Impeachment for Donald Trump?

Pressure on US President Donald Trump is mounting in the scandal over alleged ties between Russia and Trump's campaign team. The Department of Justice has placed the investigations into the affair in the hands of former FBI chief Robert Mueller, who is considered to be non-partisan. This shows that the institutions' checks and balances are still functioning, some commentators conclude. For others, the last thing the US needs is Trump's impeachment.

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The Guardian (GB) /

US democracy still alive

The investigation being launched against Trump's will by his own government is proof that the checks and balances are still intact in the US, writes the Guardian:

“That the appointment was made in the face of White House insistence that it was entirely unnecessary, and in the midst of yet another 'worst week so far' for the president, reflects well on Mr Rosenstein and the justice department. The decision is a sign that constitutional principles and ethical norms survive within the federal government in spite of Mr Trump’s utter disregard for them in so many ways. … American government has not necessarily embarked on a journey that will lead to presidential impeachment or resignation. But such possibilities are now serious options.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Don't make a martyr of Trump

Little would be gained if Trump were impeached solely because of his ties to Russia, taz argues :

“Because first of all, for those who elected him full of conviction the current events are just part of the establishment's predictable desperate fight against outsiders. Trump is casting himself as the victim of a witch hunt - and this is precisely how his supporters see it. As far as they're concerned the allegations of Russian interference in the US elections are no more than the whining of the defeated Democrats around Hillary Clinton. And secondly, for the most part they're right. At least to the extent that Clinton didn't lose the November election because of Russian interference. ... It would be better for Donald Trump's political ideas - insofar as you can call them that - to permanently and publicly discredit themselves. Trump as a martyr would be only slightly less dangerous than Trump as president.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Good news for Moscow

Putin is laughing up his sleeve over the row about impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, writes the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:

“Moscow has more than achieved its goal of destabilising American democracy with its interventions. Washington is too preoccupied with its internal turmoil to push for sanctions against the Russian cyber attacks or pose any kind of threat to Russia. The strife in Washington is also ideal for propaganda purposes. ... For Russia the news that a special counsel will be appointed to investigate the matter is good: it will guarantee that Russia's intervention in the US election campaign continues to cause trouble in America for a long time to come. And Moscow - unlike President Trump - has nothing to fear from the results of the investigation: everyone already knows that Russia interfered in the election campaign.”

Iswestija (RU) /

Image of Russia as the enemy still effective

Edward Lozansky, President of the American University in Moscow, compares the affair with a witch hunt in Izvestia:

“Lavrov's visit to the White House and the dismissal of FBI director James Comey have given new impetus to the witch hunters in the US Congress and media in their search for Trump's Russian ties. There are many different groups in America for whom Russia is useful as an enemy rather than as a friend. For that reason the conciliatory signals sent by Moscow even before the collapse of the USSR and later - above all after the 9/11 attacks - have been ignored. Donald Trump understands intuitively that a successful joint fight against terrorism is a compulsory requirement for bilateral relations, so that life on this planet is not exposed to the constant risk of global disaster. But we must not ignore the power of Trump's irreconcilable enemies.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Republicans burying their heads in the sand

The fact that hardly anyone in the Republican Party seems to have the courage to stand up to Trump is a disgrace, the Financial Times rails:

“No elected Republican dares cross him. Any who think of standing up to him know they would risk an electronic lynching that could finish their career. ... For decades Republicans have stood for national security and the moral fibre of American leadership. Mr Trump is tearing up those principles before their eyes. It does not matter what liberals think. Ditto for independents, the media and the US diplomatic service. The only people with the power to hold Mr Trump to account are Republicans. They are turning a blind eye. Just a handful of the 290 Republicans in Congress have called for a special prosecutor to investigate Mr Trump.”

Slate (FR) /

Democrats should promise impeachment

Writing in Slate, Georgetown University law professor Phillip Carter also calls on US congressmen to finally take action against Trump's violations of the constitution:

“The time has come for Congress to act and for leaders on both sides of the aisle to put their country before party and politics. Ideally speaker Paul Ryan and majority leader Mitch McConnell would - in cooperation with high-ranking Democrats - initiate the sequence of events that would likely lead to impeachment and removal proceedings for Trump. Given that this is unlikely, Democrats should make clear their intention to launch such proceedings if they regain control of the House of Representatives in 2018. This process should be as full, fair, and transparent as our Constitution requires. Anything less would demean and harm the country even more than Trump has already done.”

Avvenire (IT) /

Attack could backfire

Avvenire takes a different view of the situation and sees a fierce power struggle behind the FBI controversy and the alleged revelation of confidential information:

“Anyone who claims to love democracy should be worried rather than gloating over each new attack against Trump. … Members of the justice system, the intelligence services and the government are rebelling against the orders of a president elected by the American people. If the heads of the intelligence agencies and the law-enforcement agencies in Italy or France were to say on television or in the press that the president was only elected because he was backed by a hostile power, we would start talking about a coup climate. So how can people believe that this is a sign of political and institutional strength in the US? … Are we sure it's worth all the trouble? That the price we pay for Trump's impeachment won't ultimately be too high? That in the end the many well-intentioned Democrats won't be giving China, Russia and Iran exactly what they want?”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Ultimate goal must be de-Trumpification

It may be too early for impeachment, Der Tagesspiegel fears:

“This political clown has been in office for less than four months. If he had to go now his regency would be just a brief episode, a nightmare, something quickly suppressed. The checks and balances would have worked, the various sections of civil society would have passed their endurance test. General satisfaction would quickly turn into complacency. The fact that Trump was democratically elected would be forgotten. The shock over the extreme lack of immunity to seduction by populist slogans of many Americans would subside. No one would worry about the need to 'de-Trumpify' certain sections of society.”