'IMPEACH': The Atlantic's March cover makes the case for Trump's impeachment

The March cover of The Atlantic magazineThe March cover of The Atlantic magazine.The Atlantic

  • The Atlantic magazine's March issue cover simply reads, "IMPEACH: It's time for Congress to judge the president's fitness to serve." 
  • Writer Yoni Appelbaum argues that Congress is constitutionally obligated to examine President Donald Trump's alleged wrongdoing through impeachment proceedings. 
  • Even after winning 40 seats in the House and taking back the majority in that chamber, Democrats have largely remained unwilling to broach the subject of impeachment. 

The Atlantic magazine's March issue will make the case for President Donald Trump's impeachment. 

The cover of the venerable left-leaning periodical features the word, "IMPEACH," in capitalized, bold red font. 

Writer and editor Yoni Appelbaum argues that his opinion is not a partisan one. He cites former Sen. John McCain and former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's claims that Trump has not made good on his promise to "faithfully execute the office of president."

"The president has not risen to the mantle of the office," Romney, Utah's newly-elected senator, wrote in the Washington Post this month.  

Appelbaum argues that Trump is endangering democracy - the basis for impeachment - by refusing to disclose or divest his financial interests. Appelbaum also cited Trump's demands of loyalty from public servants, including his attorney general and the FBI director, as well as his attacks on the rule of law and civil liberties, including religious freedom and the freedom of the press. 

"These actions are, in sum, an attack on the very foundations of America's constitutional democracy," he wrote

Appelbaum argues that impeachment is not an outcome, but a process, one that would allow a transparent examination of Trump's alleged wrongdoing. He asserts it is Congress' constitutional duty to closely investigate the president's wrongdoing and that Trump's fate shouldn't simply be left up to public opinion. 

"Only by authorizing a dedicated impeachment inquiry can the House begin to assemble disparate allegations into a coherent picture, forcing lawmakers to consider both whether specific charges are true and whether the president's abuses of his power justify his removal," Appelbaum wrote. 

But Democratic lawmakers - even after winning a commanding House majority in November - are reluctant to push for impeachment. They fear the move will backfire politically. (Bill Clinton's popularity was boosted by the GOP's impeachment of him in the late 90s.)

Appelbaum argues these political considerations are secondary. And he says Clinton's example is "overlearned" by pundits and politicians because the Democrat didn't undermine democracy when he lied about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. 

"The question of whether impeachment is justified should not be confused with the question of whether it is likely to succeed in removing a president from office," he wrote. 

Ultimately, Appelbaum makes the case that impeachment proceedings would be beneficial for a number of reasons.

One, it would move public attention to Trump's potential wrongdoing, re-directing the media narrative. Second, impeachment would distract Trump from the work of governing, making him less effective. Third, it would parse baseless from fact-based allegations against him. Fourth, it would move the debate to a rules-based process. Finally, impeachment would hurt Trump's re-election prospects. 

 

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