Some members of Congress ruled out impeachment long before receiving the Mueller report, predicting that the Senate would not convict — and they might be right. Some believe impeachment is a distraction for voters who care more about health care and jobs, pocketbook issues. Still others believe the president will use impeachment as a rallying cry for his base. Some are still suffering from Post-Clinton Impeachment Syndrome and worry Democrats will lose the House or narrow their majority as the GOP did in 1998. Others want to “build the record” before deciding whether to begin an impeachment proceeding. These are all legitimate concerns, but they do not address the constitutional consideration of the evidence that the president of the United States may have committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Such evidence requires the Congress to act.
Impeachment is building the record: considering a resolution in the Judiciary Committee; conducting an investigation pursuant to that resolution; and referring articles of impeachment (or not) to the full House. So, Democrats should stop using the language of oversight and accountability (important to be sure) for what takes place next. They should instead, in the manner of a home-plate umpire, call the strike: Use the constitutional framework and its language to sort out this mess and hold the president responsible for his actions.