It was unclear how Trump would legally justify such a move, since the Constitution delegates impeachment proceedings to Congress, not the courts. Trump mentioned the idea briefly in morning tweets in which he lashed out at Democrats who are continuing to investigate him following the release of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report.“I DID NOTHING WRONG,” Trump wrote. “If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court. Not only are there no ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ there are no Crimes by me at all.”
Most importantly, the issue of the president’s motives and intent—in contrast to the muddiness of that question in some of the prior episodes—is crystal clear. The reason is that there is no other basis for the president’s attempted action other than to stymie the investigation. Trump was specifically advised that his stated concerns about conflicts were frivolous. Unlike with the [James] Comey firing, where Trump was mad about Comey’s refusal to make a public statement and the action could be seen as retaliatory, there was no issue with Mueller other than the fact that he was running the investigation. What’s more, the action took place specifically in response to the news that the president was, in fact, under investigation after all. As Mueller writes, “The evidence accordingly indicates that news that an obstruction investigation had opened is what led the President to call McGahn to have the Special Counsel terminated.” Trump’s subsequent efforts to get McGahn to deny the story, as Mueller writes, “are contrary to the evidence and suggest the President’s awareness that the direction to McGahn could be seen as improper.” Intent here is super-clear.