J.W. Verret is a law professor at George Mason University and a lifelong Republican who’s active in GOP politics. So active, he’s worked for every Republican presidential transition team for the past decade (including Mitt Romney’s aborted pre-transition team). Being a good Republican soldier, he even worked for a few months on the Trump transition before deciding it wasn’t a good fit (probably for the best, since the transition is now under investigation).
That’s why Verret made news this week when, after reading through the redacted Mueller report twice for good measure, he called for Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings. Verret tweeted his call for impeachment and then expanded on his reasoning with a piece in The Atlantic.
Finished a second read through the Mueller Report. I don’t say this lightly, as a life long Republican, former R Hill staffer, and someone who has worked on every R campaign and pre-transition team for the last ten years. There is enough here to begin impeachment proceedings.
— J.W. Verret (@JWVerret) April 20, 2019
“Depending on how you count, roughly a dozen separate instances of obstruction of justice are contained in the Mueller report. The president dangled pardons in front of witnesses to encourage them to lie to the special counsel, and directly ordered people to lie to throw the special counsel off the scent.”
Impeachment, Verret noted, is not simply a question of removing the president from office, rather it’s a process for evaluating evidence.
“In impeachment proceedings, the House serves as a sort of grand jury and the Senate conducts the trial. There is enough in the Mueller report to commence the Constitution’s version of a grand-jury investigation in the form of impeachment proceedings.” he wrote.
I mean, this guy worked on the Trump transition team and he's a step ahead of some Dems: https://t.co/EqClkpvsLf
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) April 23, 2019
Democratic leadership has been throwing cold water on the push to initiate impeachment proceedings, urging members to explore other avenues of accountability. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called impeachment “not worthwhile” while Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed House Democrats to focus on other investigations of presidential wrongdoing in a letter and conference call with the caucus.
“Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point. Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgement,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told @DanaBashCNN .
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 18, 2019
Still, the calls for impeachment are gaining steam in the progressive wing of the party. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar have joined Rep. Rashida Tlaib in calling for impeachment proceedings. Democratic presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have both signed on to impeachment as well.
I actually read the whole Mueller report. It’s clear Donald Trump obstructed an investigation into an attack on America and into his own behavior. Presidents are not above the law, and Congress has a constitutional duty to start impeachment proceedings. #WarrenTownHall pic.twitter.com/UqAQQz0Ue1
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 23, 2019