The National Review — a pillar of conservative intellectual commentary since its inception in 1955 — published an entire issue dedicated to denouncing then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. Although the outcry hasn’t been like that since the election, one of the magazine’s senior editors did make the case this week that Trump should be removed from office.
In Four Tests for Impeachment, Ramesh Ponnuru describes the bar impeachment advocates need to meet if they are to persuasively make the case for a president’s removal:
First, [impeachment advocates] should have to show that the facts they allege are true. Second, they should show that the fact pattern amounts to an abuse of power or dereliction of duty by the president. Third, they should show that this abuse or dereliction is impeachable. And fourth, they should show that it is prudent for Congress to remove the president for this impeachable offense: that it would produce more good than evil.
For each test, Ponnuru concludes that Trump has clearly exceeded the threshold and that his removal from office is warranted.
Regarding abuse of power, the conservative commentator contends that the argument President Trump was really concerned about corruption — and that his interest in Joe Biden was merely coincidental, as Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) recently argued — “requires a willful suspension of disbelief” in light of the publicly available evidence and testimony from current and former White House officials.
Rebutting one of the GOP’s most common Trump defenses, Ponnuru points out that there is no evidence that Biden or his son engaged in any wrongdoing.
“The theory that Joe Biden acted corruptly holds that he leaned on the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor who was looking into a company that had his son on the board. That prosecutor’s former deputy has said that there was no active investigation, and the Obama administration was on record urging the prosecutor to assist a British legal action against the company’s owner,” he wrote, adding that, “The theory about Ukrainian hacking has even less going for it.”
Ponnuru attempted to give Trump’s actions the benefit of the doubt, but still failed to see how the president should remain in office.
“It might be possible to regard Trump’s Ukraine misadventure as a lapse of judgment, with little harm done, if he showed any repentance or even understanding of what he has done wrong. Instead it looks more like a window into tendencies of his that are incompatible with performing the functions of his office,” he wrote. “The Constitution provides for impeachment and removal to protect us from officials, including presidents, who are unable or unwilling to distinguish between the common good that government is supposed to serve and their own narrow interests. Though he has done some good things in office, Trump is just such a president. Congress should act accordingly.”
[image via Win McNamee/Getty Images]