Read: How Tom Steyer built the biggest political machine you’ve never heard of
“If you’re against impeachment, don’t bother running. Save your time. Drive an Uber,” Steyer said while driving to New Hampshire last week for his latest town hall.
Interest appears to be spiking: With 5,000 to 6,000 people signing up each day during the midterms, Steyer aides say that Need to Impeach is averaging 25,000 new names daily.
Though most presidential candidates, and Democratic leaders overall, have been ducking any talk of impeachment, Steyer figures they won’t be able to spend the next year at events with die-hard Democrats without getting pressed to take a position.
He wants to do everything he can to speed that along.
Good luck with that, the campaigns say. An adviser to one candidate said Steyer had turned his credibility into “burnt toast,” chasing a presidential run that, like previous flirtations with running for governor and Senate in California, ended abruptly, just before he seemed ready to announce.
Read: Why Democrats aren’t talking impeachment
“Serious people who want to hold this president accountable for his crimes know it has to come after [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller’s findings become public,” the candidate’s adviser said.
It’s worse than that, said an adviser to another candidate: “He should save his money on this, because it’s misguided and will fail. The American people deserve the facts, and that can only happen after Mueller finishes his report. Anything before that will backfire.”
Between the shutdown and its potential to spark a broad economic downturn, every week of new revelations about Trump’s investments, and all his erratic moves, Steyer said everything comes back to the same core question: “If you’re not willing to deal with the crisis in America, which is Donald Trump, then really, why should you be president?”
Read: Impeach Donald Trump
The impeachment summit will end with supporters heading to Capitol Hill to deliver a prewritten impeachment resolution, modeled on the one that was written for Richard Nixon, “authorizing and directing the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of Donald John Trump, President of the United States.” The full House would have to pass this to start the process.
The Need to Impeach supporters will also bring a set of draft articles of impeachment, with 10 charges, according to a draft document shared with The Atlantic:
Accepting unconstitutional foreign and domestic government emoluments; conspiring to solicit and then conceal illegal foreign assistance for his presidential campaign; making and concealing unlawful secret payments to procure his office; Obstructing the administration of justice; directing law enforcement to investigate and prosecute critics and political adversaries for improper purposes; abusing the pardon power; advocating illegal violence and undermining equal protection of the laws; reckless endangerment by threatening nuclear war; undermining the freedom of the press; cruel and unconstitutional imprisonment of children and their families, misuse of the military for political purposes, and other unlawful conduct and abuses of power at the southern border.
These are meant to be a model and to spur the House into creating its own, though “if the House legislative counsel wants to make some minor tweaks, we’d be okay with that,” joked Ron Fein, the legal director of Free Speech for People, a nonpartisan group focused on constitutional issues, which prepared the documents.