So much for self-impeaching.
Nancy Pelosi had seen enough. For a Speaker who was reluctant to give into the passions of her base, this was a bridge too far. Donald Trump had finally given her no choice.
Here’s what we know, so far.
- Some time in mid-July, Trump directed his chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to withhold almost $400 million in military aid designated for Ukraine.
- Later that month, on the 25th, Trump placed a call to the newly elected president of Ukraine and, while reminding him of all that the U.S. had done for his country, asked him to do him a “favor” by digging up dirt on Joe Biden, his potential political opponent in the 2020 election.
- A whistleblower came forward with a complaint detailing the nature of the call, implicating several members of the administration and indicating that multiple people were alarmed by it.
- A transcript of the phone call released by the White House backed up the written account of the whistleblower.
- White House officials were sufficiently concerned about the call that they stored it on a server meant for highly classified calls.
- Trump, while visiting the U.N., threatened the whistleblower and anyone who spoke to him or her by calling them traitors.
If you’re keeping score that’s three articles of impeachment: One, extorting the leader of a foreign country in a quid pro quo scheme to influence a presidential election; two, eliciting members of his administration to cover up his crime; and three, obstruction of justice by intimidating witnesses.
I’ve heard all the arguments about the political risks: the Senate won’t convict, Trump will use it to gin up his base, the majority of Americans don’t support it, and, even if the impeachment vote comes by Thanksgiving, it will dominate the 2020 election.
To which I say, so what? You’re worried about the Senate, the place where bills go to die? Really? Ask Cory Gardner, Susan Collins, Thom Tillis and Martha McSally how they feel about having to cast a vote either for or against impeachment in a year when all of them are facing tough reelections. I guarantee you none of them want any part of this.
And the idea that Trump needs an excuse to gin up his base is laughable. Imagine how much fun he would’ve had next fall telling voters that the Democrats couldn’t impeach him because he wasn’t guilty of anything. That’s right, the most corrupt president in U.S. history would’ve laughed himself all the way to a second term courtesy of a gutless and spineless party.
As for Americans not supporting impeachment, have you seen the latest polling? Looks like they’re catching on. As of now, roughly half the country is on board, and we’re only three days into the actual inquiry. Imagine where they will be in a week or two. It’s important to note that when Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry into Richard Nixon in early 1974, he was polling over 50 percent and less than a third of the country was in favor of it. By July of that year, Nixon’s popularity had plummeted and support for impeachment skyrocketed. As any half-way decent prosecutor knows, you don’t wait for the jury to convict before presenting your case to them.
And last but not least, so what if Trump becomes the focus of the 2020 election? Seriously, did you think he wasn’t going to be? In a year where Democrats will try to make the case for Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, I actually think it helps their prospects if this president’s corruption is front and center. For most of his presidency, Trump has thrown so much shit at the blackboard that, frankly, it’s been exhausting trying to keep up with all the scandals. But an actual impeachment will sting him and, trust me, it will not sit well with independents: the very voting block that won him the 2016 election. He may have been laughing at Democrats for failing to hold him accountable, but trust me, he isn’t laughing now. I suspect that no one in the White House is laughing now.
This isn’t a repeat of 1998; and even if it were, as I explained in an earlier piece, Republicans really didn’t pay a political price for impeaching Bill Clinton. Sure they lost five seats in the House, but they held serve in the Senate and won the presidency in 2000. And keep in mind, Clinton, like Nixon before him, was considerably more popular than Trump going into the inquiry. So much for collateral damage.
At some point, you have to take a stand and say “enough is enough.” If a Democratic president had done half the things this man has done and Republicans were in control of the House, do you think they’d be cautious? Shit no, they’d be outside the White House with pitchforks and torches looking to burn the place down. Christ, they impeached Clinton for getting a blowjob and lying about it.
If I were Nancy Pelosi, I’d tell Adam Schiff to damn the torpedoes and go full speed ahead with this mother fucker. Drag everyone who might possibly be connected to this scandal in front of his committee, from the whistleblower and his or her sources to West Wing staff to Mulvany to Mike Pence to John Bolton to Mike Pompeo to William Barr to Rudy Giuliani, who is to the legal profession what the Titanic was to the luxury cruise industry. If they won’t cooperate, hit them with contempt charges. Nothing says “I’ve had a change of heart” like mounting legal fees. A competent criminal attorney can cost tens of thousands of dollars a week; and a really good one can break the bank.
And then, once all the documents have been examined and all the witnesses have testified, vote on each and every article of impeachment you can, and then throw the whole damn thing in Mitch McConnell’s lap. This is one time where it’ll be difficult, if not outright impossible, for him to kill what the House sends over. In fact, he’ll be forced to hold a trial in the Senate, the first time that’s happened in twenty years. If Dems were smart, they’d put it on Pay-Per-View. The fees alone would cut the deficit in half.
It’s time this lawless president learned the limits of his power. It’s time Democrats put him in his place before it’s too late. It doesn’t matter whether the Senate votes to convict or not, failure to impeach will set a dangerous precedent that will inevitably lead to the destruction of this country and all that it represents. Consider this: the failure to launch an impeachment inquiry after the Mueller Report was released is what likely emboldened Trump to hold up the military aid to Ukraine and call its president in the first place. He’s like a spoiled child who keeps testing his parents. The timeouts aren’t working, mom.
We’re coming up on the ten-year anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Pelosi, through sheer force of will, got her caucus to vote for it, even though many of them thought it didn’t go far enough. This impeachment proceeding will make the ACA look like a continuing resolution.
Hold onto your hats, people. The shit’s about to get real.