The Democrats should announce an “Impeachment Inquiry” – now is the time — and they should pitch it to the American people as something that they are obligated to do by the oath our nation’s founders required them to take.
Here’s how the Democrats could pitch it, demonstrating that they have no other honorable choice:
“We are honor bound to impeach this President, given what the Mueller Report makes clear. It would be dishonorable for us NOT to launch an impeachment inquiry.”
Then, in the following several steps, demonstrate how this is true:
“Our founders put into the Constitution itself that — before we are invested with the powers of office in our constitutional system — we must bind ourselves by swearing an oath to ‘protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
“An oath is the strongest means people have devised to bind people to taking a required course of action. Fulfilling that oath is not a choice we get to make but one that honor absolutely requires of us.
“Most of the time, members of Congress – while they are required to take the oath – are not required to do anything to fulfill it. But that’s not our situation today—as the Mueller Report clearly shows.
“The Mueller Report shows pretty conclusively that the President of the United States committed crimes that represent a serious threat to the Constitutional order. That means that the Constitution now needs defending, which means that all the members of Congress – Republicans as well as Democrats – are honor bound to fulfill the solemn oath we took.
“Proof that the Mueller Report shows that our oath now requires us to launch an impeachment inquiry is found in the remarkable statement that has been issued by over 1000 former officials of the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorneys. In a letter to the American people, these former officials – the cream of American justice, both Republicans and Democrats –declare on the basis of their reading the Mueller Report that President Trump has committed “multiple felonies” that warrant indictment (and that it is not even a close call).
“When it is a sitting President that has committed these crimes, the only body that the Constitution empowers to issue such an indictment is the Congress. And that “indictment” is called ‘impeachment.’
“(Their letter dealt only with the crimes described in the Mueller Report. It doesn’t even count all the ways that Trump is continuing to obstruct justice and to violate the Constitutional system of checks and balances, and the rule of law – since the issuance of the Mueller Report — in blocking Congress from fulfilling its constitutional role, refusing to cooperate as required with lawful subpoenas from Congress.)
“Make no mistake. The crimes of this President are not of a minor nature. Indeed, they constitute a threat to our Constitution of the most serious kind: the crimes that those 1000+ experts in American law declared that the Mueller Report established amount to President Trump trying to place himself ‘above the law.’
“A President “above the law” is a most fundamental violation of our constitutional order. Sometimes people say “even the President” is not above the law. But actually especially the President must be accountable to law.” Indeed, the crimes the Mueller Report reveals are precisely the kind that most motivated our founders to give Congress the tool of ‘impeachment.’ They sought to protect this nation from falling into tyranny.
“Some have worried that the crime of ‘obstruction of justice” – i.e. the “multiple felonies” those 1000+ champions of American justice saw clearly laid out in Volume II of the Mueller Report — is too abstract a form of presidential misconduct to engage the American public. (Not nearly so engaging as a President getting himself sexually serviced in the Oval Office by a young woman not his wife).
“But really, when it is committed by the President of the United States, obstruction of justice is about as serious a crime as a President can commit.
“When the President of the United States commits crimes to prevent the American system of law from holding him accountable, it threatens to put our nation on the very wrong side of a very vital distinction: will America’s ruler be compelled to exercise his power in accordance with the laws the society has created to achieve some kind of justice, or will the ruler wield law enforcement as a weapon to serve his own power, as dictators do?
“(That’s so fundamental an issue about our constitutional order that this seemingly abstract crime of “obstruction of justice” is arguably more impeachable a crime than, say, a President’s committing some private murder.)
“That’s why House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler was quite right in describing how high are the stakes in the crisis created by this lawless President:
“Now is the time of testing whether we can keep a republic, or whether this republic is destined to change into a different, more tyrannical form of government, as other republics have over the centuries.”
“So what’s at issue with this “obstruction of justice” is really whether the nation will become more like Putin’s Russia.
“We have said that we are launching an impeachment inquiry because our oath of office has bound us to do so in such a situation as this. But the point of the oath is not just that it obligates us: there’s a powerful reason our founders put that oath into the Constitution, a reason that should make every American – whether Republican or Democrat or unaligned – feel strongly that we must do our duty.
“Our founders put the oath into the Constitution because they understood that our well-being as a people depended on maintaining the order they were creating. They understood that protecting the Constitution – republic or tyranny – would provide the foundation of so many of the blessings that Americans have enjoyed.
“Which is why they have sought to bind us to the commitment to defend the Constitution, and to give us the tools – the process of impeachment – to do so if a President should arise who violates his own oath of office to protect the Constitution and to see that the laws be faithfully executed, as we have every reason to believe this President has done.
“So the Mueller Report tells us at least enough to know that we need to look into what the President has done. And then, having uncovered the truthful picture, it will be our responsibility to deliberate on what action is or is not required of us to fulfill our oath to protect and defend the Constitution, the foundation of our liberties and other blessings as Americans.”