Opinion | How to Impeach Trump, Do Justice and Win an Election – by Thomas Friedman – The New York Times

“There is still a civic pulse in this country. Some Americans still support President Trump, but far, far more are exhausted and disgusted by him. And that is why his latest outrage is so dangerous to him. He knows that we know that many Republicans know that he committed an impeachable offense. And it’s all out there now: a whistle-blower complaint filed by a C.I.A. officer detailing how Trump dangled military assistance in front of the president of Ukraine if he would do Trump a “favor” and investigate bogus corruption charges against Joe Biden.

I believe that this not only could warrant Trump’s impeachment but that it could be done without plunging the country into “civil war” or guaranteeing Trump’s re-election — provided Democrats keep stressing four things.

First, this charge against Trump began with an independent whistle-blower — an intelligence officer, aided by other insiders. Sure, it could turn out that he was a Hillary Clinton fan, which Trump would use to rile up his base, claiming that Democrats were trying to steal his election mandate. But if this turns out to be what it appears — a nonpolitical C.I.A. analyst and other civil servants motivated by their oath to uphold the Constitution in the face of a president who was violating his oath — then Trump and the Republicans will have a problem.

Democrats in Congress need to make sure they say and do nothing that gets in the middle of this framing of the story, which, for now, appears to be accurate: nonpolitical civil servants inside the government acting on conscience against a law-breaking president acting on political greed and excess.

That so many G.O.P. senators have kept quiet up to now — save for uber-sycophants like Lindsey Graham — suggests that they fear that this framing is accurate and it stinks to them.”

“. . . .Democrats should pursue impeachment in the House as if there were no election in 2020. And they should pursue the 2020 election as if there were no impeachment.

And they should do it by letting the nonpolitical whistle-blower and the other civil servants take the lead. These humble patriots started this, and it will go only as far as their credibility sustains it. And it’s their credibility that will influence the swing voters that brought Democrats the House in 2018 — those independents, moderate Republicans and suburban women — a few of whom, I suspect, were at the Kennedy Center last Saturday night, giving a standing ovation to Justice Ginsburg.”

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