Impeach Trump: After Mueller's report, maybe?


Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump, Bob Mueller, Adam Schiff

Nancy, Donald, Bob, Adam.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images, Mark Wilson / Getty Images, Alex Wong / Getty Images, and Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images.

Thursday, the Ministry of Justice released a report redacted version of the Mueller report in Congress and to the public. Since then, the most mute question of recent times has only intensified: should the president be removed? The following is a debate on the slogan between Mark Joseph Stern of Slate, Jim Newell, Lili Loofbourow, Jeremy Stahl, Ben Mathis-Lilley and Mike Pesca, as well as the editor-in-chief of Above the Law, Elijah Mystal, and law professor Frank Bowman, author. of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: Trump's story of impeachment. The conversation has been modified and condensed for clarity.

Mark Joseph Stern: Welcome to the beginning of the dismissal season. As we all know now, the exhaustive (albeit partially expurgated) descriptions of the wrongdoings of Trump and his associates by Special Advisor Robert Mueller are sufficiently damning and have prompted some Liberal legislators to speak of impeachment. Specifically, Mueller's account of the president's efforts to obstruct justice is – at least in my opinion – extremely incriminating. But the Democratic leaders seem timid, given the huge political stakes involved in a dismissal vote, as well as the virtual certainty that the Senate, under Republican control, would never vote to remove Trump from office. Jim, could you give us the configuration of the hill at this close date?

Jim Newell: The hill is still in the first week of its two week suspension. It is therefore difficult to give the impression of a caucus throughout the caucus. But statements so far from mainstream Democrats, whether it's about Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer or Jerry Nadler, seem to indicate that they find the report very damning, Pelosi suggesting that the Bureau's guidelines of Legal advice was decisive for Trump not to be charged. obstruction. This is embarrassing, however, because the more they argue that Trump has clearly obstructed justice, the more their deep conviction that they should not impute Treach because it would be politically risky does not really hold.

Jeremy Stahl: Jim, what are the political risks of impeachment, as the leaders in the House see them?

Newell: The political opinion is this: it would not go anywhere in the Senate, it would bring the president's base together and divert Dems' message away from table items that are more relevant to people, such as the protection of health care. These are good points!

Elie Mystal: I mean, I think it should start with the law. Indictment is the only constitutional remedy available to a president who commits a crime. This is the only remedy against obstruction of justice. The president could be charged and convicted of crimes and go to jail, and again to be president, absence of dismissal. To speak of it as a political strategy gives way. Congress must remove him to defend their oaths of office. Politics should be secondary and the fact that they are not secondary is why the Democrats fail.

Newell: I think that would look pretty party line. Nowhere near the 20 Republicans the Democrats would need.

Mystal: That the republican refusal to condemn is a syphilis on the head. Be it their sad heritage.

Frank Bowman: I can disagree at this point. First, impeachment is a political process, and by design. Despite the bold statements of some, nothing in the Constitution requires the House to initiate impeachment proceedings whenever it is possible to prove that the President has committed a crime, even a crime. This is Clinton's lesson – surely a perjury and most likely an obstruction of justice. Congress is obliged to make a serious decision and, in my opinion, also has the right to make a purely political judgment as to whether an impeachment procedure serves the country or not. Secondly, the arguments in favor of Trump's dismissal are not about whether he tried (vigorously but unsuccessfully) to obstruct Mueller, but by establishing that for a range of subjects he represents a permanent threat to the constitutional order.

Mystal: I do not see why we continue to say that Clinton's lesson applies to this situation. For example, hitting Mike Tyson with a wet noodle probably will not work for you. Hitting Tyson with a tire lever might work better. We can not just say, "Oh, that did not work when we tried to make it sexy, so it probably will not work if the president is engaged in a massive ploy to scam. the public and obstruct justice. "

Newell: It is a political decision and an important decision. Politics must come into play. I just notice a tension that is going to ask questions about why they are not going through the impeachment process. If the Democrats gather all this evidence and if no action is taken beyond, say, a resolution condemning the president, the problem will not arise.

Mystal: And, not for nothing, but I think when you talk to voters of color, or to voters who have had a more personal or family-like experience of the "coming for you" law, you discover that the arguments against Trump are even more scathing. Most Americans do not have the privilege of being charged with crimes but of being sued, because it is "too much trouble" for the system to come to them.

Back: One of the arguments in favor of impeachment is that a trial would allow Democrats to carefully and publicly examine all the overwhelming evidence contained in Mueller's report. I find it difficult not to agree – the report is so dense and long that I fear that many of its new incriminating details will not be over the heads of most people.

Lili Loofbourow: It's an interesting point, Mark, it would force the country to embark on a kind of textual study that would be unlikely to happen otherwise.

Back: Precisely. Think of the number of details of Clinton's embezzlement that we are still talking about today, precisely because the impeachment process has laid them out in a convincing and public way.

Mystal: I give in that the Whites of Wisconsin just want the Democrats to talk about who took their shots. But there is a lot of other voters whose Democrats also need and who find it weak and eager that Democrats do not seek the responsibility of this President up to the ends of the Earth.

Loofbourow: I totally agree that inertia policies are not … particularly inspiring. Even though they feel safer for a lot of Dems.

Ben Mathis-Lilley: I continue to believe that someone might argue convincingly at the Wisconsin White Wisconsin protest that it's not great to have a president whose main occupation is night to justice so that his corrupt friends and his children can do favors for foreign billionaires, but I confess not to have any data on it.

Archer: The problem is that I doubt that our view of the seriousness of all this will be shared, or ever will be, by a solid majority of the electorate. I have very strong opinions on the integrity of the justice system and on the president's obligation to ensure that laws are faithfully executed. For most people, it is a trivial elite ephemeral. The electorate, apart from engaged Democrats, is most likely to see two things: an exemption on collusion and a ban on obstruction. Even if they bother to understand the evidence, the conclusion will probably be that all of this equates to "Trump Being Trump" without real harm.

Unless the Democrats can convince the electorate that something really serious has happened here, the indictment may reinforce the impression that the Democrats are only suing Trump for lack of money. Real political ideas. And this represents a serious electoral risk in 2020, where the imperative is to send Trump back to his post. Do not get me wrong, Trump has committed impenetrable acts on several occasions. But if it is logical that the Democrats should be removed, the question is quite different.

Mystal: I think that A) if Democrats can not explain why having a criminal president is "bad" is their failure, and B) I think Democrats can walk and chew gum. I think they can say, "Look, here are some programs, policies and solutions that will help your family. ALSO, we try to get this crazy out of law because no one is above the law. pie-in-the-sky, but can not we try? We should expect the Democrats try.

Archer: Once the train has started, how do you stop it? That's the dilemma that Ken Starr created for Republicans in Clinton. He threw his salacious report to their door with a recommendation for dismissal. They were stuck, although common sense surely told them that they were in a political trap. The case against Trump is much more convincing on the factual level, but the polarization of the electorate is also much greater, which means that an impartial judgment of the members of the presidential party is proportionally less likely.

Back: I think there is also a psychological component here, both among the Democratic leaders and the grassroots, who lean against the impeachment. As Frank says, it is an extraordinary remedy, yet many Americans are tired of this extraordinary time and want a return to normal. To defeat Trump at the polls is perfectly normal and perhaps just as desirable if your goal is to remove him from office. On the other hand, an impeachment lawsuit would be a political circus and, at best, for the Liberals, would lead to President Pence. Lili, I was wondering if you thought that the dismissal was perhaps an overreaction, a misguided way of fighting fire by fire.

Loofbourow: Of course, the psychology of all this – and by that, I mean, recognize what "normality" means right now, not just in the world of politics, but for the locals who are not political animals and who are tired of everyone … seems central. I do not think anyone (including conventional Wisdom) understands what the American electorate really feels about it, nor how much Barr's double effort to face history has managed to blur the waters. I think Frank is right to think that many Americans do not consider it particularly serious, nor do they salute him as if Trump was an idiot. In other words, I tended to agree with those who said (before yesterday) that the impeachment was imprudent. There was not enough evidence, this argument was retained, and this would be perceived as a political settlement rather than fighting for the current and future health of the nation.

Back: Barr's goal, in addition to presenting the report as favorable to the president, seemed to be to calm the political fires that were raging. "Nothing to do here, people."

Loofbourow: Right. It is also undeniable that the helping hand of democracy took place when the Democrats focused on things that really matter to people in their daily lives: not Russia, not obstruction. Health care.

The Dems must obviously continue to make their main argument. What's interesting to me is that a faction of Dems would likewise, in the end, that the people who advocate the most for dismissal after the report are the ones who have pushed hard for solutions in health care and the fight against climate change. . AOC, reluctantly, wants to indict, but she also wants to repair the damaged items. While Steny Hoyer … well, let's just say that his performance on both fronts is a bit more static. I understand why Dems thinks it's safer. From a pragmatic point of view, they might be right.

Mystal: Many Americans think that drug use is not a big deal too. And yet, millions are incarcerated for the offense. If the law does not matter here, for this man, then it's just B.S. to apply the law to someone else. Not the hopper on the street. Not the following president who decides to commit crimes.

Loofbourow: Right. Moreover, now that we know everything we know – and there is still so much that we do not know yet – I feel that not to accuse is not an option. At least, if the goal is to spare the little integrity and functionality that remains to US institutions. What is the purpose of dismissal (and who is concerned about not ending the impeachment – it is an end in itself) if it is not that?

For here is the thing: what we now know is that if anything saved this president from the impediment charges, his orders to obstruct were not obeyed. The president is asking people to do "crazy shit" (in the immortal words of Don McGahn), and those people who disobey, does not the system work as expected? This is not possible because the executive has too much power. The individual disobedience of subordinates who retain a minimum of conscience – or common sense – can not be the guarantee of America against the misdeeds of the rulers. Right? The president's office is larger than Trump and the military does not have the option to disobey its commander-in-chief.

Mike Pesca: I think there are three groups of people in this country. People who hate Trump, no matter the circumstances, people who love Trump, no matter the circumstances, and the people who will decide this election. I think that the impeachment pleases much in the first group, could even slightly interest the second group and is a big deviation for the third group. Do your political calculations that way.

Back: And Democrats believe that they can count on the first group to vote for them in 2020, whatever happens. So, if they have to alienate a group, they prefer to alienate Trump's fans. Right?

Loofbourow: Yeah. On the other hand, I mean the following problem: it may not be the principle to limit executive power. Perhaps trying to preserve what is left of the normal American system is simply not a priority at the moment, because it assumes a future that is not entirely obvious. For example, acting as good guardians of executive power could be very expensive for the Dems in the 2020 elections, and perhaps climate change is a higher priority than constitutional checks and balances. I guess what has changed is that the impeachment process used to feel like an easy and inexpensive position. After the statement, no charge, it's like that.

Mathis-Lilley: The majority of voters certainly do not believe that Trump is an honest honest man. It may not mean that impeachment is a winning strategy, but it would be an argument that majorities already believe in some ways.

Mystal: I think there are two groups: people who hate Trump and people who are wrong. And you need every one of Trump's enemies to vote, which is not what happened in 2016. People think that these people will just show up whatever happens. But I think 2018 has proven that these people have to be really inspired by a party that promises make something about the problem.

Archer: Let me talk a little about myself. I say for much of the past two years that an excessive focus on the investigation in the Mueller case is a mistake, though, and especially if we want to see him dismissed by dismissal. The big question – the only question – with regard to presidential impeachment is whether the president is personally unfit to perform his duties or, by his conduct, represents a threat to the constitutional order. Trump is both, but the evidence does not lie in the Mueller report, but in the public account of his conduct and (perhaps) in further investigation of his financial misdeeds and / or his fiscal ties with Russia. The House should strive to do everything. If the result is a complete record of impeachment, so much the better. Dark. If this is not the case, that is, good political judgment suggests dismissal is presumed, use the results of the investigation to expose Trump's defaults before 2020.

Mystal: I agree with you 100%, Frank. I think it's still a mistake and it continues to be a mistake to center the entire impeachment argument on the Mueller report.

Jeremy Stahl: I would just say that some The proof is in the Mueller report … it was like a report of 500 pages! With footnotes.

Pesca: It was 448, and a third was footnotes, and another third editorial. You do not get a risk premium to read it, Jeremy.

Archer: But, Lili, what do you know today that you did not know last week? What is surprising in the Mueller report is that we already knew a good part of it. For me, at least, the factual case is neither much better nor worse than 48 hours ago.

Loofbourow: Frank – could not agree more. But I am absolutely convinced that people are more inclined to trust the report than to trust (or even remember) individual stories reported by the press – which have not been grouped together in a single giant document (half coherent).

Mystal: I think "Trump check" was a major issue of the 2018 campaign as a whole. But the winning candidates (and some of the near-winners) did a fantastic job telling voters that the path Trump check, was to do all those cool things like "let people vote" and "maybe try to save the planet one way or another".

Back: Most Americans probably do not want the opposition party to dismiss a president because they do not like his politics or his personality. I think the Mueller report has long presented a Deus Ex machina on this enigma: congressional Democrats do not need to seize a particularly stupid or diabolical, but probably legal, presidential action to justify dismissal; they may indicate actual criminality to illustrate the fact that impeachment is the ultimate and ultimate remedy for dealing with a criminal court president.

This is one of the reasons why Democrats are attacking the alleged violation of constitutional provisions by the Constitution. If they can identify a true violation of the Constitution, they will have a more solid ground to dismiss the president.

It's not "Trump did things we do not like," but rather "Trump did things that are illegal and he at go."

Pesca: Returning to "how to get rid of a president" – "to the polls" has always been the best opportunity for the biggest break with the past. There are things such as the realignment of elections; there has never been a new impeachment.

Back: Perhaps because there have been so few impeachments, Mike! We work with a minimum of data here!

Pesca: But there has never been a realignment of assassination or death in an office. Only elections realign.

Mystal: Trump every day panicked normalizes lawless and unlawful behavior as the way to "get ahead" in the United States. It normalizes to play with a woman you meet as acceptable behavior. It normalizes the use of the chair of intimidation to advance racism, fanaticism and white supremacy. We have much bigger problems than the standardization of removal.

Can I actually just repel the story of "normality"? There are whole sections of Americans for whom normality has never worked. I think it's wrong to assume that almost everyone wants normalcy. Many people want better only that.

Loofbourow: Yes. AOC is popular for a reason (left).

Mystal: Impeaching Trump may be an abnormal response to the very normal bigotry and sexism that he represents.

Loofbourow: In the same way, it may seem more "normal" at this stage of history to entrust the public with the tasks of the Congress by having the people vote for a president whom their representatives would rather not do.

Mystal: Okay, Lili. In fact, it is the most normal thing in the world right now for Congress to give up its constitutional responsibilities, be it the executive, the courts or the people.

Back: Last question: Can everyone provide a speculative prediction about what will happen next to the Mueller report and the impeachment?

Here is mine: the House fails to impeach but instead adopts an edifying resolution condemning Trump.

Archer: Not a clue. Too many variables.

Stahl: Hearings are taking place that give the whole dimension of Mueller's report and Democrats have virtually no choice but to embark on impeachment proceedings that they do not want and which could be politically calamitous (even though I lean towards not calamitous).

Newell: I also believe that the House fails to impeach, but rather adopts an unfounded resolution condemning Trump. But we have a long way from subpoenas, documents, hearings, new subpoenas, and so on, until we get there. Democrats continue in part to demand more transparency after yesterday's publication because they do not want to make decisions.

Mystal: The Democrats are trying to get Mueller to say, "The president should be removed, you are cowards soaked." He does not do it. Democratic leaders raise their hands and say, "Welp, we did everything we could. Let's say to the injured whites that we will bring them unicorns. »No impeachment. Biden is destroyed by Trump in the general. I die.

Pesca: Nancy Pelosi does not move on it; the Dems continue to investigate taxes and emoluments; The election has overtaken the news cycle, 55% chance that Trump is losing and all thinking Americans say, "Luckily you did not waste our time with a doomed dismissal. and send it to me three times a day.

Back: Everyone seems incredibly skeptical that Democrats will vote for removal, which was a huge topic of discussion when they took control of the House! It's interesting!

Pesca: This conversation supposed that Mueller would recommend … something.

NewellIt will be interesting to see, by the way, if a renegade Dem presents an impeachment resolution and forces a vote, as he would be allowed to do. This could be an interesting whipping operation for Democratic leaders.

Pesca: But wait, and if the deletions include pee tape?!?! Game changer

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