I have some experience with campaigns to impeach Presidents. In October 1973, in response to Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre—the firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox and the forced resignations of the two top Justice Department officials who refused to do so—I co-founded with others the Washington Area Impeachment Coalition and the National Campaign to Impeach Nixon. For the next nine months, until Nixon’s resignation in August, 1974, I worked as a co-coordinator of that national campaign.
The situation with Trump right now, after his firing of FBI Director James Comey, is not quite the same. Cox had been appointed as a Special Prosecutor with the power to not just investigate the Watergate burglary and everything related to it but to bring criminal charges. Another difference, no small one, was the fact that the Democratic Party controlled both the House and the Senate.
"Impeachment is what the country and the world need. Up to now, as bad as Trump has been, that hasn’t seemed possible. Now, after Comey’s firing, it could be, not right away but over time as the pressure builds."
However, there was nothing, absolutely nothing, like the resistance movement that we have seen in the US since the first day Trump was inaugurated, most recently manifested in the 200,000-person March for Climate, Jobs and Justice in DC on April 29th.
Up to now there has little organization on the ground and very few explicit calls by groups and leaders of the broad resistance movement for Trump’s impeachment. There have been a handful of city councils which have called for an investigation into impeachment: the Los Angeles city council most recently, three other California cities, Cambridge, Ma. and Charlotte, Vt.
That needs to change, right now.
The call for impeachment, in and of itself, coming after the Comey firing, is the appropriate response to this Trump escalation. We need to punch back.
Indications are that the Congressional investigations will continue, possibly be ratcheted up. We should support that. We should also support the call for a Special Prosecutor to be appointed who neither Trump nor his minions can fire. But it is the call for impeachment, manifested in all of the various ways it can be put forward, that the people’s resistance movement needs to begin integrating into all of our other various issue-oriented and political efforts.
Impeachment is what the country and the world need. Up to now, as bad as Trump has been, that hasn’t seemed possible. Now, after Comey’s firing, it could be, not right away but over time as the pressure builds.
It is significant that right after the Tuesday Evening Hit Job, several prominent Republicans in the House and Senate expressed concern. Republican and Democratic members of Congress need to hear from us loudly and clearly, now and going forward, that it’s time for the Trump nightmare to end via impeachment.