I set out to write a longer post, but there is really no need. The readout of President Trump’s July 25 telephone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shows him committing an obviously impeachable offense. The President of the United States personally asked a foreign nation to investigate a political rival, and he used nearly $400 million in American aid as a bargaining chip. This is corruption of the most basic sort: using his office to serve his personal interests. Nothing more need be said.
I agree that there should be an immediate investigation. But the point of this investigation is not to dig at some further factual questions of what exact words Trump used or what he meant by them. Trump himself has admitted that the conversation happened as described, and thee meaning is the meaning is clear enough. If Trump is too confused to express his demands more clearly, or too amoral to understand why they are so deeply wrong, these facts make him more impeachable, not less. They amount to a defense that he can’t be impeached because he is unfit for office in the first place.
This is not the first obviously impeachable thing that Trump has done. The Mueller report lays out, with painstaking clarity, multiple instances of impeachable obstruction of justice. The only difference is that this new story broke all at once, rather than being dribbled out over the course of years, so that the political shock of seeing everything so clearly in focus landed with full force. The financial self-dealing also probably rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, although the facts there have been a little better obscured. The articles of impeachment should include obstruction of justice, and the financial investigations should continue.
With an urgent official impeachment inquiry underway,, it is time for the House to use all of its powers to compel documents and testimony, and to ask the courts for the most expedited rulings they are capable of giving. The nation has no more important business than this.
This is a moment of clarity. Trump’s conduct here is fundamentally incompatible with democratic self-government. To stand aside – or worse, to defend it – is to give up on the republic. Donald Trump must be impeached, so that the United States can survive.