Tom Steyer Democratic leaders, stop dragging your feet and impeach Trump now

Nobody is above the law, and especially not the president. Proving that to Trump can't wait until 2020.
Image: President Donald Trump Speaks At Remarks At National Historically Black Colleges And Universities Week Conference
President Trump at the National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference in Washington on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
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By Tom Steyer

Donald Trump is, and has always been, a threat to our democracy. The long rap sheet of crimes perpetrated by this president is getting longer every day; it only starts with special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

And now Congress has returned from recess to a country that's reeling from a president who clearly lacks both the competence and temperament for the office he holds. After years of stalling, the House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Thursday to expand the existing lines of inquiry into the potential impeachment of Trump.

Well, it’s about time. No person — or president — should be above the law.

The case is clear, and we have to recognize that there is an enormous cost of inaction. We know that Mueller’s team exposed at least 140 contacts between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, brought 199 criminal charges, handed down 37 indictments or guilty pleas and won at least five prison sentences.

And, let’s not forget that Mr. Mueller laid out strong evidence that Trump himself obstructed justice. As he considered himself bound by a Justice Department guidance against indicting a sitting president, Mueller invoked congressional responsibility to enforce checks and balances to ensure that justice is served.

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We cannot wait for Democrats to win the presidency in 2020: Trump’s reckless behavior, divisive rhetoric and brazen corruption are tearing apart the country, putting our economy and our elections at risk and threatening the rule of law. We cannot stand aside and play to the polls when we have a president who emboldens white supremacists, puts immigrant families in cages, eviscerates environmental protections, allegedly funnels government money to his hotels and reportedly dangles pardons to encourage government officials to break the law in his name.

The allegations stacking up against Trump are serious and represent the gravest threats to our democratic norms in modern history. They aren’t going to go away if we ignore them; the legislative branch must do its duty and exercise its constitutional check on the president. To choose electoral politics over doing what is clearly right — in the face of Trump's criminal disregard — is to consent to and embolden his destructive agenda.

The good news is that, given this week's expected vote, most Democratic members of the House are serious about holding the president accountable. They’ve realized that giving Trump a license to lie, cheat and run roughshod over the limits of presidential power is a failure of moral leadership and a slap in the face to their oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution.

But unfortunately, some of the Democratic leadership in the House still does not support formal impeachment hearings. But failing to deliver on their constitutional obligation to stand up to Trump’s corruption sends a message that partisan politics come before the interests of the American people. That is wrong.

Impeachment proceedings are a clear and comprehensive approach to formally investigating and, given the results, laying out the case against Trump to the American people — who deserve nothing less — and, eventually, the Senate. A series of committee hearings with little or no force of law, rife with political posturing, simply aren’t good enough. The American people are owed truth and action; That's what we demand, and it’s the heart of my campaign for the presidency.

I grew up believing that the government was designed to do the right thing. During the Watergate scandal, both parties set aside politics-as-usual to hold to account President Richard Nixon’s clear criminality. We need that same ethic of truth and action — of country over party — now, more than ever.

The stakes couldn't be higher, which is why, almost two years ago, I started the organization Need to Impeach to bring to justice the most corrupt president in American history. To date, more than 8.3 million Americans from across the country have added their support, and more than half of Democrats in the House of Representatives now support an impeachment inquiry.

In the end, as Americans, if we are worried by the brokenness of our government, and if we are serious about doing something about it, we must examine the root cause of all congressional stalling: Corporations have bought our democracy.

That's why I’m running for president: to break the corporate stranglehold on our democracy, and restore a government of, by and for the people.

Our leaders in Washington, from both parties, have to stop worrying about appeasing corporate interests and should instead concentrate solely on doing what’s best for the country. By working across the aisle to start formal impeachment hearings, both parties could engage in the real work of doing right by the American people and finally restore some faith in our democracy — seizing an opportunity to unify a deeply divided republic.

It's time for political games to end. Congress, do the right thing: Impeach Donald Trump.