May 10, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Trump's new impeachment trap

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

House Democrats' heightened hunger for impeachment is being fueled by President Trump's scorched-earth strategy of rebuffing every congressional demand for information related to the special counsel's Russia probe.

Why it matters: Multiple fights between the two branches of government will wind through the courts, with some likely to end up at the Supreme Court.

  • An outside adviser to the West Wing tells Axios: "Trump’s statement that they will not comply with the subpoenas and document requests was not posturing or an opening negotiating position. It is administration policy."

The bottom line:

  • Damned if he does: If Trump allows Democrats to rummage through notes and witnesses, he risks new material surfacing that piles on top of the Mueller report, triggering impeachment. 
  • Damned if he doesn't: If Trump refuses all cooperation with Congress, Democrats increasingly see the opportunity to try to impeach him.

Be smart: Some Trump advisers would love nothing more than Dems trying to impeach him before 2020. It's win-win in their minds, per Axios' Jonathan Swan:

  • Run out the clock by obstructing Dem oversight efforts. And if that leads to House Democrats trying to impeach him, then all the better: They think it’ll redound to Trump’s political advantage. 

Go deeper: Where 2020 Democrats stand on impeaching Trump

Go deeper