I have long been arguing that impeachment is not going to happen:
But the question of should or should not is something different. I am not speaking here of whether Trump has committed high crimes and misdemeanors (whatever the jargon is), but whether it would be a good or bad thing to impeach Trump or just wait to vote him out. The question is not Trump versus Pence (as Pence would be awful, too), but whether it would be better to have the American voters decide or be denied that opportunity by Congress. To preview, impeachment > 2020.
I have been hearing the argument that the American people should decide. That it would be best for the future of American politics that this choice is not taken out of the hands of voters. By rendering a verdict against Trump, the US polity can move on. This, of course, assumes that Trump loses, that the Russians don't break our electoral process, etc. Putting those concerns aside, I see the merits of this argument. Impeachment could create or foster a "stabbed in the back" narrative among those who voted for Trump in 2016--that the deep state got him. That it might erode faith in American institutions because the "establishment" had it out for Trump.
I get that. However, putting aside the benefits of not having Trump for President for the last two years of his term, the key is this: the singular message of the Trump Era might be, unless there are consequences, is that Trump and his crew are above the law. They certainly have behaved that way--Pruitt's planes, Carson's table, nepotism, security clearances for those who can't fill out the forms, all of the emoulements stuff, and on and on. Impeachment exists for a reason--to have consequences for a President when they do things that are illegal, immoral, and/or destructive to the interests of the U.S. (again, I am not a lawyer). It is a political decision, of course, but, at the heart of it, it is the one way to make sure that the President is not above the law. We expected norms to do that work, but they have failed. Apparently, they mostly operate due to a sense of shame that the various players have, and, well, Trump and his team are utterly devoid of shame.
Which is worse for American institutions going forward? That the people don't get a chance to throw the bums out OR that administrations are beyond the law? I vote for the latter, once again dwelling in the tyranny of low expectations and standards.
UPDATE: this came out today: