Washington Free Beacon editor in chief Matthew Continetti predicted House Democrats will pursue the impeachment of President Donald Trump for general abuse of power rather than for a specific crime.
On Meet the Press Daily Wednesday, MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd asked about previous cases of impeachment against U.S. presidents, and Continetti said Democrats will take a different path in their allegation against Trump.
"In those cases, the president was impeached on the basis of committing some crime," Continetti said. "What’s interesting about this episode is even though there is this prospective campaign finance violation, I actually think the Democrats are going to settle for a more general ‘abuse of power,' which is not tied specifically to a crime but just that this was an improper use of the president’s authority, and he can be impeached on that basis alone."
Democrats discussed opening an impeachment process in the past, but Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) halted those efforts. Since 2017, some lawmakers and activists have called for impeachment inquiries for a variety of issues, including allegations that Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. When Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation did not find evidence of collusion, activists shifted their focus to obstruction of justice allegations related to the investigation itself.
Pelosi confirmed on Tuesday the House will pursue an official impeachment inquiry of the president centered on a whistleblower complaint about Trump's conversation with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in July. On Wednesday, Trump released the White House's official summary of the phone call in order to argue he did nothing wrong.
Pelosi said Trump "seriously violated the Constitution" when she announced the House's impeachment inquiry.
"The times have found us. The actions taken to date by the President have seriously violated the Constitution," Pelosi tweeted. "It is for this reason that the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry."
The times have found us. The actions taken to date by the President have seriously violated the Constitution. It is for this reason that the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. pic.twitter.com/cHq7zgKJ1g
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) September 24, 2019