Holding up authorized military aid to Ukraine in an effort to coerce the government into smearing Joe Biden and validating an absurd conspiracy theory that aims to exonerate Russia for 2016 election interference is a perfectly impeachable offense.
In that sense, the desire of House Democrats to avoid confusing the issue by turning their impeachment inquiry into a sprawling investigation or a comprehensive accounting of Donald Trump’s crimes is understandable. And certainly if Senate Republicans indicate that they are prepared to hold Trump accountable in exchange for Democrats agreeing to act swiftly so that the country can move on, Democrats should do the responsible thing and remove Trump from office ASAP.
But there’s no indication that’s happening. Instead, among Republicans, only Sen. Mitt Romney has spoken about Trump’s misconduct with any degree of clarity, and even Romney hasn’t said he deems the total subversion of American foreign policy to necessarily be an impeachable offense.
If Republicans are going to stand by Trump regardless, there is absolutely no reason to cut the impeachment inquiry short or artificially limit its scope. The volume of leaks coming out of the Trump White House sometimes creates the impression that we have visibility into what’s really happening there. The moral of the Ukraine story is that isn’t true. A whistleblower’s memo brought new facts to light that were previously being covered-up. And the memo itself was nearly covered up. The launching of the formal inquiry has brought forth fruitful testimony from government officials who were apparently planning to stay silent otherwise.
It’s certainly possible that Trump’s corrupt dealings with Ukraine is the only example of him attempting dirty deals with foreign leaders. But it’s also quite possible it’s just the only example we happen to know about.
I think this is exactly right. If there was any serious chance Republicans would vote to convict Trump a narrow impeachment would probably be the best course of action. But with Dead Senator Walking Cory Gardner now the 50th Republican to sign on to Graham’s laughably frivolous anti-impeachment motion, it’s pretty clear that this is Not Happening. So investigate everything that’s worth investigating and have it take as long as it takes.