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WaPo Columnist: Impeaching Trump Second Time ‘Might Be Absolutely Necessary’


An opinion writer for the the Washington Post’s Plum Line blog is already entertaining the idea of impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time when, as we speak, the articles of impeachment the House just voted on haven’t even been transferred to the Senate for a trial.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has already said there’s no way Trump will be removed from office, and it’s no secret House Democrats are hedging their bets by continuing to pursue Robert Mueller’s grand jury materials, potentially for “additional articles of impeachment” (i.e. a second impeachment).

Anticipating the acquittal in the Senate that McConnell promised, WaPo’s Paul Waldman proposes that one should not outright dismiss the idea of a second impeachment as “absurd.” Why? Because it “might be absolutely necessary.”

“At the very least, considering the possibility will help us understand just how deep our governing crisis could get if Trump wins a second term in office,” Waldman writes.

From there, Waldman argues that if any sitting president were to deserve being impeached twice it would be Trump.

“To clarify, I’m not talking about Trump being impeached again for the misdeeds for which he is currently being called to account. I’m talking about an impeachment for new misdeeds that we have yet to discover, or that he has not yet committed but will in the future,” he continued. “When you consider that future, you realize that another impeachment is a real possibility.”

In the “new misdeeds that we have yet to discover” department, House lawyers are openly hoping that former special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury materials, if released to them, will provide more insight into the president’s “obstructive conduct.” They are also hoping that former White House counsel Don McGahn is ultimately forced to testify about key events described in the Mueller Report.

They said the McGahn case, among other things, is relevant for the consideration of “additional articles of impeachment” and even the current impeachment [emphases ours]:

This case is not moot first because McGahn was a witness to several of the President’s past efforts to undermine investigations into foreign interference in elections, which relate directly to the obstruction of Congress Article of Impeachment.

McGahn’s testimony would thus inform the House’s decision-making about impeachment and presentation of the Articles in a Senate trial. McGahn’s testimony is also relevant to the Committee’s ongoing investigations into Presidential misconduct and consideration of whether to recommend additional articles of impeachment.

While many believe the Mueller Report itself described impeachable offenses, some legal analysts caution that a second impeachment–particularly one based on Mueller’s grand jury materials and McGahn’s testimony–would be disastrous politically.

[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.