OPINION: Despite Cohen testimony, impeachment talk is somewhat premature

headshot_Alex Cala

Alex Cala

If you could quantify the rage and backlash directed at President Trump since January 20, 2017, it would be enough to initiate impeachment proceedings a thousand times over.

Unfortunately, outrage does not mean much without widespread support; the fact remains that despite efforts by several Democratic congressmen, there hasn’t been a single bipartisan attempt at impeachment during the president’s term.

However, if Michael Cohen has his way, this could change soon.

Cohen, the president’s former lawyer, testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday, detailing an explosive plethora of allegations against his former client that give an ample amount of impeachment ammo to anyone willing to pull the trigger.

These allegations and exhibits covered criminal acts (such as evidence that shows Trump reimbursed Cohen for hush money payments to Stormy Daniels) to racist remarks, all of which paint the picture of a man who is woefully unfit to serve in his current position.

In spite of these allegations, Democrats seemed to back away from impeachment talk after the hearing, while Republicans framed the proceedings as a partisan attack on the president.

While the Republican response was widely expected, I was initially struck by this sudden hesitance to push impeachment by the Democrats; after all, they’ve been talking impeachment since 2017. Why not continue in the aftermath of the Cohen testimony?

However, the more I thought of the reasons for this hesitance, the more I realized this is actually a politically astute move.

For instance, the Democratic Party finally has a number of newly-elected, progressive members in the House of Representatives, most notably Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

This fresh blood represents the future of the party and have already made their impact known by endorsing several bold initiatives, such as the Green New Deal.

If the Democrats were to continue pushing impeachment, it could take the media attention away from the work done by these young progressives, while also shifting the focus to the more traditional anti-Trump talk that’s dominated the party over the past two years.

By continuing to push impeachment, several moderate Republican senators could also feel that their adversaries are trivializing the concept of impeachment by their insistence on it, making it difficult to support in the Senate to remove the president from office.

These three developments would be disastrous for a Democratic Party that’s still viewed by many as a makeshift partnership held together by their hatred for Trump and lacking in bold new policy, a perception which could actually help Trump if he’s able to run for reelection.

Most importantly, anyone pushing for impeachment should realize that the Mueller Report, which may contain prompt criminal charges for President Trump and other associates, hasn’t been released yet.

I believe the Democrats will only get one genuine chance at impeaching Trump during this term, meaning it makes sense to table the issue until the most reputable allegations are available.

Not only will this allow for the best chance of a successful impeachment and removal from office, but if the report recommends charges against Trump, it will also also send a message to future generations that this has no place in the Oval Office.

Otherwise, the party risks allowing the president to run in the 2020 election, a development which may prove disastrous given his penchant for upsets.

Overall, as riveting and must-see the Cohen testimony was, using it push for impeachment is a little premature.

If impeachment is indeed an option, it needs to be done correctly and with patience, less it devolve into a manner for the opposition to harass those in power.

Alex Cala is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected]