The impeachment momentum has swung much more quickly than many thought, but it’s important to remember that many have been calling for impeachment for a while, for a multitude of reasons. What has changed is the flagrant simplicity of the Ukraine story – it’s an easy story to tell and strikes our basic, gut level instinct, as just wrong; not something a president should do.
With Watergate, public opinion was mixed for a long time, until it wasn’t. As you can see by the graphic, Nixon enjoyed approval ratings early in his second term that were higher than Donald Trump’s have ever been. But then the tide began to turn.
Are we seeing something similar here? Some polls show a sizable bump in those who want Trump impeached, while others show the majority of Americans still not behind impeachment.
The actions by President Trump after the release of what still is a limited summary of the call suggest someone who is feeling the pressure. The difficulty of his surrogates to summon a coherent defense shows how damning the details are, details the president himself has admitted to. But there is also so much that we don’t know yet, especially what may be in the vault on calls with Putin and Saudi Arabia. My reporter’s hunch is that those could be much worse. This also places a lot of pressure on those who have served Trump or are serving him now. What did they know? Were they part of the effort to hide the truth? When the pressure builds, I expect some of those people to speak, which in turn will create even more mounting pressure.
Hold onto your hats folks, we are in a bumpy ride and the path ahead is unknowable. History has found us. Where it leads now no one can know.