Free Fallin': On the Perils and Promise of Possibly Impeaching Trump
I would love to see Donald Trump impeached—for anything. Emoluments. Corruption. Conflicting business interests. Profiting at public expense. Obstructing the Russia investigation. Leaking classified information. Waging wars without congressional approval. Groping. Whatever it takes.
It’s a colossal embarrassment to our nation and a danger to the planet that Trump inhabits the White House. Much of the world, Arab despots aside, would jump for joy if he were kicked out.
Some Democrats, such as Representative Al Green of Texas, are openly calling for impeachment, and even a few Republicans are speaking up. Republican congressman Justin Amash admitted that Trump may have committed an impeachable offense by trying to shut down the FBI’s investigation into Michael Flynn’s contacts with the Russians. So did Carlos Curbelo, a Republican congressman from Florida.
Calling for Trump's removal from office can be a powerful organizing tool.
But let’s be real: It’s highly unlikely that a Republican president will be impeached by a Republican-led Congress. There would have to be some pretty damning evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign or the president’s own profiteering from his office to convince Republicans that the president had violated the Constitution and should no longer serve.
"While most members of Congress are not yet ready to jump on the impeachment bandwagon, they are constantly sticking out their fingers to see where the wind is blowing. And the wind is picking up."
George W. Bush did far worse damage by dragging our nation into war on the basis of lies. Sixteen years later, Iraq—and the wider region—is still reeling. Even then, impeachment did not gain steam as a mainstream issue, mostly because the Democratic leadership, including Nancy Pelosi, refused to support it. Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment, but they languished in the Judiciary Committee even after Democrats took control of the House in 2006.
The initiative to impeach Bush failed in Congress, but it received enthusiastic grassroots support and became a tool used by the peace movement to build momentum. Similarly, the call to impeach Trump is an organizing tool. Over 1.1 million people have already signed an impeachment petition. From Los Angeles to Cambridge, Massachusetts, activists have pushed their cities to pass impeachment resolutions saying Trump’s many business interests violate the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause. The resolutions have sparked heated debates and media attention at the local level, giving a powerful megaphone to the resistance movement.
While most members of Congress are not yet ready to jump on the impeachment bandwagon, they are constantly sticking out their fingers to see where the wind is blowing. And the wind is picking up. Trump’s approval ratings are in the doldrums, hovering in the high 30s and low 40s. A poll taken after Trump’s firing of former FBI director James Comey found for the first time that more Americans are in favor of impeachment than against: 48 percent versus 41 percent. Perhaps even more encouraging was that just 43 percent of respondents believe Trump will serve his full term as president.
We know that Donald Trump is a pathological liar. Sooner or later, his lies will catch up with him. The impeachment movement should be there waiting, hands outstretched, ready to nab him as he falls.