As Jack Holmes of Esquire pointed out, Trump is threatening two U.S. states in exactly the same way he threatened Ukraine: Claiming he will withhold funds authorized by Congress if the recipient doesn’t help him cheat in the 2020 election. This is election fraud and blackmail, but this time directed at Americans.

Not only are these tweets an effort to blackmail the states, but they are also a direct effort to scare ordinary citizens out of voting.

As political analyst Judd Legum pointed out in his newsletter, Popular Information, “Telling someone that an absentee ballot application they receive was sent to them ‘illegally’ could dissuade them from voting.”

Indeed, the tweets themselves are arguably voter intimidation, since Trump is literally trying to scare people into thinking they may be prosecuted if they fill out an application for a mail-in ballot. Voter intimidation is a federal criminal offense that could lead to jail time — except that Trump is hiding behind “executive privilege,” which has been used to argue against legal punishment for all his criminal behavior.

Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan literally warned the nation about this possibility during Trump’s impeachment hearings. 

Well, the day is here and Trump isn’t even being coy about it, but belligerently trying to use the pandemic to scare people into not voting, while threatening Democratic-led states with the loss of federal funding. To justify this, Trump told more lies Wednesday afternoon, claiming that “voting is an honor” (it is in fact a right) and  that “they” mail in “thousands and thousands of fake ballots,” an utterly false claim with zero evidence behind it.

What Trump is doing is illegal, and congressional Democrats know it. Sen. Kamala Harris of California noted on MSNBC that, “it is a federal crime to withhold money from states with the purpose of interfering with people’s right to vote.”

Even threatening to do that is arguably a criminal act, especially if, as noted above, these threats are ameant to scare people out of voting. Either way, it’s an abuse of power for the purpose of cheating in an election, which is precisely what Trump was impeached for last December.

I find myself physically exhausted even thinking about it, but it must be said: Democrats must consider the possibility of impeaching Trump again, and soon. What he’s doing now isn’t just as bad as what he did to Ukraine — it’s much worse, since he’s directly attacking American citizens and their constitutional right to vote. This is the Ukraine scandal on steroids. (And the Ukraine scandal was Watergate on steroids!)

It’s a terrible thing to think about, especially since Senate Republicans, who don’t care what crimes Trump commits, would just acquit Trump again. And it’s hard to imagine what another round of impeachment hearings, much less another impeachment vote, would look like in the age of the coronavirus.

Still, we know one thing about the first impeachment: It worked. It blew up Trump’s scheme to blackmail the Ukrainian president, and exposed the fraudulent nature of the conspiracy theory against Biden so thoroughly that the even Trump-curious reporters like Ken Vogel at the New York Times have been scared away from pretending there’s anything serious to these conspiracy theories about Biden.

As difficult and disheartening as another round of impeachment might be, it could be the only way to keep Trump from using the coronavirus to cheat in the 2020 election. If Democrats can impeach him for blackmailing Ukraine in this surely they can impeach him for blackmailing the governors of Michigan and Nevada in exactly the same way.

More important still, Trump has made no secret of his desire to cheat. He does it right out in the open, on Twitter, and will only continue to escalate these threats if there are no real consequences. A second impeachment, ugly as it will be, may be the only way to ensure a free and fair election during this pandemic. ” [Source]

Pay attention people.

*Image from Dlisted.