With reluctance, we conclude the U.S. House of Representatives has enough reason to justify the impeachment of President Donald Trump. We harbor no illusions that the president’s impeachment by the House will lead to his removal from office by the Senate. But we hope the impeachment process and a trial in the Senate will give voters a more complete picture of Trump’s conduct, because they will deliver the ultimate judgment on his performance in November.
The House Judiciary Committee wisely limited the impeachment charges to abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. They focus exclusively on Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine and his efforts to undermine the House’s impeachment inquiry. The fundamental facts presented by the House through witness testimony and documents are not in dispute by the president or his key supporters.
And this month, documents found on the computer backups of a deceased Republican strategist offered the most persuasive evidence yet that the decision was driven not by policy, but by partisanship.
The files show that the strategist, Thomas B. Hofeller, had outlined in 2015 how Republicans could gain political power by basing new political maps on the number of voting-age citizens instead of total population — a strategy, he wrote, that could only be realized with data from a census citizenship question.
EXCERPT: After Mr. Trump invoked executive privilege to block disclosure of documents on the census, a House committee voted on Wednesday to recommend that the House hold Attorney General William P. Barr and Mr. Ross in contempt of Congress.
Barr has been publicly critical of the Mueller investigation. In 2017, he faulted Mueller for hiring prosecutors who have contributed to Democratic politicians, saying his team should have had more “balance,” and characterized the obstruction of justice investigation as “asinine” and that it was “taking on the look of an entirely political operation to overthrow the president.” In June 2018, Barr sent an unsolicited 20-page memo to deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein arguing that the Special Counsel’s approach to potential obstruction of justice by Trump was “fatally misconceived” and that, based on his knowledge, Trump’s actions were within his presidential authority. The day after the existence of the memo became known, Rosenstein said “our decisions are informed by our knowledge of the actual facts of the case, which Mr. Barr didn’t have.” In a letter to Senator Lindsey Graham on January 14, 2019, Barr disclosed he had sent the memo to, and discussed it with, several White House and Trump attorneys.
On January 14, 2019, a day before Barr’s hearings for Attorney General, Barr sent written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the eventual final Mueller report, saying “[i]t is very important that the public and Congress be informed of the results of the special counsel’s work … For that reason, my goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law.”
The Trump administration does, however, seem “particularly comfortable stacking high-level posts with former lobbyists whose policy proposals are like a corporate Christmas list,” said Peterson. As ProPublica revealed in March, “At least 187 Trump political appointees have been federal lobbyists, and despite President Trump’s campaign pledge to ‘drain the swamp,’ many are now overseeing the industries they once lobbied on behalf of.”