Everything is ready

As Glinda said to Dorothy, “You’ve always had the power.”

The Democrats have had the evidence they need for impeachment since April 18. If that is the road they want to take, they need to stop dithering and move on it. They seem to think that someone has to hand them a smoking gun, akin to the Nixon tapes, before they can act.

In that case, Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski reached the end of his ability to bring Nixon to justice. He had told the grand jurors they could not indict an incumbent president, but that they could assist the impeachment process.

Now, Mueller has completed his investigation and come to the end of his ability to deal with Donald Trump. He supplied the report, which was incredibly damning. Since then, Mueller has twice gone public—once in a news conference on May 29 and then in his congressional testimony last week—to remind the Judiciary Committee that a president can only be called to account by Congress. Mueller can do no more, but Congress can.

Committee members seem to want Mueller to do their job for them. That’s not the way the system works. The House Judiciary Committee voted for impeachment of President Nixon before the smoking gun tape even became known. The committee conducted an investigation and acted. The Watergate grand jury gave the committee a suitcase of evidence on Nixon, but it was the committee that had to go to work and build the case. But then, in those days, Democrats were made of sterner stuff. So, for that matter, were Republicans—eight of whom on House Judiciary considered country above party and voted to impeach. Today, the GOP would call them RINOs.

Today’s House Democrats are too timid to move ahead. That’s not Mueller’s fault. Initially, without having read it, Trump claimed that the Mueller report “exonerated” him, and his disciples picked up his cue, as when Nevada conservative writer Stanley Paher argued, “The $30 million Mueller investigation involving interviewing 500 people by a seasoned staff of liberal lawyers came up empty.” But Trump promptly changed signals on them, relentlessly attacking both Mueller (“Trump hater”) and the Mueller report: “A hoax,” “total bullshit,” “The Greatest Presidential Harassment in history,” “the crazy Mueller report,” “fabricated and totally untrue,” “Corruption at the highest level. A disgrace. Spying, surveillance, trying for an overthrow.”

Does that sound like Trump is describing a report that exonerated him? And if he thinks the report cleared him, why has he thrown “executive privilege” over it to keep parts of it secret? And why have the Democrats accepted his initial spin?

The Mueller report cited instances when Trump was allegedly untruthful in answers given to the grand jury and provided a list of 10 Trump actions allegedly obstructing justice. Those are felonies and impeachable. Because an incumbent president cannot be indicted, Trump cannot be prosecuted for them until he leaves office. The Judiciary Committee has been sitting on this report now for 132 days, waiting for Mueller to do—what? He has done his part and reminded them twice that the ball is in their court. They never seem to get the message.