. He has a problem with simple math, despite his background.

PhysicsIsFun

Dmoney we get it you are all in for Trump, and you want to be just like him. You aspire to be a lying, narcissistic, incompetent, bullying rich guy. That is quite an asperation. It appears you are well on your way. Congrats.

capedcrusader

So you like the results of his bankruptcies too I presume? So you think the present state of our economy is due to Trump? I thank goodness every day this man isn't the one who followed George W Bush. After the Bush/Cheney Great Recession Trumps tax breaks for the ones least likely to need them would have driven us into a Great Depression. NO THANKS!

new2Lax

I suppose the fact that several phone calls with foreign countries have been leaked, this may stop access to them and release of there content. Leaking is illegal and I would use what ever it took to correct the problem. Hey would anyone do less, it is the duty of the President and his staff to protect these communications, period. When it comes right down to it, whose explanation are you going to accept, the radical left who see’s impeachment around every corner or a President who did exactly what should be done to protect the privacy of these calls. You probably noticed the Obama administration refused to turn over any calls with foreign heads of state, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. This will go nowhere as will the impeachment process.

PhysicsIsFun

Wow! You are delusional.

johnnybragatti

the newt2FoxAddict is high without help from anyone. The perpetual flunkie ,in life, with no success in sight and blames Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for each and every short-coming. he has to endure. An awful dark tragedy.the life of this loser. Lucky he never had kids.


oldhomey

Refresh our memories for the rest of us, new2 (though I can't speak for crank on this). Tell us about all the whistle-blower reports that came out accusing Obama of criminal actions with foreign entities and governments when he was president. And resurrect all those clumsy efforts by Obama to cover up his activities enumerated by the whistle=blowers. The state of the union under Trump is not one we can celebrate with eating cake. Wipe that frosting off your face.

new2Lax

I would rather discuss how Adam Schiff should have referred this whistleblower to the DOJ rather than writing the complaint for he or she. He knew of the complaint a week before and directed the whistleblower as to how to make it look as bad as could be. Think there is any bias in this, think again, funny how this wasn’t mentioned and shows a clear bias and was certainly inappropriate. What a joke. Let’s peach 45.

oldhomey

Of course you would rather discuss something else, equally as false, because you cannot back up what you said about Obama. How stupendously stuporous of you and your usual lack of candor.

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