The “quid pro quo” case might be open and shut (as Neal Katyal and Sam Koppelman write in Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump, the president’s offer to Ukraine was “blatant”) but that’s not to say impeachment will succeed.
This is about as blatant a quid pro quo offer as you will find. That’s why House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, one of Trump’s staunchest defenders, denied that Trump had ever said this during an interview with 60 Minutes. “You just added another word,” McCarthy said, upon hearing the quote from CBS’s Scott Pelley. “No, it’s in the transcript,” Pelley responded. “He said—’I’d like you to do a favor though?” McCarthy asked, incredulous. “Yes,” Pelley responded once more, “it’s in the White House transcript.”
Whether President Trump abused the power of his office could have little bearing on whether he’s removed, Ross Douthat writes in a New York Times column: Specific transgressions, and Republican defenses, matter “less to Trump’s fate than the answers to two basic questions: Is the economy O.K.? Is the world falling apart?”
Jacob T Levy on Tweet : “I think it is probably underappreciated that the year and a half of Watergate trials and investigations that eventually saw Nixon’s public approval collapse coincided with an oil crisis, a stock market crash, stagflation, and recession.”
Examining why Richard Nixon was ousted and Bill Clinton wasn’t, Douthat concludes that “Nixon didn’t survive because his second term featured a series of economic shocks—summarized on Twitter by the political theorist Jacob Levy as ‘an oil crisis, a stock market crash, stagflation and recession’—while Clinton’s second term was the most recent peak of American power, pride and optimism.” Trump is similarly “presiding over a period of general stability,” and that will likely keep him in office, Douthat writes—regardless of any case Democrats build.