Issues & Insights

The Latest Impeachment Frenzy Is About #Resistance, Not High Crimes And Misdemeanors

I&I Editorial

‘This has nothing to do with politics or partisanship.” That was how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it shortly before announcing the opening of an official impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump. Who is she trying to kid?

Despite the breathless commentary about Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president and a whistleblower report based on second-hand accounts of uncertain credibility, we know little about what transpired, much less whether it rises to the level of an impeachable offense. Democrats could have gone through the normal procedures to get the information from the White House rather than jump immediately to talk of impeachment.

But the Democrats’ impeachment frenzy didn’t result from this news. It’s been in full flower since before Trump was even elected. Heck, there were calls for his impeachment before he’d even secured the Republican nomination.

Here’s just a partial timeline of the many previous calls for Trump’s impeachment that turned out to be frivolous:

March 2016: After just 15 states had held their Republican primaries, The New York Daily News ran an editorial with the headline “Impeach Trump.”

April 2016: Politico ran a story headlined: “Could Trump Be Impeached Shortly After He Takes Office?” It starts by saying that, “Donald Trump isn’t even the Republican nominee yet. But … ‘impeachment’ is already on the lips of pundits, newspaper editorials, constitutional scholars, and even a few members of Congress.” 

January 2017: The same day Trump was inaugurated, the Washington Post ran a story saying that the “effort to impeach Trump is already underway.”

Feb 2017: An impeach Trump online campaign already had attracted 650,000 signatures.

April 2017: Rep. Maxine Waters leads an “impeach Trump” chant.

November 2017: Six House members introduced articles of impeachment against Trump, claiming he obstructed justice, violated the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause, and undermined the federal judiciary process and the press.

May 2018: Rep. Al Green says “there’s a good likelihood there will be articles of impeachment” brought against Trump if Democrats reclaim the House.

June 2018: Five months before she was elected to the House, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Trump should be impeached, claiming, “There are serious grounds in violations of the Emoluments Clause from day one.”

July 2018: After Trump’s Helsinki press conference with Vladimir Putin, Democrats declared that his conduct was grounds for impeachment. Former CIA Director John Brennan tweeted that “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.'” “It was nothing short of treasonous.”

December 2018: Rep. Jerry Nadler says Trump could be impeached for the alleged payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels. “Certainly they’d be impeachable offenses because even though they were committed before the president became president, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office,” he asserted.

And all this, of course, was before Special Counsel Robert Mueller released his findings on the Russia investigation, which took the wind out of the sails of the impeach Trump crowd. Now, conveniently enough, a new charge emerges.

More broadly, Democrats have a long history of rushing to impeach Republicans, as IBD editorials noted when impeachment frenzy was in the air in November 2017.

That doesn’t mean that Pelosi’s decision isn’t significant; opening an impeachment investigation is a big deal, no matter what your political stripes. Nor is any of this to say that an investigation into Trump’s dealings with the Ukrainian president isn’t warranted.

But you will have to pardon us if we aren’t swept up in the latest round of the Democrats’ impeach Trump mania, before there’s any actual evidence of wrongdoing or obstruction, only plenty of hopeful speculation from Trump’s harshest critics — on both sides of the aisle — who’ve never been able to accept the fact that he won the election.

— Written by John Merline

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • The just released transcript provides very ample evidence to proceed with the impeachment investigation. To those who disagree, ask yourself if whether in the summer of 2016 Obama had made a call to a foreign leader, reminding him/her of all the favors he’s done for their country, and then asked the leader to investigate dealings of Trump, and work with his attorney general and his personal lawyer on this – would you give Obama a pass too?

    • I don’t know. Let’s release some and see. Perhaps we should start with Iraq/Iran from Obama. Then Saudi’s for the Bushes. Toss in some Afghan’s for Clinton. My guess is that every living former President would rush to block that idea.

    • Ivar, ask yourself, if Trump had substituted Paul Manafort two years ago, instead of Biden, would anyone be screaming impeachment? Ask yourself, why didn’t Ds scream impeachment when Obama told Russia’s leader that he will be more flexible after the election b/c it was his last one. If anything was “treasonous,” wouldn’t that be it? Who screamed for impeachment? Did you?

    • Obama and Clinton already did that in spring of 2016. DOJ is currently investigating it with the Ukraine as an actual interference on Hillary’s behalf.

      This transcript does not do anything of a sort as his only crime was asking Ukraine to reopen what was closed through Biden’s corrupt blackmail.

    • Obama just called on the DoJ and intelligence agencies to investigate Trump, even using false Russian intelligence dossiers as supporting “evidence.”

  • Republicans want to convince themselves that this is about anything other than what it’s truly about-

    It’s about the fact that we have a criminal in the White House.

    “…but Hillary!” is an all-too-convenient escape hatch.

  • Democrat criminals are running around with their hair on fire screaming “impeach!” even before they have any supporting evidence, which happens to be something that they are themselves guilty of doing. Nothing to see here. Move along. And never vote for a democrat.

  • Democrats could pursue normal channels to get information from the White House?

    Who is the author kidding? They did — for months.

    The White House response was Mafia language: You get nothing.

    Roy Cohn could have written it.

    Far from rushing to Impeachment, Pelosi’s announcement of an Impeachment inquiry carries far more weight precisely *because* she was so cautious in proceeding — after many months of demands from the Democratic base. Would a Paul Ryan have been as cautious with Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows hounding him? I don’t think so.

    The fact is that the reasons Nixon was forced to resign — Abuse of Power, Obstruction of Justice and Obstruction of Impeachment, plus Emoluments and yes Collusion with both Russia and Ukraine and maybe more — have already been done by Trump.

    The Impeachment inquiry should be able to prove all this — and Trump is both cornered and terrifies — and certain to go More berserk.

    A wag the dog war with Iran so he can say: You can’t impeach me — we’re at war!

    I would not be surprise at all.

  • As near as I’ve been able to tell, propaganda and nastiness is turning off America’s Democrat Base and creating a new class of voter … one leaning Independent and more than likely to vote Republican, if at all. As I see it, the only people not disgusted by today’s politics and fake news from the mainstream media are the slime who get off on yelling epithets at strangers!

  • this is what happens when partisanship overcomes love of country. These Trump devotees don’t care if he sells out the country, they don’t care if he murders people, they don’t care if he cages children, they don’t care about literally anything but trying to hold onto power for the increasingly minority of white Christians who believe that they, and they alone, are entitled to own and control and reap the benefits of America.

  • The Democrats continuing refusal to accept defeat does them no credit. That said, I believe that the decision to allow an impeachment inquiry to proceed is a calculated risk by Nancy Pelosi to deal with the yammering from AOC and her “squad,” Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, and their ilk, now, while we’re still over a year from the election, and silence them before they do additional damage to the Democratic Party. Silencing the impeachment chorus while the election is still over 13 months away allows time for the public anger with the Democrats to perhaps die down a bit before they go to the polls. Mrs. Pelosi surely knows that there is no “there” there. She judges that it’s better to let the loons in her caucus learn that the hard way now, rather than closer to the election.

    • To the left, Trump’s identity is that he is a criminal. A criminal who is President gets impeached. I think they want there to be so much clamor in hopes that the public will vote against him just to end the clamor and “return to normalcy.” In that respect, impeaching him may make sense politically. But the risk of backfire, ala Bill Clinton, is big.

      • I agree with your assessment applied to most of the Democrats in the House. And we all, including Nancy Pelosi, pay the price of growing older. But I still doubt that Pelosi has slipped so much that she would sign on to the clamor for impeachment and the attendant risk to her Party without a better reason than her animosity toward President Trump. She has been a very cagey politician for a very long time. Now she’s being challenged within her own caucus by a bunch of intellectual bantamweights. I strongly suspect that she is as anxious to put them in their place as she is to inconvenience the President.

      • No one should ever underestimate Pelosi’s shrewdness. She would have faced a revolt had she not made that announcement. But impeachment can still be walked back — or, rather, allowed to wither on the vine. That may be what ends up happening. Right now it looks like impeachment WILL happen, the Senate will acquit, maybe with the ever-opportunistic Romney and a few other Republicans voting to convict. (No way they can get the two thirds needed.) She knows there are risks to going down this path, but I think she could see the chaos and noise of a post-Senate trial environment in Nov. 2020 leading to Trump losing re-election. Her approach is probably “When you strike at a king, you must kill him,” so unless she’s sure Democrats are shooting with live bullets she won’t pull the trigger.

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