by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Impeachment is about to make everything worse.
If our politics seems overheated, our institutions beleaguered, and our public debate degraded, just wait until we are in the midst of the impeachment debate.
Democrats have had an impeachment itch that they’ve been desperate to scratch ever since Donald Trump took office. For them, Ukraine is equal parts a genuine outrage and an excuse, the release valve for nearly three years of fear and loathing.
Rather than conducting himself as if he were aware that a hysterical opposition is eager to impeach him just as soon as it finds a reason, Trump has embraced constant provocation. He has shown little interest in distinguishing between himself and the high office that he holds. Although we need to learn more, there’s clearly an impropriety in his handling of Ukraine.
If he’d only urged Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to cooperate with Attorney General Bill Barr on the probe related to the beginnings of the 2016 Russian investigation, it would have been completely appropriate (the president reportedly pushed other countries to cooperate as well). Or if the story only involved Rudy Giuliani poking around in Ukraine under his own power to find damaging information on the Bidens, it’d be standard hardball politics. It’s the intersection of the latter with Trump’s official capacity as president that’s inappropriate.
Enough to impeach and remove him? …
… So far as we know, Ukraine lacks the hallmarks of other presidential scandals. There’s been no cover-up. Trying to keep a transcript of a presidential call from leaking in the absence of any congressional or criminal investigation doesn’t qualify. And once the controversy became public, the White House rapidly released key documents.
Nor is there any violation of law.