About a month ago, Donald Trump tried to address the Mueller report by falsely claiming it “didn’t lay a glove on me.” The president quickly added, however, “If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
That didn’t make any sense, though the Republican doesn’t seem to realize that. Consider this exchange between the president and a reporter this morning during a brief Q&A on the White House South Lawn:
Q: Do you think they’re going to impeach you? Do you think they’re …
TRUMP: I don’t see how. They can, because they’re possibly allowed, although I can’t imagine the courts allowing it. I’ve never gotten into it. I never thought that would even be possible to be using that word. To me, it’s a dirty word, the word ‘impeach.’ It’s a dirty, filthy, disgusting word and it had nothing to do with me.
The president’s etymological feelings notwithstanding, if he thinks “the courts” can block a congressional impeachment process, Trump is likely to be disappointed.
Right off the bat, it’s worth noting that the president, among his many scandals, has been credibly accused of criminal obstruction of justice. Why he thinks federal judges might deem this insufficient grounds for presidential impeachment is unclear.
But even putting that aside, Trump’s assertions are a civics failure, too. As we discussed in April, Congress is responsible for initiating, overseeing, and executing the impeachment process. Lawmakers, and no one else, determine whether a president has committed impeachable acts.
It’s not up to the judiciary to allow or forbid the legislative branch from exercising its legal authority.
When Trump is in a jam, he looks for a fixer. Indeed, he’s spent much of his presidency assuming that everyone from his attorney general to his congressional allies to his White House counsel can simply make his problems go away for him. Now, evidently, he’s making similar assumptions about the courts.
I’m curious as to why. Is the amateur president simply confused again? Is there someone at the White House giving him strange advice? Did Trump hear something along these lines from conservative media?
Whatever the explanation, if Trump plans to sue to make sure impeachment doesn’t happen, he should probably start working on a Plan B.