As the impeachment process moves onto its next stages, being handed off to the Judiciary Committee in the House for consideration of drafting actual articles of impeachment, Democrats appear to be divided over what issues to bring up, and what wrongdoings to accuse President Donald Trump of having perpetrated.
The answer should be simple: throw everything at him, including the kitchen sink. The egregious behavior and improper use of his office is evident to even the most casual of armchair political observers.
Beyond the Ukraine scandal, which has been the focus of impeachment inquiry for the past two months, there is also the Russia investigation, conducted by former special counsel Robert Mueller, to consider, including the 10 instances of obstruction of justice Trump may have committed that Mueller laid out in his eponymous report. And Democrats mustn’t forget the fact that Trump is in direct violation of the emoluments clauses of the Constitution, as he and his companies are profiting directly from him being in office.
Some Democrats are calling for all of these matters, including attempts to restrict Congress’ subpoena powers and other issues from within the Trump presidency, to be part of the final draft for articles of impeachment against him.
“It is important to include the Mueller obstruction evidence to uphold the principles of separation of powers,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-California), a member of the Oversight Committee, said, per reporting from CNN. “What we are doing is not just for today, but for safeguarding American constitutional democracy for generations to come.”
Others are skeptical, worried that including too many issues might confuse the public, which is already divided on the issue of impeachment.
“We could have pages and pages and pages of articles of impeachment. What we have seen over the last three years is, I think, unprecedented,” Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), who is a member of the Judiciary Committee, said. “I absolutely believe in being as focused as possible as well. I think the broader we go — that may pose challenges for the American people.”
But that’s not the way to go. Tailoring the impeachment articles to just a few issues — or even just focusing on the Ukraine scandal — would make it easier for critics to defend against. When you air out the dirty laundry of this presidency with a long list of alarming and sometimes criminal behaviors, it becomes more difficult to justify not impeaching Trump.
We know this to be true because our nation’s founding document was similar in nature. Everyone remembers from their civics classes the beginning of the Declaration of Independence, but few remember that the document is actually a list of grievances that colonists had against King George III, justifying their cessation from the British Crown toward self-rule.
These weren’t just a few qualms here or there: the Declaration included 27 separate grievances that the colonists had against the king, each one of them adding weight to the argument of independence, making it more difficult to stand in the way of the idea.
We’re now faced with a president who has produced dozens of grievances through his own actions, based on his errant belief that he himself should be treated as a king-like figure within our republic. There are not just one or two reasons why Trump should be impeached — there are a number of items that stretch longer than most people’s grocery lists, which require action and reprimand by Congress.
Democrats ought to embrace including every instance of encroachment this president has made against the ideals of our nation. He has committed high crimes and misdemeanors that demonstrate he is worthy of removal.
The more examples included in articles of impeachment of his appalling time in office, the stronger the case will be for justifying the process to the American people. And once they’re on board, hopefully Republicans in the Senate will come to their senses, too.