"You can’t impeach someone who hasn’t done anything wrong,” tweeted Donald Trump last week, summing up in one sentence his approach to impeachment — in fact, to any alleged wrongdoing or breach of the legal and constitutional responsibilities of presidential office.
Congressional Republicans seem set to adopt a similar response to the impeachment proceedings. Reports suggest they will acknowledge that Trump used US military aid to force Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his family, but will insist that it wasn’t illegal and certainly didn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offence.
Trump’s day-to-day response to impeachment follows a familiar script. He accuses his opponents of whatever he is accused of — treason or illegal behaviour, for example — and then throws dirt and obscenities at them. In recent weeks he has repeatedly attacked the whistleblower who made the original complaint (and demanded to know his identity, in contravention of a number of legal protections), slammed anyone who has testified to congressional committees, and lambasted the few Republicans (or “human scum”) who have objected to his conduct.
His most savage remarks have been reserved for House leader Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff. He has accused Schiff of lies, “massive fraud” and treason, and suggested that Pelosi is guilty of “High Crimes and Misdemeanors, and even Treason.” Both of them, he insists, should be impeached. He doesn’t care and may not even know that such a course of action would have no legal basis.
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