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Jonathan Bernstein

Trump's Abuse of Power? Republicans Seem OK With It.

Donald Trump’s allies are making an alarming argument in his impeachment defense.

Sound and fury.

Sound and fury.

Photographer: Jose Luis Magana/Getty

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Members of the House judiciary committee spent Wednesday night making opening statements in a hearing about two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstructing Congress — against President Donald Trump. Was there breaking news? Nope. But it was quite interesting anyway. 

The Democrats were mostly matter-of-fact. Again and again, they pounded away at the basic facts of the case — that Trump had used public policy for private gain by pressuring Ukraine to announce corruption investigations that would help him win re-election in 2020. There was very little general Trump-bashing. That served as a rejoinder to Republican claims that the whole process is all about a party that hates the president; the Democrats didn’t sound like a bunch of haters Tuesday night.