Read my lips, Democrats: President Donald Trump won’t be removed from office.
He probably isn’t even going to be impeached since that would require almost every single Democrat in the House to go for it; and given that even Speaker Nancy Pelosi is against it, that’s beyond unlikely.
If it gets to that, have fun in the Senate, where a farce of a trial would be taking place against the backdrop of the election — an election where voters have already told polls they’re not in favor of impeachment for impeachment’s sake, particularly when there are no high crimes and misdemeanors to be found and there’s no chance of Trump being convicted.
Don’t tell this to Rep. Jerrold Nadler, though. The attention-starved New York Democrat is the head of the House Judiciary Committee, where impeachment proceedings would theoretically originate. He thinks that articles of impeachment could be before the wider Congress as the leaves begin to drop from the trees this autumn.
“If we decide to report articles of impeachment, we could get to that late in the fall, in the latter part of the year,” Nadler said Monday on MSNBC.
The whole thing, as Politico noted, seems to hinge on getting access to grand jury testimony that was blocked in the report from former special counsel Robert Mueller. There’s also the attempt to enforce a subpoena to testify issued to Don McGahn, the former White House counsel. McGahn, who popped up regularly in the Mueller report (and whose name was mentioned not infrequently during Mueller’s testimony), has thus far resisted any request to appear before the committee.
“I think that we will probably get court decisions by the end of October, maybe shortly thereafter. We’ll have hearings in September and October with people we don’t — witnesses who are not dependent on the court proceedings,” Nadler said.
Good luck there. As Politico’s Kyle Cheney pointed out in a Monday article, “that’s an ambitious time frame for a committee that has so far been nearly totally stymied in its effort to force Mueller’s central witnesses to provide information to Congress.”
“McGahn, his deputy Annie Donaldson and former White House communications director Hope Hicks have refused to testify about the events that they freely discussed with Mueller, forming the basis of Mueller’s damaging evidence of Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation of his campaign’s numerous contacts with Russians.”
And then there’s Rep. Nadler’s odd take on Mueller’s testimony, which seems to play a key part in Nadler’s impeachment narrative.
In a news conference two days after Mueller’s July 24 appearance before Congress, the New York Democrat claimed that Mueller “told us in a remarkable exchange with [California Rep. Ted] Lieu that, but for the Department of Justice policy prohibiting him from doing so, he would’ve indicted President Trump.”
Except that’s the exact part of his testimony that Mueller had walked back:
“I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu who said, and I quote, ‘You didn’t charge the president because of the [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion,’” Mueller said before the start of his afternoon session before Congress. “That is not the correct way to say it. As we say in the report, and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.”
Then again, so much of the Democrats’ approach to impeachment is confused, as well. In fact, the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee don’t even seem to know whether an impeachment inquiry has started or not.
Nadler, for his part, has stopped short of calling for an impeachment inquiry, which would be a prelude (albeit, not a necessary one) to articles of impeachment. However, a majority of House Democrats now support such a move, and one Democrat on the Judiciary Committee has gone as far as to say that an impeachment inquiry already exists.
“The Judiciary Committee officially started its investigation into the abuse of power by Trump on March 4, 2019,” Florida Democrat Rep. Ted Deutch wrote in a commentary piece published in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel last week.
“The stated purpose was to consider all constitutional remedies for presidential misconduct, including impeachment. In every meaningful way, our investigation is an impeachment inquiry. The Judiciary Committee already has the power to refer articles of impeachment to the whole House.”
For the record, that doesn’t constitute an impeachment inquiry, which would represent an official probe into whether the president has committed what the Constitution calls “high crimes and misdemeanors.” (Or, well, whether the Democrats can come up with something that looks like it.)
However, it’s a clear sign of just how confused the Democrats are here. A majority of them now support an impeachment inquiry, even though Nancy Pelosi — somehow the voice of reason in August, 2019 — knows that focusing on impeachment is an easy way to lose her party’s precarious hold on the House of Representatives and whatever chance they have of taking that house at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., a house that might be a little more important than a quixotic impeachment inquiry.
Even if the Democratic base and spin machine are able to convince the party mandarins that impeachment is a good idea politically — and both certainly working overtime at that — there’s little chance it’s going to happen by fall. That would mean almost everything will have gone right for Nadler and the Judiciary Committee. The odds of that are virtually zero.
The odds of the articles of impeachment then passing the House are also virtually zero. The odds of obtaining a conviction in a Senate trial — convincing two-thirds of the Republican-dominated body to say that President Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors — are less than zero. All of those zeroes add up to a really bad idea, particularly when you consider this probably isn’t going to work out well with voters.
So, come on, Rep. Nadler. Let’s get this show on the road. After all, late autumn will be right about when America will finally start tuning in to the election process, and what better way for America to see their Democrats at work than to watch the pointless folly of impeachment theater playing out before their eyes?
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