Not even overwhelming evidence that Donald Trump sought to bribe a foreign power to dig up dirt on his leading political opponent in 2020 — and did so with American taxpayer dollars while compromising American foreign policy — will cause Trump to be removed from office.

That’s because there’s zero chance that 20 Republican senators — the number needed to convict Trump, if every Democratic senator votes to do so — have enough integrity to do what the Constitution requires them to do.

Republican senators will put their jobs and their political party ahead of the Constitution and the country. They will tell themselves that 88 percent of Republican voters still support Trump, and that their duty is to them.

It does not matter that these voters inhabit a parallel political universe consisting of Trump tweets, Fox News, right-wing radio and Trump-Russian social media, all propounding the absurd counternarrative that Democrats, the “deep state,” coastal elites, and mainstream media are conspiring to remove the Chosen One from office.

So if there’s no chance of getting the 20 Republican votes needed to convict Trump and send him packing, is there any reason for the House to impeach him?

Yes. There are three reasons.

The first is the Constitution itself. Trump has openly and brazenly abused his power, not only seeking electoral help from foreign nations but making money off his presidency in violation of the emoluments clause, spending funds never appropriated by Congress in violation of the separation of powers, obstructing justice and violating his oath to faithfully execute the law.

A failure by Congress to respond to these abuses would effectively render the Constitution meaningless. Congress has no alternative but to respond.

The second reason is political. While the impeachment hearings don’t appear to have moved Republican voters, only 29 percent of Americans still identify as Republican.

The hearings do seem to have affected Democrats and independents, as well as many people who sat out the 2016 election. National polls by Morning Consult/Politico and SSRS/CNN show that 50 percent of respondents now support both impeaching Trump and removing him from office — an increase from Morning Consult/Politico’s mid-November poll.

Presumably anyone who now favors removing Trump from office will be inclined to vote against him next November. The House’s impeachment could therefore help swing the 2020 election against him.

The third reason for the House to impeach Trump even if the Senate won’t convict him concerns the pardoning power of the president.

Assume that Trump is impeached on grounds that include a raft of federal crimes — bribery, treason, obstruction of justice, election fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States, making false statements to the federal government, serving as an agent of a foreign government without registering with the Justice Department, accepting donations from foreign nationals, and so on.

Regardless of whether a sitting president can be indicted and convicted on such criminal charges, Trump will become liable to them at some point. But could he be pardoned, as Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon 45 years ago?

Article II, section 2 of the Constitution gives a president the power to pardon anyone who has been convicted of offenses against the United States, with one exception: “in cases of impeachment.”

If Trump is impeached by the House, he can never be pardoned for these crimes. He cannot pardon himself (it’s dubious that a president has this self-pardoning power in any event), and he cannot be pardoned by a future president. Even if a subsequent president wanted to pardon Trump in the interest of, say, domestic tranquility, she could not.

Gerald Ford wrote in his pardon of Nixon that if Nixon were indicted and subject to a criminal trial, “the tranquility to which this nation has been restored by the events of recent weeks could be irreparably lost.”

Had the House impeached Nixon, Ford’s hands would have been tied.

Trump isn’t going to be as lucky. The House will probably impeach him before Christmas.

After that, he will be quite literally unpardonable.

Robert Reich’s latest book is “The Common Good,” and his newest documentary is “Saving Capitalism.”

Copyright 2019 Tribune Content Agency.

(58) comments

Obadiah Plainsmen

Hallelujah,Hallelujah,Hallelujah we are going to have a trial. Hopefully the Senate holds it during the August 2020 recess.

jsklinelga

Extremely relevant! The 3 well rehearsed lawyers for the Democrats were asked point blank if they had heard one material fact from the Shiff hearings that warrants this impeachment . No answer!!! Wonder why they did not mention the phone call from July 25? The answer is obvious. It is obvious where the real abuse of power is occurring. Not so obvious but far more important is where the real threat to National security and foreign policy is occurring. When Trump does not cooperate he is. obstructing injustice..

Obadiah Plainsmen

jsk

This whole debacle is to decide that the President is not above the law, but what about Congress are they above the law? Members of Congress cannot be impeach. However, are the acts of Congress that conflict with the Constitution reviewable by the Supreme Court? Marbury v Madison said yes, wonder if Trump v Pelosi will get the same result?

Obadiah Plainsmen

Precedent has proven a dispute between the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch with be heard and decided by the Judicial Branch.

Obadiah Plainsmen

Nice move by Pamela Karlan bringing Barron Trump into the impeachment process. Now Dad( President Trump) can use the words of Isoroku Yamamoto in the movie Tora,Tora,Tora "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve". Go get them President Trump everything is on the table now, Politics is war and war is hell!

awteam2000

And you’re now bringing Barron into the conversation, as to what’s impeachable? Is that Trump’s defense? I thought Trump describe Barron as Melania’s son when he talked about his concerns about juvenile use of e-cigarettes.

phydeaux994

Look at all the horrendous things Trump has said about Joe Biden’s son Hunter. Doesn’t matter that Hunter is a little older. 😉😂😳

JILLROE

Democrat-Socialist 2020 Platform & Goals:

-Massive tax increases.

-End all deportations of illegal aliens (if you get here, you stay.)

-Drivers licenses for illegal aliens.

-Voting rights for non citizens.

-Welfare & Food Stamps for illegal aliens. (Warren)

-Increase refugee's from the third world.

-Non citizens allowed to hold public office.

-Socialism.

-Open Borders.

-Sanctuary Cities.

-Decriminalize illegal entry into our country.

-De-fund & terminate Border Patrol & ICE.

-Disarming Americans.

-Green new deal.

-End of Electoral College

-Free medicare care for all including non citizens Warren / Sanders (taxpayer funded with a 52 trillion estimate)

-Free college for all, including non citizens. (tax payer funded)

-Reparations.

-Susie & Bobby using the same restrooms.

-Late term abortions up to 9 months.

-Infanticide.

-Pay check for every person in the US even if they choose not to work.

*Sources: Straight from the Democrat's themselves. View their speeches / debates on you tube.The choice is yours.-

Nicki

JillRoe -- what a bunch of malarkey! [censored]

hayduke2

Delusional at best. Posting under a new “handle” are we.

armillary

But we already know that Trump would be worse.

User1

Yea, just look at the past three years! Hows your 401K doing by the way? All your friends have jobs? Thank Trump.

collinsm65

Republicans: Corruption, mafia tactics and a wannabe dictator who's been sued by the bushel for sex charges and paid a prostitute off for silence and bribed for his own interests.

gary4books

I have never seen a better 'straw figure" to oppose. However: "same restrooms?" You mean like they have at home? Open borders and sanctuary cities? One or the other but not both. That is pointless. Health Insurance? FEHB for all who need it will fix the problem. And it is very affordable. What a straw figure! But irrelevant to any voter.

prg45fan

The way this letter writer used 'The Big Three': Projection, Deflection and outright lying deserves an award for compelling propagandized opinion. It also deserves one very large Pinocchio nose.

hayduke2

Too funny. What a joker you are.

Obadiah Plainsmen

"one can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment of an American president. To put it simply, I hold no brief for President Trump. My personal and political views of President Trump, however, are irrelevant to my impeachment testimony, as they should be to your impeachment vote. Today, my only concern is the integrity and coherence of the constitutional standard and process of impeachment ".

Liberal Professor and Constitutional Lawyer Jonathan Turley.

jsklinelga

OP

Even Chris Wallace was critical of today's proceedings and supportive of Professor Turley's points. That is an excellent indicator that support for this "slipshod impeachment" is waning fast..

olefool

Dream on jsk.... Turley probably single handedly bolstered the democrats positions by his untruths and past history. Proving once again that republicans are like the three stooges..

phydeaux994

Turley said not enough evidence, Republicans said no 1st hand information, Democrats showed a dozen pictures of primary witnesses subpoenaed but illegally ordered not to testify by The Donald that would have satisfied those complaints. Republicans complained that the Hearings were unfair because they couldn’t get the witnesses or the documents they wanted while Trump was illegally withholding the witnesses and documents the Intelligence and Judiciary Committee’s wanted, many of them the same for both of them. Republicans make no dang sense.

awteam2000

I guess the Republican’s constitutional expert, Turkey, is suggesting congress should hear testimony from those that Trump has prevented from testifying like Bolton, Pompeo, Perry, Mulvaney, Giuliani, the OBM office, release subpoenaed documents and other witnesses.

Yes, we all agree with that. Trump should stop boycotting pertinent witnesses from testifying. Especially if the call was ‘so perfect’.

hayduke2

Think that is obstructing a lawful subpeona..[beam]

olefool

Trump should take the oath and either answer questions or take the fifth. Better still he should admit the errors of his ways and jump ship...

awteam2000

Sorry 😐 I met ‘ Turley’.

More importantly - what was Devin Nunes up to (phone records last spring) with Giuliani and Lev Parnas? And why didn’t Nunes disclose he met with Ukrainian operatives to promote getting dirt on Biden before residing as the majority leader in the intelligence impeachment hearings?

olefool

What in hell is Rudy doing meeting with the deposed Ukrainian prosecutor today.. yes today 11/4/2019????? Must be either paying or collecting, what else???

User1

Shiffs narrative again? Nunes pretty well explained that he wasn’t in the Ukraine then. He was attending to other congressional business as his records have shown. Anything else? And when’s it a crime to know a lawyer’s phone number?

hayduke2

Yup, he and Collins both got schooled by the others!!!!!!! He was out of his league.

olefool

Turley had opened the door to his crooked past insodfar as his testimony today will reveal.... tsk, tsk, tsk.... He was called by the republicans on the panel to support their idiocy.

Russian

This why prosecutors don’t pursue charging dirty white cops and black politicians because the jury pool is morally compromised.

veritas

Pity the poor, bewildered and incredulous Democrat Bounty Hunters who have run out of realistic options to bag their Presidential quarry and instead must now embark on a hunt to bring down years hence the lesser prey of a former president.

hayduke2

Pitty the poor, bewildered and incredulous Trump supporters who claim he is making America great again. https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-completely-embarrassed-first-day-113300002.html

DickD

The House can make it very difficult for Trump:https://www.politicususa.com/2019/06/10/house-democrats-can-issue-an-impeachment-verdict-without-going-through-the-gop-senate.html “You don’t need to be afraid of the big bad Mitch McConnell,” Tribe said. “The House of Representatives at the last minute can decide either to present articles of impeachment or to wrap it up itself, issue a condemnation of the president for having committed high crimes and misdemeanors with specific factual findings and then make him carry that scarlet ‘I’ for impeachability into the 2020 election.”

collinsm65

There is little doubt that everything Mafia Don does is that Putin is wielding him like a marionette over something he has on him to blackmail him. No other government employees would be allowed to violate the ethics standards like he has.

Dwasserba

"While the impeachment hearings don’t appear to have moved Republican voters, only 29 percent of Americans still identify as Republican." Dunh-dunh-dunnnnnhhh

Obadiah Plainsmen

I like Mr. Reich little prophecy "Even if a subsequent president wanted to pardon Trump in the interest of, say, domestic tranquility, SHE could not".( Emphasis add).

When Nikki Haley is President I doubt that pardoning Trump(if SHE could) will be high on her list of things to do.

threecents

OP[thumbup]

TINAE

One thing for sure, the current President has lowered the bar of the Presidency so low that we better hope that people and other countries will have respect for our country and other Presidents again, because right now that's not happening.

threecents

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/12/04/brief-history-world-leaders-laughing-trump/

gary4books

"That’s because there’s zero chance that 20 Republican senators — the number needed to convict Trump, if every Democratic senator votes to do so — have enough integrity to do what the Constitution requires them to do.:

This may be true. Now.

But what about when they vote?

That remains to be seen.

Dwasserba

Zero.

jsklinelga

Sad "Trump-Russia social media" ??? Yesterday someone posted they had lost respect for me because I challenged the editorializing within the news. The headline of the article was bad enough but the biased selection and cherry picking of the facts within the article was sad. It is sad. Just like the fictionalized Trump-Russia relationship.

Today, those who care (the numbers shrink), will hear more cherry picked facts. Ans also will hear the shouts from the bowels of Sorosville.. Russia,Russia, not Ukraine. Not Ukraine. Russia, Russia. Stay on point. Makes one wonder why they doth protest too much.

Comment deleted.
Alice Jones

So, user, the paper is pathetic but you continue to read and comment? Sounds like it's you that has a bad case of tds. ps - that buffoons ship has sailed. all the bloviating in the world will not change anyones mind.

Comment deleted.
marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup]

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup]

olefool

Same old same old from the same old...... The fact that Trump is a Russian mole is so blatant that even his most ardent supporters cannot see those facts.... Oh wait... they never see facts, just their kool aid induced "alternative reality."

hayduke2

Keep telling yourself your world view is the correct one. Ignore the testimony, refusal to provide documents, stonewalling investigations, denigrating honorable government employees, Trump's own words, etc. Sad and buying the tribal partly line "hook, line and sinker." As an aside, reasonable and free thinking folks would have some concern and would want the facts/truth/ testimony of all involved.

Comment deleted.
public-redux

User1, If the new owners of the FNP have TDS, it is because they are conservative and Trump is not. Ogden Newspapers, Inc. is generally regarded as conservative. If you Google just a tiny bit, you'll see that the liberal outfits DailyKos and Rawstory despite Ogden Newspapers for their ring-wing views. Ogden is owned by the Nutter family, owners of Pittsburgh Pirates. The Nutter family donates almost exclusively to Republicans. If the Nutters have TDS, I applaud them for being some of the only conservatives to reside in the reality based world.

"...which should be in the opinion section."

It is.

public-redux

"Yesterday someone posted they had lost respect for me because I challenged the editorializing within the news."

Actually, it was because of your mischaracterization of the article. Like your mischaracterization of that comment here.

hayduke2

" How" and "Why" can be confusing to jsk...

jsklinelga

public-redux

You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I absolutely believe the headline was intentionally misleading as I am sure the facts within the article concerning the report were cherry picked to support a false narrative.

But on a different note. Your comment the other day about communities being no different than the Federal Government regarding separation of church and State was so far off base it prompted me to write a letter. I would remind you of the Danbury Baptist's understanding "Sir, we are sensible that the president of the United States is not the national legislator, and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the laws of each state;"

public-redux

Oh, good, I had a feeling we were going to be treated to one of your letters. It also appears you have misunderstood my comment. What I said was that the United States could be considered a community. I hope your explains why it cannot.

As for the headline, did your version of the FNP not include the word “how” in it? Mine did.

Comment deleted.
public-redux

... despise... Not "despite"

Comment deleted.
Dwasserba

Huh? Online this does come up under "opinion". "Letters & Columns." Fact.

collinsm65

It is a fact Russia tampered with elections and is a fact they are doing it again, sported on by the sheer volume of numbskulls such as yourself who haven’t a shred of ethics in them. The vast majority of diehard trumpers are so due to white nationalism...fact. You just gave up the hoods and burning crosses and blather on hatefulness and ignorance on the Internet instead.

Thewheelone

[thumbup][thumbup], collinsm65!

matts853

Sieg MAGA!

richardlyons

[yawn]

Comment deleted.
matts853

Uh, User, they print Pat Buchanan articles all the time. But you only ever think one way so it’s no wonder that fact is lost on you. Pathetic....

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