The announcement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that she was opposed to impeaching the president unless something unexpected and mortally damaging to him arises, has almost unimaginably transformed her into a force for good sense in Congress. Maybe she thinks Special Counsel Robert Mueller will produce something the impeachers can run with and she is staking out a false position as a balanced and statesmanlike opponent of anything but impeachment for real crimes, to assist her in trying to get some Republican support to remove the president. More likely, she knows it’s a hopeless case and is taking the high ground early, before Mueller throws in the towel for her.
After prolonged and malicious scrutiny such as no president except Richard Nixon has ever faced (and in Nixon’s case somebody did illegally enter the DNC office at the Watergate and somebody tried to obstruct justice), there is nothing to hang on President Trump, so the speaker has joined the James Comey school of sophistry.
Comey said that to impeach and remove Trump was “letting the country off the hook,” by which he meant that since there were no grounds to impeach or remove him, and the country voted him in, the country had to vote him out. That philosophical overview did not, of course, deter Comey from writing a probably false memo to himself, which instantly became government property, which he then illegally leaked to the New York Times—all, as he has proudly asserted, to bring the Mueller investigation into existence and down on the president’s back even though he knew there was no reason to believe that Trump was guilty of anything. Comey is doing an unusually acrobatic star-turn, as Hillary Clinton blames her electoral defeat on Trump’s “treason” as well as on being “shivved three times by Jim Comey.” Never mind that two of the shiv attacks were exonerations and one of those was probably Comey’s illegal acquiescence in Clinton’s criminal behavior.