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Why Democrats Should Open an Impeachment Inquiry

It's worth remembering that impeachment is constitutionally obligated

Retreating into learned helplessness and hoping the voters will rescue the country from Trump will only embolden his assault on American democracy. (Photo: Illustrated | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, tkoko/iStock)

Retreating into learned helplessness and hoping the voters will rescue the country from Trump will only embolden his assault on American democracy. (Photo: Illustrated | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, tkoko/iStock)

House Democrats are plainly scared of impeachment. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told The New York Times last weekend that she worried Democrats would get bogged down in an impeachment proceeding, and the only way to get President Trump out was to nominate a bland moderate in 2020.

She slightly changed her tune Wednesday, saying that Trump keeps "making the case" for impeachment" and that "he's becoming self-impeachable." It's unclear what "self-impeachment" could entail, but as yet Democrats have not taken any concrete steps on the matter.

Every one of the Founding Fathers would be horrified that this corrupt, incompetent oaf is still in office.

So let's lay out carefully the substantive and political case for convening an impeachment inquiry committee.

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On just what is publicly known, Trump has unquestionably committed impeachable acts. No president has ever before maintained a vast business empire while in office — and he is directly using the White House budget to enrich himself. He's forced the Secret Service to rent his own golf carts, put himself and his family up in his own fancy hotels, and funneled vast sums of public money into his own pockets through his Mar-a-Lago estate — where he promptly doubled the membership fee upon taking office.

The Constitution plainly forbids the president profiteering off his office. Article II, Section 1 states that during a presidential term, "he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them."

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Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper is a national correspondent at TheWeek.com. His work has appeared in the Washington Monthly, The New Republic, and the Washington Post.

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