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Steyer: We can't wait for Republicans. Pelosi should launch Trump impeachment process now.  1 Week ago

Source:   USA Today  

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has repeatedly violated the U.S. Constitution. He regularly makes money from foreign and domestic  government officials. He has interfered in federal investigations concerning his associates, abused his right to pardon, and usurped Congress’ power of the purse with a phony  emergency declaration. Recently, we learned he is essentially an unindicted co-conspirator in at least one federal crime committed during his campaign, confirming that he cheated to win the presidency.

This is all par for the course of Trump’s career, which has been characterized by crimes, corruption and cover-ups. Which is why it was stunning to hear House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explain that she opposes impeachment — because it would be divisive and she doesn’t think Trump is “worth it.”

What does that even mean? We have never before had a president who so plainly deserves to be impeached. But beyond that, if Congress neglects its duty to do so, it will have catastrophic consequences for our nation — setting a terrible precedent, undermining our constitutional system, and leaving it vulnerable to deeper damage.

Pelosi explained to The Washington Post that impeachment would only be warranted if the president does “something so compelling and overwhelming” that it demands a response, potential for division be damned. By this standard, there are enough grounds for action to cover the National Mall with indictments.

Need to Impeach supporters have been arguing for nearly 17 months that Trump has committed multiple impeachable offenses — 10 by our latest count.

Last week, Rep. Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, affirmed at least one of them for the public record when he told George Stephanopoulos on ABC News: “It’s very clear that the president obstructed justice." That's one of the offenses the House would have charged President Richard Nixon with had he not resigned.

Pelosi herself warned in that Post interview of the “unconstitutional assault” Trump has launched against our democracy, before going on to note that he is “ethically unfit,” “intellectually unfit” and “curiosity-wise unfit” to be president.

Yet even though Democratic leaders will criticize Trump’s rampant unconstitutionality, they refuse to initiate the impeachment process that would lead to accountability. Why? They don’t want to move without Republican support.

The state of play on everything from gun violence to climate change to immigration reform exposes the emptiness of this position. If you wait for the Republican Party to recognize obvious truths — truths that would protect the country and which the American people overwhelmingly support — you’ll be waiting for a long time. This is a group that couldn’t even get themselves to unanimously support a House resolution condemning bigotry in all its forms last week.

Putting aside the folly of waiting on Republicans to do the right thing, consider just how this corrupts the Founders' intent. Impeachment is a foundational part of our system of checks and balances, which is why they granted this critical power to Congress. But a check on power that is only operative when it is convenient or easy is no check at all.

If Democrats know that this president has committed egregious, impeachable offenses, then they have a constitutional duty to stand up to say so. And to ensure accountability, they must begin the impeachment process regardless of how many Republican members of Congress do or don't get on board. Cries of partisanship will come from the right no matter what Democrats choose to focus their energy on — as will shameless attempts to divide the American people.

As with any Democratic priority, the response should not be to give up but to engage the American people, make the clear case for action, and repeat it every chance they get. Lincoln’s old dictum was correct:  Public sentiment really is everything. Yet public sentiment isn’t unchangeable. It shifts. And it’s a representative’s responsibility not just to reflect their constituents’ views but also to guide them. That’s why Democrats need to level with the American people, trusting them to listen to the facts and make up their own minds.

If they do, the people will hear the strong case for impeachment and demand Congress do what’s right. More and more Americans are waking up to the wisdom of impeachment as evidence of this president’s abuses of power are brought to light. That has made Need to Impeach the fastest growing political movement in America, with  7.6 million supporters behind it already. Our swelling list of supporters shows that this is not an inside-the-Beltway issue that people will not feel a stake in. Ultimately, Americans want to know that the president must follow the rule of law, just like the rest of us. That’s why there’s reason to expect this support would surge if the Democratic majority began impeachment hearings, ensuring that each week brings bombshell after bombshell thanks to a steady stream of groundbreaking testimony.

Speaker Pelosi was right when she said our country stands on a strong foundation. But she should know that foundation hasn’t held for  232 years on its own. It has sustained because of a steadfast commitment to protecting and upholding the Constitution and our laws — a commitment that has required its adherents to force a corrupt and dangerous president out of office. If American patriots hadn’t risen to meet such existential challenges, this foundation would have cracked long ago. We once again need patriots willing to step up, protect our legal system and uphold the Constitution, or it will be our generation that allows those cracks to finally form.

If preventing that isn’t “worth it,” then what is?

 

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