Trump’s Self-Impeachment

From LawFare:

Everyone who claimed the Mueller report vindicated the president because Mueller did not prove “collusion” with Russia needs to reckon seriously with what Trump asked of Zelensky. In L’Affaire Russe, the Russian state—at the direction of the Russian president himself—intervened in the American presidential election by a number of different means. The defense of Trump’s conduct, and that of his campaign, was that they were not involved in the Russian intervention. Even to the extent that people associated with the Trump campaign had contact with the Russians, it is not clear that Trump himself knew about the contacts. Here, by contrast, the request to a foreign government to involve itself in American electoral politics is as direct as can be. The president in this document is asking his counterpart to deliver the goods on a possible electoral opponent. And he is doing it himself. There is no plausible deniability. If this is not collusion in precisely the sense that collusion’s absence was purportedly so exculpatory in the Russia context, it’s hard to imagine what collusion would look like. And unlike the conduct described in Volume I of the Mueller report, the president is no longer a private citizen. Now, he is actually corruptly wielding the powers of his office in order to achieve this abusive end. This represents a dramatic escalation in severity.

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