Our Best Stuff on Impeachment (and a Few Other Things)

The China trade agreement, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and a battle over nuclear funding.

Impeachment! It’s not the only thing going on, but it’s the biggest thing (much to the dismay of fans of fictional soap operas and the network presidents who’ve had to pre-empt their shows). 

You can find daily updates in The Morning Dispatch newsletter, but we’re also airing it out a little on the web and taking longer, more historical looks at the process. In case you were busy this week, here’s a summary of our best offerings. Please share widely with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

A Brief History of Executive Privilege

It’s easy to look at President Trump’s various power grabs (funding the wall with Pentagon money, stretching the definition of “national security” to unilaterally implement tariffs, etc.) and see his attempts to keep White House officials from testifying before Congress as just more of the same. But Jonah takes a deep dive on the history of executive privilege dating back to … George Washington. “So, what are the circumstances when the president’s interest in confidentiality is outweighed by the need for disclosure? When Congress or the courts are fulfilling their own core constitutional functions.” Well then.

Why Loyalty to Trump Could Pay Dividends for GOP Aspirants

It’s been 45 years since Watergate and its fallout led to Richard Nixon’s resignation. Then, as now, some Republicans lined up behind the president and some spoke out against him. What happened to those who stood by Nixon? Did they get kicked to the curb? Well, eventually, but in the case of a few, only after they took up their own temporary residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Christian Schneider looks back at that tumultuous time and what it might mean for our current political moment.

The Good, the Bad, and the Never-Going-to-Happen of the China Trade Deal

There are still a lot of tariffs in “phase one” of the new trade agreement with China. And the pledge that China will spend an extra $200 billion of Americans—well, that remains to be seen. But in his Vital Interests newsletter, Thomas Joscelyn writes that the Trump administration made some real gains, notably on intellectual property and forced technology transfers by U.S. companies wishing to do business in China: “In sum,” Joscelyn writes, “the Trump administration is raising key issues that are vital to American interests. And the administration has advanced those interests in some ways, even if Trump’s tactics leave much to be desired.”

Other highlights from The Dispatch this week:

  • Contrary to popular belief, we don’t have David French chained to his desk. It’s actually one of those treadmills with a shelf for his laptop. In the French Press this week, he uncovered some of James Madison’s writings on impeachment as remedy for lawful behavior committed with corrupt intent, and he also looked at why, even though every president abuses the power of his office at some point, Trump’s behavior is a little different. Oh, and he wrote a column about how the long history of anti-Catholic bigotry in this country has shaped the battle for religious liberty.

  • Steve had a nice scoop on Tuesday about an intra-administration battle over nuclear funding. Our arsenal is in need of upkeep and modernization, but forced budget cuts were threatening it. As it turns out, Trump vowed in an Oval Office meeting on Thursday to give the program its full requested funding.

  • The Indian Child Welfare Act was created with the best of intentions, to end decades of overreach and abuse by state and local governments that didn’t understand tribal culture. But now the pendulum has swung, making it nearly impossible for non-Indian families to adopt children with ties to any tribe and sending children back to families where, in extreme cases they have been molested or killed. Timothy Sandefur looks at a case that went before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last week

  • Podcast highlights: On The Remnant, Brett Baier dropped by to talk to Jonah about being on the news side at Fox News and also told a few stories about Steve from college. On Advisory Opinions, David and Sarah talked about the administration's moves to protect prayer in public schools, and court cases with the Little Sisters of the Poor and faithless electors. And a fight about impeachment broke out (Jonah and David vs. Steve and Sarah) on The Dispatch Podcast.