Yesterday was a momentous occasion that few people ever see in their lifetimes - the impeachment of a president. The House leadership announced two articles of impeachment declaring that tRump abused the power of his office, and then obstructed Congress trying to cover it up. We've all seen him misusing and abusing his office (almost on a daily basis), but this one stuck - likely because it's simple and straightforward. It also "fits a pattern" of calling on foreign nations to interfere with our elections.
His tendency to obstruct investigations also fits a pattern, as spelled out in the Mueller report.
The Republicans have tried to use a lot of deflections and ginned up outrage to distract from the simple truth that tRump withheld aid from Ukraine because he wanted them do him a favor "though". Among them:
- Zelensky got the aid anyway: Irrelevant, because withholding the aid initially and telling Zelensky getting it was predicated on him officially announcing an investigation of Biden was the crime. As Rachel Maddow said: the crime is in the "ask".
- Zelensky didn't feel pressured: Irrelevant - just because he was naive and dumb enough not to notice the threat, doesn't mean it wasn't made
- The Dems didn't reveal the "whistle-blower": Irrelevant, because nothing provided by the whistle-blower was introduced as evidence.
- Democrats have wanted to impeach tRump for a while now: Irrelevant, because past behavior of the president would have been hard to use for impeachment, despite it violating the Constitution.
The impeachment process is a lot like a criminal investigation:
- Closed-door hearing: This is akin to interviewing potential witnesses in private, so that the other witnesses' testimony is not affected by what they hear. This is S.O.P. for any police detective work.
- Open-door hearing: Although these are generally still private in a criminal investigation, this is akin to Grand Jury testimony.
- Articles of impeachment: These are the corollary of an indictment in a criminal case
- Trial in the Senate: Once the House votes to move forward on the articles of impeachment (which will happen next week), the Senate takes the matter up as trial. It's doubtful that the Senate will vote to remove him from office (convict) and/or ban him from holding public office in the future. Nonetheless, it puts a stain on his presidency - much like he has put a stain on America by his 3 years in office.
So yesterday was the beginning of step 3 in the process to formally brand tRump a criminal president. Once the House votes, he will officially be impeached. It's about time.