But the substance of the current impeachment debate is quite different. In the case of Clinton, a large portion of America saw the investigation as revolving around the private life of the President. But, in the case of Trump, this was an investigation into contacts between Trump campaign officials and individuals connected to a Russian government who were attempting to interfere in the 2016 US election — as well as the President’s ongoing efforts to stop the investigation. There is simply no comparison in the weight of the underlying charges.
Public opinion has reflected that a majority or close to a majority of the public has continued to approve of Mueller, despite the constant attacks from the President. Meanwhile, Trump has yet to win a majority of American voter support in his first two years in office. It would seem, then, that the public agrees that the substance of the charges is serious, and the content of the Mueller report only intensifies the severity of what the President has done while in office.
What Democrats do regarding impeachment proceedings will also say a great deal about the party’s views of presidential power. The issue is not, and has never been, what is the best way to remove Trump from the White House. The question has been whether Democrats take the abuse of presidential power seriously and whether they insist that the commander in chief needs to live under some restraints.