Calls to impeach President Donald Trump are growing following the release of the 448-page redacted Mueller report.
Although congressional Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and presidential hopefuls like Cory Booker have expressed reluctance to introduce impeachment proceedings against the president, legal experts, journalists and progressive Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have all concluded that there is more than enough evidence in the Mueller report to impeach Trump.
The reason for reluctance appears obvious. The Democrats, for so long waiting to see the results of the Mueller report, are concerned that a prolonged impeachment proceeding will not only hamper their stake for the presidency in 2020 but that it also will derail their chances of getting a majority in the Senate — at the moment controlled by the Republicans.
But legal experts and journalists contend that the Mueller report is more “damning” than Watergate or the Ken Starr report, which was instrumental in bringing impeachment proceedings against then-President Bill Clinton.
“In 400 words, this report from the special counsel is more damning than all those reports about a president, this is really a devastating report,” said John Dean, the former White House counsel for President Nixon, according to The Hill.
In the report, it is clear that the special counsel has not found incriminating evidence of Trump-Russia “collusion,” but as far as the obstruction charges are concerned, Mueller more than gives Congress a roadmap to move ahead with impeachment, as reported by The Intercept.
“With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” the Mueller report states.
“The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”
New from me: The Mueller Report is an impeachment referral https://t.co/AgBdzsRZIC
— Yoni Appelbaum (@YAppelbaum) April 18, 2019
If President Trump didn’t obstruct justice, who ever could? The unexpected impeachment referral Mueller surprised Washington with Thursday: https://t.co/PyjoRwyf1c
— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) April 18, 2019
The case for Donald Trump’s impeachment is strong. In total, Robert Mueller provided 11 instances of possible obstruction by the president and refused to exonerate him. He has placed the ball in Congress’ court. Although he has not pointed to an “underlying crime,” Mueller nonetheless suggests that Trump should be held accountable for his actions.
The impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon stated that he had made “false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States” and “to cause prospective defendants, and individuals duly tried and convicted, to expect favored treatment and consideration in return for their silence or false testimony, or rewarding individuals for their silence or false testimony.”
According to the Mueller report, Trump is guilty on both of those charges. He lied about his campaign’s contact with Russia and the reason for the infamous Trump Tower meeting attended by his son, Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, and a Russian representative. Mueller indicates that Trump knew about the purpose of the meeting, but he lied to the American people, saying it had something to do with the adoption of children. Furthermore, he has also suggested that he would pardon his aides who have been loyal to him during the course of the investigation — an impeachment-worthy action according to Article II, Section IV of the American Constitution.
All of this has led to prominent legal experts and journalists calling for Donald Trump’s impeachment. But the Democratic leadership is dithering to commit, and it is possible that the president might not be held accountable for his actions despite the special counsel providing ample proof of obstructive behavior.