Opinion

The Case to Impeach Donald Trump Is as Strong as Ever | Opinion

For nearly two years, Democrats and Republicans alike have used Special Counsel Robert Mueller as a convenient excuse to avoid the question of whether or not Donald Trump should remain in office. Instead of judging his actions like they would for any other President, they’ve allowed Mr. Trump to outright lie to the American people on a daily basis, personally profit from his office, and commit felony campaign finance violations without any accountability. Now, with a 4-page summary written by a Trump political appointee, the president is hoping to make us forget that he has engaged in multiple impeachable offenses and outright criminality. We cannot allow that to happen. 

Mr. Trump and his defenders are focusing solely on the Special Counsel’s inability to establish that Mr. Trump illegally coordinated with the Russian government to win the 2016 election. Not only is this an improperly narrow view of Mr. Trump’s misconduct, it’s also premature. We haven’t even seen Mr. Mueller’s report yet. 

What we know for sure is that Mr. Mueller did not exonerate Mr. Trump for the unconstitutional behavior that’s already been uncovered. At Need to Impeach, we’ve identified ten impeachable offenses committed by Mr. Trump during his time in office. Mr. Mueller’s investigation only covered two of them, while a number of investigations targeting the president push on. Regardless of the fact that Mr. Mueller—after already indicting 34 people and three companies for 199 criminal charges—did not opt to prosecute the president, Donald Trump remains completely unfit for office and a danger to the Republic. 

Let’s review the evidence. 

First, we already know that Mr. Trump was obstructive. Nearly two years ago, the president fired James Comey, because the FBI director was insufficiently “loyal” during the investigation into his campaign’s connections with Russia. Mr. Trump cited “this Russia thing” as his rationale for the dismissal in a televised interview with NBC. The day before, Trump told Russian officials, “I just fired the head of the FBI… I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off.” Later, The New York Times reported that Mr. Trump twice sought to dismiss Mr. Mueller, only to be restrained by advisors. And last month, Michael Cohen, testified that Mr. Trump pushed him to lie to Congress during a previous hearing about payoffs he made to Trump’s mistresses. 

This pattern of behavior reflects a textbook case of obstructing justice. Judgment on it cannot be left to Mr. Trump’s political appointee. It is Congress’s responsibility to weigh the evidence Mr. Mueller set forth and decide whether it is an impeachable offense. They should do so in full view of the American people. That means they must secure the public release of the full Mueller report. 

We also know that Mr. Trump constantly violates the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which forbids the president from accepting personal benefits from foreign government officials. Every time a foreign dignitary or lobbyist stays or dines at a Trump Hotel, Mr. Trump breaks his oath of office. That’s because Mr. Trump refused to divest from the Trump Organization, which has seized on this presidency to sell influence. Lobbyists for Saudi Arabia, for example, booked hotel rooms in the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. for 500 nights, totaling over $270,000, immediately after the 2016 election. 

Without insight into the full scope of Mr. Trump’s business dealings, it is impossible for the public, or Congress, to determine what he does in the national interest and what he does in his own. Have the tens of thousands of dollars that Mr. Trump’s inauguration committee took from shell companies hiding contributions from foreign interests influenced policies? When Mr. Trump dismissed the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident, was it because he was acting in the best interest of the United States or because Saudi lobbysits regularly frequent his hotel? 

The American people deserve answers. They’ll only get them if Congress obtains Mr. Trump’s personal and business tax returns, which should be part of a broader impeachment inquiry. 

Further, Mr. Trump and his family committed crimes before he reached the White House. For one thing, Mr. Mueller, SDNY, and the New York Attorney General uncovered rampant campaign finance violations. Not only have they shown that then-candidate Trump cheated to win the presidency by paying hush-money to his mistress, he also illegally solicited donations for the Trump Foundation to benefit his campaign. Once in office, he instructed his son, Donald Jr., to lie about meeting with Russian operatives to discuss damaging information on Hillary Clinton. And while it wasn’t a crime for the family to pursue the Trump Tower Moscow project with the Russian government, Mr. Trump lied constantly about it on the campaign trail—a preview of the blatant dishonesty that has become a hallmark of his administration. 

Mr. Trump lied and cheated his way onto the top of the Republican ticket, and into the White House. Since taking office, he has spewed racist and misogynistic rhetoric, told the American people over 9,000 lies, attacked the free press, and encouraged violence. Thankfully, the Founding Fathers passed down a potent Constitutional tool to prevent men like Mr. Trump from eroding our democracy. Congress has all of the evidence it needs to hold this President accountable and reaffirm that no one in this country is above the law. 

Tom Steyer is the Founder of Need to Impeach.

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

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