Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Debate About the Best Way to Get Donald Trump Out of Office

Amy Sorkin in The New Yorker:

As Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi roamed Normandy on Thursday (she had brought along a contingent of dozens of members of Congress for the official commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of D Day, including veterans from both sides of the aisle), her party was debating what it meant to want someone behind bars. Was it too tough, or not tough enough? Politico had reported that, in a meeting of “top Democrats,” on Tuesday night, Representative Jerrold Nadler, of New York, had argued in favor of having the Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, begin proceedings for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Politico cited “multiple Democratic sources familiar with the meeting” who said that Pelosi demurred, telling Nadler, “I don’t want to see him impeached. I want to see him in prison.”

How did “lock him up” become a motto for forbearance and patience? The logic here is that it is constitutionally complicated to indict a sitting President. Indeed, Robert Mueller, the special counsel whose investigation of Russian meddling in the election and related matters is now closed, believed that Justice Department guidance precluded him from making such a move. (If he had done so, the crime would almost certainly have concerned obstruction of justice, rather than collusion.) The calculation would be different, obviously, if Trump were not President. And, as it happens, there is an election next year, which could lead, fairly quickly, to his exit from the White House. In other words, the way to hold him to account criminally is to first hold him to account electorally.

But, others in the Democratic Party say, impeachment is also a way to remove a President from office. That is, indeed, the means to do so that the Constitution gives to Congress. The Democrats view Pelosi as overly cautious. Trump, being a bully, has begun insulting Pelosi in terms that he apparently thinks will get those close to her to turn against her.

More here.