While impeaching President Donald Trump in a Republican controlled congress remains unlikely, New York Times op-ed columnist David Leonhardt states the pieces to assemble an Article of Impeachment for Obstruction of Justice exist. And he laid them them all out on Sunday.
Is serious consideration of impeachment fair? I think the answer is yes. The evidence is now quite strong that Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice."
"Many legal scholars believe a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime," Leonhardt stated. "So the proper remedy for a president credibly accused of obstructing justice is impeachment."
The phrase "(he) prevented, obstructed and impeded the administration of justice" featured prominently in an Article of Impeachment brought against Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, Leonhardt points out. Those Articles of Impeachment followed that statement with a numbered list.
Leonhardt assembled a similar list for President Donald Trump, citing 10 instances of potential obstruction of justice. By comparison, President Nixon's impeachment listed 9 items, President Clinton's only 7.
- January 27, 2017: Trump asks FBI Director James Comey for a pledge of loyalty
- February 14, 2017: In a private meeting with Comey, Trump asks him to let go of Michael Flynn investigation
- March 22, 2017: In a private meeting, Trump asks Daniel Coates, Natl. Security, and Mike Pompeo, C.I.A., to persuade Comey on Flynn investigation
- March and April 2017: In phone calls, Trump speaks to Comey about ending investigation
- May 9, 2017: Trump fires Comey as F.B.I. director then speaks to Russian officials about it
- May 17, 2017: Trump berates Jeff Sessions for allowing appointment of Robert Mueller
- June 2017: Trump explores options, including firing Mueller
- July 8, 2017: Trump helps draft a false public statement for his son
- July 26, 2017: Trump Tweets calling for firing of Andrew McCabe, F.B.I. deputy director
- Ongoing: Trump “made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States.”
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Mr. Leonhardt, who studied applied mathematics at Yale, keeps his analysis very much by the numbers, without opinion or political rhetoric.
Before anyone gets too excited however, Leonhardt also details why congress should not pursue impeachment at this time. He states Republicans "show zero interest, and they’re the ones in charge" while Democrats need to focus on the 2018 midterm elections to gain control of the Senate and House of Representatives.