The Corner

White House

Will the Democrats’ Articles of Impeachment Include Mueller Obstruction, Too?

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller arrives to testify before a House Intelligence Committee hearing, July 24, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

It was easy to miss, or perhaps to forget, because it was the first answer of the debate, but Elizabeth Warren argued that President Trump should have been impeached earlier for obstructing justice during the Mueller investigation.

Read the Mueller report, all 442 pages of it. That showed how the president tried to obstruct justice, and when Congress failed to act at that moment, and that the president felt free to break the law again and again and again. And that’s what’s happened with Ukraine.

We have to establish the principle: no one is above the law. We have a constitutional responsibility, and we need to meet it.

Warren certainly appears to think that the coming articles of impeachment should include a count of obstruction of justice.

Not so long ago, at the end of September, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was emphasizing to her caucus about the need to keep the argument for impeachment simple: Trump abused his office. He pressured Ukraine to investigate a rival. He secretly held up military aid that Congress had already approved. She wanted Democrats to put aside all of their other arguments for Trump’s removal — Russia and the 2016 campaign, the emoluments clause, his Charlottesville comments, immigration enforcement policies, and  “undermining the independence of the judiciary,” “undermining the freedom of the press.” (Those last two were part of articles of impeachment introduced by Steve Cohen in November 2017.)

When the hearings come to an end and the committees start drafting articles of impeachment, Democratic leaders are going to feel a lot of pressure to add additional articles beyond Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine. Warren and the other presidential candidates will probably argue in favor of adding additional articles. No one who wants the Democratic nomination will want to appear as if they’re willing to give Trump a pass on any alleged misdeed. But to those who aren’t voting in the primary, a long list of reasons for impeachment will start to sound like the familiar cries of outrage that Democrats have been making about this president since the moment he took office.

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