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My Trumpian friends will say, “Look, he may be crude and offensive, but he’s pursuing policies that are basically conservative. You liberals just can’t get over the fact that he won in 2016 and is likely to win again in 2020. So you want to remove him from office first.”

Why Trump Should Be Removed

But Trump will not be removed by the Senate and he will be the GOP candidate next year. It’s likely to be a very tight election. Why should House Democrats bother with impeachment?

There are many things about him that are not grounds for impeachment. His blatant misogyny, his alleged history of sexual assault, his manifest disdain for people of color: these are wrong, even evil, but they don’t amount to “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

His denial of global climate change, and insistence on rolling back environmental regulations, is perverse and petty, but not illegal. Just stupid.

Blatantly profiting from being president is corrupt and tawdry, but hard to prove illegal unless bribery is demonstrated.

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Victimizing refugees at our southern border comes closer to an impeachable offense: it is probably a violation of international human rights law. It is malicious but not against US law. That’s probably why the House chose not to impeach on this ground.

All the above are grounds for defeating Trump in 2020, but not for impeaching him now.

He should be impeached because he’s violated the law to protect himself and taken actions that endanger the security and integrity of our democratic system.

He should be impeached because he’s violated the law to protect himself and taken actions that endanger the security and integrity of our democratic system. The Mueller Report amply documented repeated attempts by Trump to stop the investigation of his 2016 campaign. He tried to obstruct justice. That’s a crime. And by refusing to furnish documents and refusing to permit his subordinates to testify before Congress, he is obstructing Congress in the exercise of its constitutional duties. That’s one of the counts that the House of Representatives has just approved.

The other count relates to our relations with Ukraine—and Russia. Since Ukraine declared its independence in 1991 presidents of both parties have supported Ukraine’s independence from Russia. This was integral to containing Russia, the main successor state of the old Soviet Union. It was thus integral to our national security—until Trump. Trump saw the newly elected Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, through the eyes of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had previously seized Crimea from Ukraine and ordered a Russian paramilitary invasion of eastern Ukraine. Putin—and Trump—saw Zelensky as an upstart who needed to be brought into line. So when Trump held up desperately needed military aid to a country under Russian attack, he was helping Putin.

He also sought to help himself as well by pushing Zelensky for an investigation into alleged misdeeds by Hunter Biden and his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden. If he could somehow compromise Joe Biden that would obviously help his 2020 campaign. So he was holding up legally appropriated aid to an ally in order to help his own political fortunes. In the process he undercut his own official foreign policy and helped Russia, our declared adversary. He was undermining our national security for personal gain.

House Democrats had to call Trump on these crimes, even though the Senate won’t convict. They would otherwise be complicit in behavior that was both illegal and detrimental to our country. Congressional Republicans should, but won’t recognize their own complicity. It will be up to the voters to hold both Trump and his party accountable next November.

impeachment unavoidable

John Peeler