Saying Impeaching Trump Isn't Worth It Is Like Saying He is Above the Law | Opinion

When Nancy Pelosi said impeaching Donald Trump isn't "worth it," she effectively said he's above the law. And he knows it. That was the message Mr. Trump sent on Twitter when he seized on Speaker Pelosi's comments to The Washington Post to claim he has never done anything wrong.

It was his most absurd lie out of the 9,000-plus he's told since taking office. But more importantly, it demonstrates exactly why Speaker Pelosi's decision to unilaterally take impeachment off the table is so dangerous.

The Speaker has said that Mr. Trump is "ethically unfit" to be president. She can see as clearly as anyone the severe danger he poses to the American people. Yet her statement that impeaching him wouldn't be "worth it" unless Republicans go along with it takes the framework of right and wrong, and the issue of constitutionality, out of the discussion. It makes this purely a matter of partisan politics—removing the American people from the equation.

Don't we get to hear the truth? Don't our opinions matter? Or is this just an insiders' game that's all about power?

Let's be clear: the question of whether or not Mr. Trump has met the standard for impeachment has been asked and answered for some time now. The Democratic Congressional leadership freely admits as much. But Speaker Pelosi is viewing this in a purely political lens, with a sense that this is just like President Clinton's impeachment. The problem is, this is nothing like President Clinton's impeachment. That's comparing a molehill to a mountain, and the American people are smart enough to know the difference. Even so, consider what Republicans "suffered" after they impeached President Clinton over flagrant partisan rage rather than sincere interest in upholding the rule of law. Their nominee for president went on to win the 2000 election, and the GOP held total control over Congress until 2006.

The impeachment question demands a broader perspective. The consequences of inaction now will last far longer than 2020, and the American people stand to lose the most. He is recklessly undermining our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and stave off climate catastrophe. He is needlessly scrambling our relationships abroad by consorting with strongmen like Vladimir Putin, who oppose our national interests. He is weakening our intelligence community, making it increasingly difficult for allies to trust us, and in turn leaving our country at increasing risk. And he transparently wishes to transform our democracy into an autocracy. Even if he fails, the systemic vulnerabilities he has created—and has been allowed to create—will last as precedents forever. In effect, there is no check on presidential lawlessness. We simply cannot afford that.

To have a system of laws and accountability, you must uphold those laws.

I believe defending our legal system, and the principle that no one is above the law, is worth it. I believe holding a President accountable for his crimes and cover-ups is worth it. I believe doing the right thing is always worth it. And I believe it's time that Congress start fighting for the principles that have kept our country a Republic since the founders signed the U.S. Constitution—from separation of powers, to checks and balances, to equal justice under law.

They can begin by articulating the compelling case for impeachment that already exists.

Our representatives need to acknowledge that Robert Mueller is not the sole decider on impeachment, and that the case stretches far beyond what Mr. Mueller is investigating. They need to say that this president has committed multiple impeachable offenses—most notably, interfering in federal investigations concerning his associates and personally profiting from the presidency. They need to reiterate that he's been implicated in specific criminal acts in testimony before Congress, and in a federal investigation by the Southern District of New York. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said this week there is "direct evidence" of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 Presidential campaign. They need to assert that all of this establishes a clear pattern of lawlessness that threatens the patriotic values underpinning our great nation.

Most important, we must all acknowledge if Mr. Trump's actions go without consequence, he will fundamentally weaken our system of government, leaving the standards of our Republic and our collective future in peril.

Over 7.6 million Americans have joined the Need to Impeach movement to prevent that outcome. Thousands more are joining every day. America has always needed patriots to stand up for our principles, and now is always the hour.

We know Mr. Trump cannot be allowed to claim vindication and double down on his unconstitutional assault. We know this is a question of right and wrong, and that he threatens the safety of every American. We know he is deeply corrupt. That's why we're doubling down ourselves. We're intensifying our efforts to give the American people a voice, and a platform, to impeach our lawless president. And we'll continue to demand that elected officials from both parties do what's right instead of what's politically convenient. Because if we took anything from Speaker Pelosi's comments, it's this: it's always worth it to do the right thing.

Tom Steyer is the Founder of Need to Impeach.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.​​​​​​​​