New York Times drafts 'articles of impeachment' against Trump

Nancy Pelosi might not be ready to impeach President Trump, but the New York Times is ready with a road map just in case.

The Times, a frequent target of the president’s ire, published a piece Wednesday titled, “The Articles of Impeachment Against Donald J. Trump: A Draft.

The piece, written by a member of the newspaper’s opinion department, was put together by analyzing the articles of impeachment drawn up against former Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.

“If Democrats do move to impeach Mr. Trump, the articles of impeachment drafted against past presidents will probably guide them,” an introduction to the hypothetical impeachment articles reads.

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“What might impeachment articles against Mr. Trump look like? To find out, we reviewed the articles of impeachment drawn up against Richard Nixon in 1974 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Then we edited them — by removing and adding passages — to match the president’s conduct as described in the Mueller report and elsewhere.

“Impeachment is often said to be a political process. But when you assess Mr. Trump’s conduct by the bar for impeachment set by past Democratic and Republican lawmakers for past presidents of both parties, the results are striking.”

The opening explanation concludes: “The pathway to a possible Trump impeachment is already mapped out in these historical documents.”

From there, the piece goes on to compare Trump to Nixon, stating the current president’s “behavior maps neatly onto the first and third Nixon articles, which dealt with obstruction of justice.”

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It charges that Trump “stonewalled subpoenas” in a similar way to Nixon, pointing to the fact neither allowed themselves to be questioned by FBI investigators, and alleges that “like Nixon... Mr. Trump did provide false information to potential witnesses.”

The comparison to Nixon ends by concluding that the charges against the 37th president “required only modest tweaks to match Mr. Trump’s conduct.”

Moving onto Clinton, the Times’ piece states the first article of his impeachment has little relevance to Trump, as it was based on testimony the Democrat gave before a federal grand jury.

However, The Gray Lady said the third article of Clinton’s impeachment could be comparable to any Trump articles.

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“The obstruction case laid out against President Clinton was largely based on his behavior toward witnesses in the investigation into his conduct… Mr. Trump arguably took more extensive steps than Mr. Clinton did to thwart investigators,” the piece states.

The Times’ experiment concludes by producing what it says articles of impeachment against Trump could potentially look like, as well as an assessment.

“There is no question that by the standards for high crimes and misdemeanors applied to past presidents in living memory, Donald J. Trump has committed impeachable offenses,” the piece states.

The piece was published as Pelosi continues to try to reconcile the different wings and differing opinions on impeachment inside her own party.

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Pelosi is urging caution and patience in response to those clamoring for impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Yet South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third-highest-ranking Democrat in the House, said in an interview Sunday that he believes impeachment proceedings ultimately will be launched against Trump at some point in the future. He suggested Democrats are already laying the groundwork in Congress.

“I think we’ve already begun,” Clyburn said on CNN's "State of the Union."  “We’ve got all of these committees doing their work, we’re having hearings.”

Clyburn reportedly walked back those remarks afterward.

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In a radio interview last week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., whose committee would lead impeachment proceedings, said “there certainly is” justification for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, but said it was critical for the American public to be on board before launching the process.

Other top House Democrats, though, are acknowledging the long odds of success.

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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff  said Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week” that impeachment "is destined for failure."

Fox News' Alex Pappas contributed to this report.