The Atlantic magazine has published an extraordinary cover story entitled “The Case For Impeachment”, setting out the reasons the United States should get rid of Donald Trump.
Writer Yoni Appelbaum argues that impeaching the President would be “the antidote to chaos”, accusing Mr Trump of attacking “the very foundations of America’s constitutional democracy.”
On the 27th day of government shutdown, the writer claims Mr Trump has mounted “a concerted challenge to the separation of powers, to the rule of law, and to the civil liberties enshrined in our founding documents” and that he has “purposefully inflamed America’s divisions.”
Most damningly, Appelbaum adds: “He has set himself against the American idea, the principle that all of us — of every race, gender, and creed — are created equal.”
The writer contends that Mr Trump has routinely prioritised his own self-interest — citing investigations into his businesses and his refusal to share his tax returns.
Appelbaum notes that the criticism of the President does not just come from his political opponents — government insiders and Republicans have been some of his most vocal detractors.
GOP members of Congress and even White House staff have described their horror at witnessing chaos within the administration. Many are concerned the government shutdown is damaging the economy and angering voters.
Republican congressman Will Hurd, whose Texas district has the longest border with Mexico, said last week: “I think building a concrete structure sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security.”
Mr Hurd, a former CIA agent who has argued for a “smart wall” made up of sensors and other tech, lashed out after Mr Trump’s Oval Office speech: “If this is a crisis, the people that are dealing with this crisis should get paid.”
Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker criticised the President for being swayed by conservative talk radio “tyrants” over his border wall in December.
Former presidential nominee Mitt Romney earlier this month said the President “has not risen to the mantle of the office.”
The Republican senator wrote in a Washington Post op-ed: “With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.’’
Defence secretary Jim Mattis, who departed through the administration’s revolving door after Mr Trump announced he was withdrawing troops from Syria, said the President should appoint someone “whose views are better aligned with yours.”
The cutting Atlantic article was due to be published in two weeks’ time, but editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg said he had brought the date forward because of “the Trump-caused government shutdown, unmatched in length and consequence, and the debate over whether the 45th president of the United States is secretly operating on behalf of Russia.”
The magazine also published a special feature section called “50 Moments That Define an Improbable Presidency”.
In his introduction, Goldberg wrote: “Like many Americans, we sometimes find the velocity of chaos unmanageable … So we decided to pause for a moment and analyse 50 of the most improbable, norm-bending, and destructive incidents of this presidency to date.”
One of the 50 stories, entitled “In Trump’s World, Reality Is Negotiable”, contends that through systematically attacking authoritative sources, the President and his aides have “inoculated a huge swath of the American public against ever being informed about anything, providing millions of Americans with a resistance to learning that will long outlive his administration.”
California Democratic congressman Brad Sherman filed an impeachment resolution against the President on his party’s first day controlling the House of Representatives earlier this month.
The resolution argues that Mr Trump obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey shortly after he entered the White House because he knew the FBI was investigating Russian state interference in the 2016 federal election.
Mr Sherman said there was “no reason” Congress shouldn’t consider impeaching Mr Trump. “Every day, Donald Trump shows that leaving the White House would be good for our country,” he told the LA Times.
But other Democrats, including House speaker Nancy Pelosi, fear that pushing for impeachment could alienate voters.
They also want to wait for the results of various investigations, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged Russia collusion.