The result would be a replay of the Clinton impeachment, only with each team taking the other side of the field. Democrats would have their own Lindsey Graham problems — Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) trying to explain why Trump’s behavior is worse than a president having sex with a 22-year-old White House intern and then concealing the affair with a spot of perjury. But those arguments, no matter how ingenious, wouldn’t travel well outside of the left’s ideological bubble. Explaining that everything has changed since the #MeToo movement arrived wouldn’t be much help.
If the push for impeachment is about the legal violations involved in covering up some sexual impropriety instead of Russia’s election interference, it will probably backfire, just as the Clinton impeachment blew up for Republicans. Democrats can piously intone that they’re worried about campaign finance, not sexual misbehavior, but in the public square the debate will be over the sex. And while #MeToo may have changed the calculus in Washington, there are still millions of less politically engaged voters across the country who don’t necessarily thrill to the call of identity politics or want Congress to undertake a forensic investigation of the president’s sexual history. If that’s where all this ends up, Democrats are likely to regret it.