Impeachment isn’t About Politics, it’s About Precedent.

When democratic leadership has turned resistance into assistance.

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Photo via Nancy Pelosi on Instagram

After three years of questions and nonstop media coverage, special counsel Robert Mueller finally determined there was not enough evidence to show clearly that Trump and his campaign conspired with Russia to fix the election. At the same time he was not able to clear Trump on eleven instances of possible obstruction of justice, and decided that it would be left to congress to determine whether or not they should begin impeachment proceedings.

Since then, many high profile democrats such as congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and senator Elizabeth Warren have gone on the record to express their view that impeachment proceedings should begin. Even far right tea party Republican Justin Amash has gone against party lines to state publicly that it is time to begin that process, and start the investigations. In a statement in response to Mueller’s latest attempt at clarifying exactly where he stands on the issue, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jared Nadler said:

“The Constitution points to Congress to take action to hold the president accountable for his misconduct. It falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies, and other wrongdoing of President Trump.”

Notably and yet unsurprisingly missing from the ever growing list of politicians advocating for impeachment proceedings is Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House who also happens to be the person with the power to get the process going.

According to Pelosi, Trump’s “just not worth it”. Why waste the time, money, or effort on the process? In perhaps some of the most bizarre remarks on the topic, Pelosi even went as far as to say that Trump wanted to be impeached. If impeached, she argues, Trump feels that he will be exonerated by the United States, and therefore the case has to be rock solid. I would argue that eleven instances of what could be considered obstruction of justice is a fairly solid argument for at least beginning the proceedings. So then what is this really about?

In an interview with the Washington post, Pelosi offered a few upsides to the Trump presidency with a laugh, calling him:

“…a great organizer for Democrats, a great fundraiser for Democrats and a great mobilizer at the grassroots level for Democrats. And I think that’s good for America.”

Admitting that Trump is good for fundraising efforts is probably one of the most honest things voters have gotten from Nancy Pelosi in quite some time. In February of 2018, Pelosi sent out a fundraising email in response to Donald Trump declaring a national emergency at the border, which of course was his plan to get the funding to build the wall on which his campaign centered around.

This attitude sends a loud and clear message that the money that democrats are able to raise because of the chaos Trump continues to cause is reason enough to allow that chaos to continue. And raise money for what? What has democratic leadership actively done to stand up to Trump in the way that they should? I’m almost certain that if Pelosi’s wealthiest donors hadn’t gotten their tax breaks from Trump, she would be much more in favor of impeachment.

To the Nancy Pelosi’s and Chuck Schumer’s of our government, impeachment proceedings are proving to be more of a political game rather than a constitutional obligation, and that might be the most telling aspect of this entire ordeal. They continue to toe the line, refusing to absolutely rule it out and yet refusing to say they will take action. Instead of doing their constitutional duties handed over to them by the special counsel, the most powerful members of the democratic party in Washington have decided to become enablers.

This isn’t about politics. This is about precedent.

As much as William Barr would like us to ignore it, the fact is the overwhelming consensus among legal minds is that there does not have to be an underlying crime in order for obstruction of justice — a serious felony — to occur. Why? Because obstruction of justice can infringe upon the legal process, and undermine the ability to determine if the crime occurred.

To be clear, I absolutely accept the fact that Mueller has found no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. That is over, done, and it’s time to move along. But that does not mean that the events that happened afterwards in relation to the case are irrelevant, and Nancy Pelosi knows it. She has the responsibility of holding the President of the United States accountable for his actions, enforcing checks and balances, and upholding the rule of law, but she won’t. We have to ask ourselves what kind of precedent this sets for the future, where a President will have no reason to believe that Congress will be there to keep them in line.

I understand that impeachment is messy. I understand that there can potentially be harmful ramifications if things don’t turn out exactly like you expect. But on the basis of principle alone, that simply should not matter. This is bigger than fundraising or party lines. Democratic leadership have an obligation in this instance to determine whether or not our system of government is even in place anymore. But they refuse to and that, right there, is the answer. Pelosi’s failure to act is yet another indication that the country is sinking deeper and deeper in to fascism, thanks largely in part to the lack of resistance and willpower of those with the ability to stop it.

Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx

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