The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Impeachment talk? Let’s have at it.

Trump's claim that the Mueller investigation is a 'witch hunt' just got the wind knocked out of it. (Video: Adriana Usero, Kate Woodsome/The Washington Post)

Up until this point in the midterm campaigns, Republicans had this weird idea — and Democrats concurred — that if they talked about Democrats’ desire to impeach President Trump, voters would recoil and keep the GOP in power. Impeachment was thought to be a tool for Republicans to show how unreasonable and irresponsible Democrats were. My, how things change.

In the light of the Paul Manafort verdicts and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s plea implicating the president in possible criminal wrongdoing (quite apart from Russia), that strategy seems daft. While Democrats would be unwise to run on impeachment, they’d be very smart to run on the culture of corruption — and they are. One can disagree with some of the particulars in Tuesday’s speech by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) outlining dramatic measures to root out corruption, but it’s hard to dispute that the culture of corruption has gotten much worse under Trump and that legislative action is appropriate. Smart Democrats will also point out that Republicans refuse to police their own, be it the president or Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) or the myriad of Cabinet officials accused of misuse of taxpayer funds and/or conflicts of interest.

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Democrats and voters need to put Republican candidates on the spot, demanding answers to these sort of questions:

Why shouldn’t Collins and Hunter have been forced out of the House?
Should the Senate have voted to reject Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price, whose ethical problems concerning stock ownership were already known?
Why have you not called for investigations and hearings regarding Wilbur Ross, Ryan Zinke and others credibly accused of conflicts of interest and/or misuse of taxpayer money?
Why have you done nothing about the president’s ongoing conflicts of interests and his receipt of foreign monies that appear to violate the emoluments clause? Why not a single hearing?
We know House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) misrepresented the contents of the warrant application to conduct surveillance on Carter Page and propagated a phony unmasking scandal. Why haven’t you insisted he step down as chair? Why has no House ethics inquiry been opened?
If it is proved that Trump violated the law to influence the election, should he be impeached? If so, why aren’t you investigating credible claims by his longtime lawyer that he did so?
Would intentional violation of campaign finance reforms by paying hush money to two women to suppress their stories qualify as a “High Crime or Misdemeanor”?
Federal campaign finance law says it is illegal to solicit something of value from a foreign national. If Trump knew of a meeting between a Russian national and top campaign aides to do just that and did nothing to stop it, should he be impeached? If he knew about the meeting after the fact and drafted a memo misrepresenting the meeting while an investigation is ongoing, would that be grounds for impeachment?
Why have you not objected to baseless slurs directed at the FBI, special counsel and attorney general?

Just as staunch #NeverTrumpers predicted when the GOP nominated and elected Trump, he is now a font of moral and financial corruption. If this Congress won’t do anything, it’s time for a new Congress.

Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin explains the probability of impeachment or enacting the 25th Amendment in the Trump era. (Video: Adriana Usero, Kate Woodsome, Danielle Kunitz/The Washington Post)