Who's Right on Impeachment: Rand Paul, Justin Amash, or Jeff Flake?

Libertarian-leaning legislators have markedly different ideas about the I-word. What say the Reason editors?


Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) says it's a "fake witch hunt" ("BASTA!"). Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.) is in the same "impeachable conduct" camp he's been in since May; adding such recent commentary as "Nearly every Trump ally's defense has been an effort to gaslight America." And now-retired Rep. Jeff Flake (R–Ariz.), from the much-hated temperamental center, has in this morning's Washington Post charted out a third way between those two poles, arguing that "the president's actions warrant impeachment," but that Flake still has "grave reservations" about launching those proceedings, so instead wants elected Republicans to not endorse the president's reelection because Trump is "manifestly undeserving of the highest office that we have."

So which of these libertarian-leaning legislators, current and former, has the better argument? That's the subject of this week's editors' roundtable edition of Reason Podcast, featuring Nick Gillespie, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, and Matt Welch. Is it possible or meaningful to separate out impeachment proceedings from articles of impeachment from a Senate conviction thereof? Are there important differences between Trump's conduct and that of previous administrations? What is the role/position/rooting interest for those outside of the two corners? We talk through all of this and more, while fighting a losing battle against profanity, invoking Inception, and explaining how all art is basically a primer on management.

Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.

'Rocking Forward' by XTaKeRuX is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Relevant links from the show:

"Trump's Civil War Tweet Is Bad. This Other Tweet May Be Unconstitutional." By Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Whether Trump Stays or Goes, We Need To Rein in Presidents and Congress," by Nick Gillespie

"Did Trump Commit a Crime by Seeking a Ukrainian Investigation of Joe Biden? And Does It Matter for Impeachment Purposes?" By Jacob Sullum

"Evidence Increasingly Indicates Trump's Ukraine Pressure Tactics Usurped Congress' Power of the Purse—and that he may have Committed a Federal Crime in the Process," by Ilya Somin

"Did the President Commit Witness Tampering?" by David Post

"Is Impeachment a 'Constitutional Duty'?" by Keith Whittington

"Trump's Ukraine Call Was an Abuse of Power—and This Time, He Can't Claim Ignorance or Inexperience," by Peter Suderman

"John Yoo Warns That Impeachment Would Undermine Presidential Power. That's the Point," by Jacob Sullum

"Whistleblower Report Alleges Trump Used Presidential Power for Personal Gain," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Congress Should Not Be Satisfied With Ukraine Call Transcript, Given the Trump White House's History of Fiddling With Records," by Eric Boehm

"Nancy Pelosi Announces Trump Impeachment Inquiry Over Ukraine Scandal," by Billy Binion

What are we consuming this week?

Matt Welch

  • Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA
  • Hess Collection Winery and Art Museum in Napa, CA

Nick Gillespie