By Quin Hillyer, May 28.

Democrats talking about impeaching President Trump are so absurdly premature as to convict themselves of extreme political hackery.

Their excuses for impeachment change with the news cycle, but right now, the only ground remotely reasonable for impeachment is the evidence reported by inspector general Robert Mueller that Trump tried on 10 occasions to impede the Russia-related investigation. The contrary arguments, though, are strong. The first two are that Trump apparently committed no underlying crime to cover up and that he provided remarkably free access to requested documents and to members of his team without asserting executive privilege. It’s hard to charge obstruction when he destroyed no documents and suborned no perjury.

The third counterargument is that in those instances where the obstruction would have been an issue, his aides talked him out of it or did not follow through on his alleged directives. If someone talks about stealing something from a car with an open window but doesn’t actually do it, he hasn’t committed a crime. Likewise, the mere consideration of obstruction of justice is not itself obstruction.

The next reason discussed for impeachment is Trump’s defiance of post-Mueller-report subpoenas. Again, the charge would be obstruction. But this charge is nowhere near ripe. Most of these subpoenas are less than two months old, and all are at least somewhat challengeable, constitutionally. Trump’s resistance to subpoenas for the former White House legal counsel is on quite solid legal ground (as the Wall Street Journal recently explained); his resistance to fishing expeditions through private business affairs is quite understandable (more on that, momentarily); and his other pushback is a typical part of the constitutional give-and-take of interbranch squabbling in a system of separated but overlapping powers.

Less than two months of such wrangling, over matters of not-immediately-pressing public importance, is utterly unremarkable. It’s not a constitutional crisis.

The final possible ground for impeachment involves suspicions that Trump committed crimes in his private business affairs, in his filings with the IRS, or in hush payments made to his (ahem, alleged) mistresses…..

[The full column is here.]


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