In an op-ed in the Boston Globe (online and print), Ben Clements and Ron Fein argue the case for starting impeachment hearings. They rebut a common argument against impeachment by explaining how impeachment actually works:
It’s time to begin impeachment hearings against President Trump. The political-media establishment continues to insist that Congress shouldn’t rush to impeach, but that’s a straw man. Nobody seriously argues that the House should vote now whether to impeach. Instead, it should begin as every impeachment proceeding has begun: with impeachment hearings.
Impeachment is a three-part process. The second and third steps — a vote to impeach in the House of Representatives, and then a trial in the Senate — are specified in the Constitution. But congressional impeachments always begin with a critical first step: The House Judiciary Committee investigates whether to recommend articles of impeachment to the full House. The committee subpoenas documents and testimony, prepares legal analyses, and holds hearings. Through this investigation, the committee determines what the president has done, and whether it constitutes grounds for impeachment.
We can learn from the Nixon impeachment process. The Judiciary Committee didn’t sit around waiting for the Watergate special prosecutor. Instead, it started its impeachment inquiry on Oct. 30, 1973 , before the new special prosecutor was even appointed. In fact, the committee didn’t receive a report from the special prosecutor until March 1974. If Congress had waited for that report before even starting, Nixon might have remained in office for another year.
Click here for the full op-ed.