In the least surprising plot twist on this season of “As the Trump Turns,” the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted 232-196 to endorse and expand the party’s expedited impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump over his actions regarding Ukraine.
The vote was almost totally along party lines, with the only two dissenters either way on H.R. 660 were Democrats who voted against it. There was plenty of positioning to be had on both sides after the vote.
The Democrats didn’t seem to be terribly animated over the whole affair, mostly because Thursday was hardly dunking on the president or Republicans. In particular, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi assured us all this was very serious stuff that she was taking very seriously.
This somehow extended to her using an American flag as a prop on the House floor, as if we’d all somehow forgotten what country this was taking place in.
“In case you’re just tuning into C-SPAN, folks, Speaker Pelosi has informed the chamber this is indeed taking place in the United States of America. Further bulletins as events warrant.”
Weirdness aside, this gives you a pretty good idea of Pelosi’s mood Thursday. She herself described it as “somber” and made sure everyone knew this wasn’t something she took lightly.
Pelosi on the floor with a flag poster saying every member takes an oath of office to protect the Constitution. “That’s exactly what we are doing today.” Pelosi says no one comes to Congress to impeach the President of the United States. She calls it a “somber” day.
— Lauren Fox (@FoxReports) October 31, 2019
“It’s a sad day. It’s a sad day because nobody comes to Congress to impeach a president of the United States, no one,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “This is a sad day. It’s a sad day because nobody comes to Congress to impeach a President of the United States. No one.” pic.twitter.com/i2iyNqbxKC
— The Hill (@thehill) October 31, 2019
I know our collective political unconscious seems to wipe itself like a server in Hillary’s bathroom at the start of every news cycle, but I’m old enough to remember January and the night that one of the most visible members of the Democrat caucus, freshly sworn in and soon to become a constituent of “the squad,” said that she’d come to Congress precisely to impeach the president.
Although she didn’t exactly call him that.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib is probably best known know as the third-string member of The Beatles of democratic socialism. At the beginning of this year, she was best known for this viral clip:
“When your son looks at you and said, ‘Mamma, look, you won — bullies don’t win.’ And I said, ‘Baby, they don’t, because we’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the motherf—–!,'” Tlaib said.
Rashida Tlaib may be just one of 435 members and she may be the most public of those who called for the president to be impeached in this fashion, but she’s hardly the only one who wanted it to come to this.
Even when Rep. Al Green launched several outré impeachment votes under ridiculous pretenses — in his latest attempt, the Texas Democrat said that the president’s tweets about the aforementioned “squad” had brought the office of the presidency into “ridicule, disgrace and disrepute,” necessitating his impeachment — he would still get votes in the high double-digits. That defense of “the squad,” preposterous on its face though it may have been, got 95 yea votes.
In fact, when the number of House members calling for an impeachment inquiry reached more than 50 percent last month, CNN reported “[t]here was a surge in support — more than 75 House members in about three days — for launching such an inquiry amid a growing controversy over Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky where he discussed former Vice President Joe Biden.”
That may seem like a lot until you realize that the number of House members who were supporting an impeachment inquiry was 229. That means before the call with Zelensky, there were 154 members who still wanted an impeachment inquiry over the Mueller report.
And, 36 days before Donald Trump was inaugurated, five Democratic senators — including presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — announced a bill that would have forced the president to divest themselves of assets deemed to create a conflict of interest. Everything that fell under the aegis of the legislation would have to be sold and put into a blind trust.
The bill would have also have symbolically made any violation of these conflict-of-interest rules “a high crime or misdemeanor under the impeachment clause of the U.S. Constitution.” One thinks that if Democrats could have gotten that through Congress, it wouldn’t have been taken so symbolically.
I’m basically picking off the top of a mound of evidence that suggests there are plenty of people in both chambers who have either come to Congress to impeach a president or who have been there and decided it wasn’t such a bad idea so long as the president was a Republican.
Pelosi can say what she wants. This has been the offing for years — and now that the opportunity has presented itself, they’ve made it clear they’re ready to make a truthful woman out of Rashida Tlaib.
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