Will Trump be impeached?

There’s a case for it, but the Democrats are wary. Matthew Partridge reports.


Pelosi has tamped down talk of impeachment
(Image credit: 2019 Getty Images)

Last week, a redacted version of the Mueller report was released and US attorney-general William Barr's conclusion that the investigation "did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or co-ordinated with the Russian government" has not changed, says The Times. It is, however, also "careful not to rule out wrongdoing in Trump's response to the investigation itself" and "lists 11 episodes of possible obstruction by the president".

President Trump immediately declared vindication, but the report "undoubtedly gives ammunition to the Democrats who now control the House of Representatives and have it in their power to launch impeachment proceedings".

Playing it cool

There's a reason Pelosi is playing it cool, says Daniel DePetris in The Spectator. She "doesn't like Donald Trump as a person or as a politician", but she "doesn't like impeachment either, viewing it as a politically treacherous effort that could cause as much anguish for Democrats as it does for Trump". Pelosi understands how draining impeachment proceedings can be to the party who initiates them. She remembers that Bill Clinton "survived and thrived" when Republicanstried to impeach him, and "doesn't want anything to do with a repeat, especiallywhen the presidential election season is just getting started".

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One factor that complicates impeachment is the lack of Republican support, which it would need to succeed in the Senate, say Burgess Everett and Melanie Zanona in Politico magazine. While at-risk Republican lawmakers "don't love the portrayal of Trump's repeated attempts to kill the probe into pro-Trump Russian interference in the 2016 campaign", they "don't feel the need to create any new space between them and the president" either. The desire to stay in Trump's "good graces" and "keep his supporters" appears to "override any interest in using the episode to appeal to swing voters".

Still, Trump shouldn't breathe easy, says Nicholas Fandos in The New York Times. Pelosi's strategy is to "increase support for the investigations already begun", rather than to completely end all Trump-related enquiries.

There will also be "a string of public hearings inthe coming weeks", involving Mueller and manyof the figures mentioned in his report. As a result, "the argument over impeachment may prove somewhat semantic" since "the proceedings will have the look of impeachment hearings without the title". This route may prove to be more damaging to Trump than an immediate impeachment vote.

Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri