Impeachment may be the only way to avoid a constitutional crisis.

There’s a widespread belief that, once the Democrats take control of the House, the worst thing they could do is initiate impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. It would cause, some say, a constitutional crisis.

I was drinking that Kool-Aid for a while. I’m no longer thirsty.

Democrats, have at it!

First off, the fear of a constitutional crisis no longer means anything: we’re in the midst of one every day. Take, for instance, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. This is not some normal news item that we listen to and then move on. Khashoggi was butchered in front of witnesses; yet the Trump White House continues to do everything imaginable to bury the story and to preserve our economic relations with the morally vacuous plutocratic leadership of Saudi Arabia. 

Last week John Bolton said he wouldn’t listen to the purported recording of Khashoggi’s murder because he didn’t understand Arabic. Now if this had been a line from The Simpsons, we’d have all had a good laugh. But it wasn’t.

Then CIA Director Gina Haspel, who is privy to the intelligence report charging the Saudi royal family with the murder, was asked not to attend the Senate briefing on the topic. And Mike Pompeo, whose last shreds of self-respect are rapidly dissolving in the White House cesspool, answered reporters’ questions about Trump’s abdication of responsibility by smiling goofily and saying, at least twice, “I was asked to be here, and here I am.” 

Pompeo, and even the formerly somewhat respectable four-star general Jim Mattis, have thrown their weight behind Trump and his assertion that Saudi money supersedes the life of a reporter—not a surprise considering Trump’s disdain for the press and this country’s continuing to wink at the slaughter of innocents in Yemen. 

When institutions fail, we have a constitutional crisis. We don’t need soldiers in the streets or bread lines or mass incarceration—all we need is a government that no longer functions or a president who goes his own way without regard to the rule of law as laid out in the Constitution. Of course it’s more complex than that, but we can all see where this is headed.

At this point an impeachment might forestall rather than induce a constitutional crisis.

Maybe it’s time to find out.

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