An impeachment inquiry, however, meant not just that Congress was at the peak of its constitutional powers as it conducted its investigation, an impeachment vote meant that the Senate had to respond.
Yes, there was a risk – namely that the Republican base would reaffirm its support for its embattled leader and that some independents would view it as a distraction. Moreover, there were very real tactical questions about the House Democrats process. Primarily, should they have slowed down and waited for court battles to resolve questions about presidential privileges and immunities?
Perhaps, but each course of action contained its own perils. There was never going to be a smooth path to a presidential rebuke. And while polls have been mixed – some indicating majority support for removal, but a recent Gallup poll put Trump’s approval rating at the highest point of his presidency – we won’t know the true political impact of impeachment (or whether it will even factor significantly in the presidential race) for some time.
At the end of the day, there is simple virtue in doing all you can to say no – to declare with the power and political force at your disposal that the president abused his power, and he should be held accountable.