I think the Democrats are finally arriving at two conclusions about the highly partisan impeachment of President Trump is going nowhere. After the disastrous dumpster fire that the panel of law professors who testified before Fat Jerry’s committee on Wednesday turned out to be, Nancy Pelosi didn’t follow it up with a call for more hearings but with a demand to get it over with. The fact that the House Judiciary Committee has another hearing scheduled for Monday when 100% of the oxygen in DC will be sucked out of the air by the release of the DOJ IG report tells you all you need to know about the Democrat’s desperation to bring this to closure.
The problem before them is how to bring this to closure without having it labeled as a totally partisan affair that has nothing to do with presidential actions or conduct and everything to do with reversing the 2016 election. We know that when articles of impeachment are voted on in the House, the yea votes will be all Democrats and the clownish Justin Amash. Several Democrats will vote against them. Likewise, in the Senate there will be a bipartisan majority that votes to acquit and a narrow partisan minority that votes to convict.
One solution that the Democrats have arrived upon is to vote to “censure” President Trump.
Just a couple of days ago, the Democrats were floating the idea that the House would censure rather than impeach (see Nervous Democrats Weighing Alternative Options to Impeachment as Election Panic Sets in on Capitol Hill). This isn’t going anywhere as the Democrat base will not accept anything less than impeachment.
The second best choice is to vote on a bill of impeachment using only Democrat votes in the House and rely on a coalition of Vichy Republicans and Mitt Romney to create a bipartisan vote of censure in the Senate. This would inoculate the Democrats from the partisanship charge because they would have GOP support in the Senate. That seems to be off the table:
Republicans have no plans to seek an off-ramp on impeachment.
As House Democrats move swiftly toward a vote to oust President Donald Trump, GOP lawmakers aren’t seriously contemplating a third option between removing him from office and absolving him of all wrongdoing.
A censure or sense of the Senate resolution to condemn the president has barely been discussed, according to interviews with more than a dozen Republican senators and House members. On the prospects of his conference supporting a censure or something similar, Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said simply, “I doubt it.”
“I’m not in favor of it,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said. “We’re going to wait and see what comes over here, but I haven’t heard anybody discuss it. I haven’t even thought about it until you raised it.”
“I don’t think the Democrats are going to offer that,” said Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), a Judiciary Committee member who was around for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. “Nor do I think there would be Republican support.”
Even some Republicans who have expressed concerns about Trump’s actions said they’ve given little thought to a rebuke that falls short of impeachment. That antipathy for even a symbolic reprimand of Trump underscores how the president has transformed the Republican Party, in which any break with him can be seen as a personal slight.
Some Demcrats, like this guy with the unfortunate past-tense last name are delusional:
For now, Republicans say it’s House Democrats who should consider censure given the potential political risks of impeachment. But some Democrats predict the GOP is going to reach for a middle ground in the coming weeks as impeachment moves toward reality rather than a hypothetical.
“I personally think they will eventually find themselves desperate for a third option,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said.
You really have to love how they frame this. The GOP has no interest in rescuing the House Democrats from their own hubris. The odds of anything happening that would make the GOP want to censure President Trump approaches zero, so it is the Democrats have a couple of clear off ramps: don’t vote on a bill of impeachment or go the silly censure route. If they do want a trial in the Senate, there is no reason the GOP should want to deprive them of that opportunity.