At the Campaign for American Progress’s Ideas 2017 conference in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, one idea was clearly most popular, and it came from Representative Maxine Waters. “We don’t have to be afraid to use the word ‘impeachment!’ We don’t have to think that impeachment is out of our reach.” The unraveling presidency of Donald Trump, she argued, would show “Maxine Waters was right. You gotta impeach him.” She left the stage to a standing ovation.
That was an hour before The New York Times delivered the latest blow to Trump, reporting that the president asked former FBI director James Comey to close his investigation into former national-security adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump allegedly told Comey. “He’s a good guy.” Comey memorialized the conversation in a memo; associates who had copies of the memo read parts of them aloud to the Times and other news outlets. (Those sources also say Comey filed memos about every encounter he had with the president.)
The Trump administration seems to be hurtling toward disaster, but congressional Republicans are still unwilling to put on the brakes. “It’s obvious there are some people out there who want to harm the president,” House Speaker Paul Ryan declared Wednesday morning, adding that if Comey’s story is true, “why didn’t he do something at the time?” Ryan’s cynicism is stunning; his first thought is to defend Trump from “people out there who want to harm” him? The person who’s doing the most to hurt Trump is Trump himself.
Last week, we were marveling at the blockbuster revelations that rolled out between Monday and Friday. First, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates testified in Congress about warning the administration of Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the transition. On Tuesday Trump fired Comey, supposedly over Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe. By Thursday, Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt that he decided to fire Comey, at least partly because of “this Russia thing.” Friday morning Trump threatened Comey on Twitter, sounding like a mobster, warning he “better hope” there are no “‘tapes’” of their meetings.
This week looks to be just as turbulent, with Monday’s Washington Post revelation that Trump shared highly classified information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, followed by Tuesday’s shocking story that he tried to get Comey to drop his Flynn probe. (For what it’s worth, Russian president Vladimir Putin denied that Trump revealed classified information to his foreign minister, and offered to provide transcripts of their meeting. But Putin’s coming to Trump’s aid right now doesn’t seem particularly helpful.) Evidence that Trump obstructed justice—from asking Comey to drop the investigation, to firing Comey, to appearing to threaten the former FBI director—is getting hard to ignore.