Trump’s violations of the emoluments clause alone would probably provide enough fodder for hearings that could last well into the summer, a political and media event that might drive home to the American people the extent of his corruption and the gravity of the 2020 vote. Pelosi and her defenders might counter that such a prolonged exercise might give Republicans and Trump defenders reason to label the impeachment inquiry as illegitimate. But they’ve called it illegitimate anyway.
Perhaps more broadly, such a narrow and quick impeachment process risks being not only being politically wasteful for the Democrats, but cowardly as well. In the admittedly warped logic of American political messaging, to impeach Trump for only one of his myriad violations of ethics and law is to imply that all the rest of his behavior is acceptable.
The narrow impeachment inquiry, then, risks dangerously lowering the standards for future presidential conduct, and setting a precedent that Trump-style criminality and self-dealing are privileges of the office. The prospect of impeaching Trump for all of his impeachable misdeeds is daunting, simply because there are so many of them. But his misconduct cannot be ignored simply for the sake of political convenience. As Pelosi herself is so fond of saying, “No one is above the law.”