To quote the philosopher Luke Cage: Sweet Christmas.
A host of Congressional Democrats have joined the movement to impeach President Donald Trump, bringing the total number to 107 Democrats. That means we’re just 11 shy of half the caucus being in favor of something the leaders of the party are desperately trying to avoid.
It appears that Pelosi, in an effort to appease the rank-and-file, she is giving her consent to another Judiciary Committee plot to extend the life of the Mueller investigation.
Pelosi’s resistance to an impeachment inquiry is not likely to be vulnerable to the math of the Democratic Caucus — she has also argued that such a move would be unnecessarily divisive and likely to fail in the Republican-controlled Senate, strengthening Trump’s hand ahead of the 2020 election. Rather, she has urged a focus on the House’s myriad investigations of Trump’s conduct, business relationships and personal finances — some of which are tied up in court battles with Trump’s personal lawyers. Those probes, she has said, could form a more complete picture before considering impeachment.
But Pelosi on Friday also endorsed a new Judiciary Committee effort to go to court and seek access to Mueller’s secret grand jury evidence. In its petition to a federal judge in Washington, D.C., which was issued by the House general counsel, the committee argued that it was already investigating whether to recommend articles of impeachment against Trump.
However, that’s all it is for her. It’s appeasement to try and keep them happy for a little while longer and keep them from pushing for something she believes will be disastrous, and it more than likely would be.
Impeachment sends political drama into overdrive, which in turn further polarizes the country. The constant negative press on both sides of the aisle will drive the base loyalists to the polls, but will probably keep moderate turnout low. In her opinion, she could bring moderates over by positioning her party as the moderate party and drawing the moderate vote to them.
But the rank-and-file in the House are getting restless. They have learned the wrong lessons from 2016 and still believe that the best way to defeat Trump is to swing too far in the other direction. Trump was himself a reaction to Barack Obama, who actively sought to alienate conservative voters and pushed for an agenda that he was rebuked on in multiple elections.
Pelosi and her allies seem to recognize that. The rest of the Democrats do not. They instead believe that an impeachment inquiry is the best way to go forward, as it would allow for them to fundraise… and that’s about it. It won’t result in anything meaningful, and they know it.
But, hey! It’s good to keep the dream alive.
Democrats who support an inquiry have also privately argued that reaching a majority of the caucus would be a turning point in their efforts, coaxing more reluctant lawmakers off the sidelines and ramping up pressure on Democratic leaders.
Though Mueller at times struggled with his command of his report last week, his testimony has proven to be a flashpoint for Democrats teetering on the brink of backing an impeachment inquiry. He affirmed that his 22-month investigation uncovered that the president had repeatedly tried to obstruct his inquiry, and he noted that Trump could theoretically be vulnerable to prosecution after his term ends. Democrats have pointed to both exchanges as they’ve announced their positions.
This is probably the best part because these Democrats still look at the Mueller hearing as one filled with new revelations, whereas the majority of the people who watched (admittedly, very few) and a vast number of prominent media figures agree it produced nothing new or exciting.
These are politicians who are banking on this strategy working, and they are so desperate to see it work that they will pretend there is a there there. They think they can win an optics game with this, but it’s going to produce nothing for them.
They’ll find that out the hard way come 2020.