What would it take to impeach President Donald Trump? The evidence might be in the public record already.
The Brookings Institution, a research group and public policy organization, charged in a paper published Tuesday that Trump obstructed justice when he got in the way of investigations into Russian interference in the presidential election by trying to persuade FBI Director James Comey to drop the bureau’s probe and then firing him.
“The public record contains substantial evidence that President Trump attempted to impede the investigations of Michael Flynn and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, including by firing FBI Director James Comey,” the paper says. “There is also a question as to whether President Trump conspired to obstruct justice with senior members of his administration although the public facts regarding conspiracy are less well-developed.”
In the paper, “Presidential Obstruction of Justice: The Case of Donald J. Trump,” Brookings researchers write that attempting to stop an investigation, “demanding the loyalty” of someone involved, requesting their help in ending the investigation, and then firing that person are acts “that have frequently resulted in obstruction convictions.” Trump expressing “hope” that Comey would stop the investigation, as the former director testified, could be enough to prove that he fired him for the wrong reasons.
The Brookings Institution is known as a liberal research organization, and the study’s authors have criticized Trump before. But they make the case that obstruction, conspiracy and conviction for a federal crime have been enough to impeach public officials in the past and cite the articles of impeachment drafted against Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
The authors of the study note that impeachment discussions are “premature” before the end of the investigation.
Indeed, articles of impeachment have already been filed in the House of Representatives but with little support….