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Impeachment would make Trump the unpardonable president

By Robert B. Reich, Tribune Content Agency on

Not even overwhelming evidence that Donald Trump sought to bribe a foreign power to dig up dirt on his leading political opponent in 2020 -- and did so with American taxpayer dollars while compromising American foreign policy -- will cause Trump to be removed from office.

That's because there's zero chance that 20 Republican senators -- the number needed to convict Trump, if every Democratic senator votes to do so -- have enough integrity to do what the Constitution requires them to do.

Republican senators will put their jobs and their political party ahead of the Constitution and the country. They will tell themselves that 88 percent of Republican voters still support Trump, and that their duty is to them.

It does not matter that these voters inhabit a parallel political universe consisting of Trump tweets, Fox News, right-wing radio and Trump-Russian social media, all propounding the absurd counternarrative that Democrats, the "deep state," coastal elites, and mainstream media are conspiring to remove the Chosen One from office.

So if there's no chance of getting the 20 Republican votes needed to convict Trump and send him packing, is there any reason for the House to impeach him?

Yes. There are three reasons.

 

The first is the Constitution itself. Trump has openly and brazenly abused his power, not only seeking electoral help from foreign nations but making money off his presidency in violation of the emoluments clause, spending funds never appropriated by Congress in violation of the separation of powers, obstructing justice and violating his oath to faithfully execute the law.

A failure by Congress to respond to these abuses would effectively render the Constitution meaningless. Congress has no alternative but to respond.

The second reason is political. While the impeachment hearings don't appear to have moved Republican voters, only 29 percent of Americans still identify as Republican.

The hearings do seem to have affected Democrats and independents, as well as many people who sat out the 2016 election. National polls by Morning Consult/Politico and SSRS/CNN show that 50 percent of respondents now support both impeaching Trump and removing him from office -- an increase from Morning Consult/Politico's mid-November poll.

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