Now that the public phase of the impeachment inquiry appears to be over, the Intelligence Committee will take the next few days to write their report and submit it to the Judiciary Committee, where any and all articles of impeachment will be drafted. That process should take approximately two weeks and will be followed by a formal vote on the floor of the House before Christmas. Then everything moves to the Senate, where a full trial will likely take place in January.
The only question remaining for Adam Schiff is whether Democrats should try to get John Bolton to testify before they hand everything off to Jerry Nadler’s committee. Frankly, I’d move on if I were him. I’m not saying Bolton wouldn’t have something of value to say – it’s obvious he’d love to burn Trump – I just don’t think it’s worth the effort or the wait. If the number and quality of witnesses who’ve already testified haven’t swayed any Republicans – and by all accounts that appears to be the case – then nothing Bolton would offer up is likely to make a difference to them. For all intents and purposes, the GOP has become a cult under Trump. Next to him, Jim Jones was practically David Livingstone.
It’s also been suggested that Democrats should widen the scope of their investigation to include at least one article of impeachment for perjury stemming from discrepancies between testimony taken from the Roger Stone case and the written testimony given by Trump to Robert Mueller’s team. Like the Bolton decision above, I’d pass on that. As tempting as it might be, it would muddy the waters too much. Trump and his supporters would jump at the chance to relitigate the Mueller investigation. They’ve already gotten almost half the country to believe it was all just a hoax, much to the delight of Vladimir Putin and the frustration of the entire intelligence community. Under no circumstances should Democrats give them a second bite at that apple.
Which brings us to main course. Look, let’s cut right to the chase. Since this president was sworn in, he’s been looking to get himself impeached. Please spare me all the “Democrats had it in for him from the start” crap. It wasn’t Democrats who brought in Paul Manafort to run his campaign; nor was it Democrats who appointed Michael Flynn to be his National Security advisor against the advice of former President Obama; nor was it Democrats who violated campaign finance law to pay off two women – one a centerfold model, the other a porn star – to remain silent about having an affair with him; nor was it Democrats who obstructed a legitimate and lawful investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election; and it certainly wasn’t Democrats who just one day after Mueller testified before Congress about that very meddling, decided to call the President of Ukraine and threaten to withhold vitally needed military assistance in order to gain dirt on a potential political opponent in the 2020 election. If this is a witch hunt, there certainly appear to be an awful lot of witches.
No reasonably objective person who has read the Mueller Report or observed this president’s conduct could fail to come to the conclusion that he has literally no regard for the rule of law, and that he is utterly incapable of comprehending the immense duties and responsibilities for which the office demands of every American president that has occupied it since the founding of the Republic. Compared to what Trump stands accused of, Bill Clinton should’ve gotten a parking ticket.
This latest scandal in which Trump enlisted the aid of Rudy Giuliani to pull off an extortion plot with a foreign country is just the most obvious in a litany of scandals that not only strains credulity, it threatens to undermine and irrevocably harm American foreign policy for generations to come. This wasn’t Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, as has been absurdly suggested by Trump’s apologists; this was Tony Soprano and Paulie Walnuts. For Democrats to have ignored this would’ve set a dangerous precedent that future presidents would no doubt seek to exploit without fear of retribution. If the term “no one is above the law” is to have any meaning, it must be applied to every citizen regardless of his or her position in society or, for that matter, in government.
The President has many privileges that are accorded him as commander in chief, but one of those privileges does NOT include shooting a hole either in some poor soul on Firth Avenue or through the Constitution of the United States, in spite of what his most ardent supporters would have us believe.