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Today in Politics

(Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

Impeachment Season

From virtually the moment that Democrats won control of the House in the 2018 midterms, one question has lingered over the newly empowered lawmakers: Would they move to impeach President Donald Trump?

Some were on board from the get-go—“we’re gonna impeach the motherf*cker!” said one new Michigan Representative just hours after being sworn in—while others wouldn’t get within 100 miles of the “I word.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrangled the fractious caucus for nearly a year, staying steady in her resistance.

Now she’s done resisting: Pelosi announced today a formal impeachment inquiry for the president, while President Trump wraps up a day at the United Nations General Assembly.

Pelosi teased the move earlier in the day in a conversation with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, telling a packed Washington crowd that “now we have the facts. We’re ready … for later today.” 👀Read more about the interview here.

The Long Slog

Moves by congressional Democrats in recent months have been something of a Schrödinger’s impeachment: Is it impeachment? Is it not impeachment?

The House Judiciary Committee, led by Representative Jerry Nadler of New York, has already been calling hearings and shooting off lawsuits in what has seemed very much like an impeachment inquiry.

But as Quinta Jurecic argues, all this unclear language may have dulled “the moral clarity in defense of the rule of law that impeachment proceedings might otherwise have offered.”

Après Call, le Déluge

The Ukraine call scandal gives Democrats a new jawdropping incident to latch on to. But as my colleague David A. Graham writes: “The rhetorical stakes of that comment are high; the material stakes are not so clear.”

Even as the count of lawmakers calling for impeachment before today had steadily crept upward towards 200, they’ve disagreed on the exact wrongdoing to examine.

When Elaine Godfrey and Russell Berman surveyed more than a dozen pro-impeachment lawmakers earlier this month on what they considered Trump’s most impeachable offense, the answers they got were all over the place.

“Self-enrichment,” said one. “Bromance with Vladimir Putin,” said another.  

Now that Democrats are moving full-steam ahead on impeachment, how exactly does the process work?

Read Yoni Appelbaum’s authoritative history of the process and why it exists in the first place, here.

—Saahil Desai


Snapshot

(Jason DeCrow / AP)

Supporters of a regime change in Iran rally outside the United Nations headquarters in New York on the first day of the general debate at the U.N. General Assembly.


Featured Read

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid (INTS KALNINS / REUTERS)

Our national-security team sat down with the president of Estonia—a tiny NATO nation neighboring Russia—at the United Nations General Assembly.

Kersti Kaljulaid stunned many by expressing support of the NATO-skeptical U.S. president:

“Frankly speaking, I’m on the same page” as Trump regarding the 2-percent requirement, Kaljulaid—an earnest, 49-year-old socially liberal policy wonk who in style is Trump’s polar opposite—told us.

“Actually I’m quite sorry: Thinking back historically, when everybody else said it nicely, we didn’t react,” she continued. “I mean, Barack Obama said so as well, and then we said, ‘It’s all fine and dandy but we don’t see it’s a necessity.’ It’s an irony that with this more transactional policy-making style [of Trump’s], we are now in Europe discussing 2 percent” and promising to devote $100 billion more to security by the end of 2020, which “is not peanuts.”

→ Read the rest


Our Reporters Are Also Reading

The Libertarians on the Anti-Krugman Cruise Just Want to Be Left Alone (Lizzie O’Leary, Bloomberg Businessweek) (Paywall)

The Biden Campaign May Have a Youth Vote Problem. Here’s How They’re Trying to Fix It. (Brittany Shepherd, Yahoo News) (Paywall)

The Growing Threat to Journalism Around the World (A.G. Sulzberger, The New York Times) (Paywall)


About us: The Atlantic’s politics newsletter is a daily effort from our politics desk. It’s written by our associate politics editor, Saahil Desai, and our politics fellow, Christian Paz. It was edited by Shan Wang.

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