For months now, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has been shrilly chanting “Impeach 45” at most every public appearance.
Many likely tuned her out long ago, but every few days a new wave of talk about impeaching President Trump surfaces.
This week, a prominent Harvard law professor issued a “shoot to kill” advisory regarding any impeachment effort, warning that just nicking the president would “make him feel empowered and vindicated.”
The comments come from Harvard Law prof Laurence Tribe, who was promoting a new book on CNN.
He cautioned Democrats that impeachment is not a remedy for a “garden variety crime” but for “abusing the authority that we give to high officials like the president.”
He said such an extreme course of action “will be available only if we don’t use it loosely, and ring the bell every time something looks amiss.”
“You can’t be the boy who cried wolf and have a viable impeachment power. You can’t use it over and over again against the same president.”
His warning to the president’s critics: “If you’re going to shoot him, you have to shoot to kill.”
Tribe said a successful impeachment inquiry requires “an overwhelming majority of a bipartisan kind.”
“Otherwise you’re just going to nick the guy, and make him feel empowered and vindicated,” he said.
A reader of Tribe’s comments posted on Mediaite noted that the New York Times claimed the 2011 shooting of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was “incited” by an advertisement distributed by Sarah Palin’s political action committee, which featured targets on a map indicating congressional districts of Democratic lawmakers.
Palin, Sen. John McCain’s running mate in 2008, filed a defamation lawsuit against the Times that recently was escalated to the appeals level after a judge dismissed the suit. The Times has been forced to correct the editorial, acknowledging it was a mistake to state “a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting.”
Meanwhile, on the impeachment front, Texas Democrat Al Green promised that if the Democrats are in the majority in the U.S. House after this November’s elections, one of the first agenda items will be impeachment.
“There’s a good likelihood there will be articles of impeachment,” he said, according to Grabien. “… Here is a point that I think is salient, and one that ought to be referenced. Every member of the House is accorded the opportunity to bring up impeachment. This is not something the Constitution has bestowed upon leadership. It’s something every member has the right and privilege of doing.”
He noted House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., likely would become the House speaker.
“I’ll let Speaker Pelosi address her actions. … I am not sure that there will be members who are going to wait for someone else if that someone else, doesn’t matter who it is, is declining to do it. We can all do it. And I think there is a good likelihood there will be articles of impeachment,” he said.
This comes even as some Democrats are asking their own party members to drop the impeachment talk, as it isn’t resonating with voters.
Columnist Ganesh Sitaraman at the Guardian of London cites Tribe’s new book, “To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment.”
Tribe wrote: “Even if impeachment is warranted and even if they get the timing just right, impeachment is still risky.”
The Harvard professor said impeachment could “backfire.”
“Particularly in a polarized era, the president’s supporters might see impeachment as a coup d’etat designed to nullify the outcome of a democratic election – and that might further entrench those opponents into their partisan corner. Indeed, conservative groups are already calling conversation about impeachment a ‘coup’ attempt against Trump – and are using this to mobilize supporters for the midterm elections,” he wrote.