One day after the New York Times published details of a memo written by former FBI Director James Comey, the sharks were swarming the White House. The memo, which purports President Trump pressured Comey to back off of investigating former NSA adviser Mike Flynn and floated the idea of jailing journalists who published classified information, immediately led to calls for impeachment.
This time, however, such talk did not stem from the make-believe world of U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. Republicans, too, were flirting with the prospect.
"We've seen this movie before. It's reaching Watergate size and scale," U.S. Sen John McCain, R-Ariz., said at a dinner for the International Republican Institute. When asked by The Hill whether the memo would justify impeachment, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., answered, "Yes," if what the memo alleged were proven true.
Make no mistake; McCain and Amash are longtime Trump critics. They do not share the president's political beliefs, nor do they care for his agenda. But the mere fact that they are willing to publicly talk impeachment shifts the optics and further imperils the ability of this White House to reboot its agenda.
Most troubling, these two are talking impeachment when the evidence against Trump remains anything but evidence. The bombshell memo at the center of the Times' story was not viewed by the Grey Lady prior to running the story.
It was noted that "[t]he New York Times has not viewed a copy of the memo, which is unclassified, but one of Mr. Comey's associates read parts of the memo to the Times reporter." There is no smoke, no gun.
Translation: We have no direct evidence that this memo exists, and we are just taking the word of an associate of a man who discovered he was fired by television reports. In a court of law this is double hearsay that would never make it to a jury. In the court of public opinion, this is the type of junior high school gossip that once was relegated to the pages of the tabloids.
But if Trump critics in the media and both political parties wish to sabotage a president with suspect innuendo and not evidence, they best beware. America is at a tipping point.
Trump is symbolic of an inner struggle that could fracture what little unity we have left.
Conservatives and liberals may have always argued about policy, but they always shared the same goal: betterment of the nation. Today, however, not only do political foes argue about the means, they do not agree on the end. If we do not agree on the end, we have no chance of finding common ground.
To impeach Trump would send the message that the ideals of Trump supporters have no place in Washington. It would tell Trump voters that they are so dangerous that it was just for Trump foes to use any means necessary to force their exile.
If that means using the media to paralyze a president on the national and global stage, so be it. The end game is not to work with Trump and find common ground, it is to resist and remove him. This is a dangerous game that will not end well for anyone.
Editor's update: A previous version of this piece implied that Amash said the Comey memo justified impeachment because its allegations were true. In the source material, Amash actually said impeachment is justified only if the allegations are true, which they may or may not be.
Joseph Murray (@realJoeMurray) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. Previously, he was a campaign official for Pat Buchanan. He is the author of "Odd Man Out" and is administrator of the LGBTrump Facebook page.
If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.