Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., makes a statement at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. Pelosi announced that the House is moving forward to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The House of Representatives is scheduled for a floor vote on impeachment this week, but there is growing suspicion that the House impeachment tantrum may not go anywhere at all.
Polls show that impeachment is very unpopular in places the Democrats have to win in order to be competitive in November’s election. While outlier national polls, such as featured on CNN in order to drive their impeachment narrative, might show impeachment a winner, the fact is that were that the case, the Democrats would have been all over it by now.
Mitch McConnell has said that he will work with the White House Counsel to ensure the President’s rights are assured. Lindsey Graham has gone as far as saying that his goal is to make it go away fast. The Supreme Court taking on the question of whether a sitting president is subject to harassing subpoenas basically guts the second Article of Impeachment because that action says that the President had a sufficiently strong case to ignore subpoenas that it merited a hearing.
So how, then, does Nancy Pelosi take this exit off the autobahn? How does she avoid sending Articles of Impeachment to the Senate where they will be revealed to be the partisan and dishonest claptrap that they are in a forum where the leftwing media cannot impose an omerta?
We may see that strategy forming. As my colleague Bonchie posted earlier, (READ Chuck Schumer Releases His Impeachment Demands as Republicans Throw Their Heads Back In Laughter) Chuck Schumer has issued a series of demands to Mitch McConnell. Essentially, what Schumer wants to do is litigate an entirely different case than the one the House will send over. We don’t know how McConnell will handle this or the limits he may impose upon Schumer’s demands. What Schumer is clearly trying to do is lay the groundwork for declaring President Trump’s acquittal to be illegitimate (this has become a preferred Democrat strategy whenever they can’t get their way).
Wacko law professor, Laurence Tribe, takes it a step further.
By “withholding” the Articles I don’t mean not voting for them — I mean voting for them but holding off on transmitting them to the Senate. https://t.co/w8uBMTGIlT
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) December 16, 2019
There’s a growing view that unless McConnell agrees to hold a fair trial, the House should vote to impeach but not send the articles to the Senate. If the Senate won’t do its job honestly, they shouldn’t be allowed to do it dishonestly.
— Ian Bassin (@ianbassin) December 16, 2019
The idea is that the House will vote on Articles of Impeachment. But rather than sending those Articles to the Senate, Nancy Pelosi will stuff them on a Mason jar and bury them in her backyard. That way she can tell her base that she voted to impeach but the Senate will not treat the Articles seriously and therefore, rather than have them voted on, she’s just going to do nothing. I’m not even vaguely conversant on House rules so I don’t know the degree to which this is even possible.
I suspect the calculus here is that Democrats can then run in 2020 based on the theme that they need a Democrat Senate in order to act on the impeachment while mollifying the drooling Democrat base with the shiny object of impeachment. I don’t see how that works. If Trump wins in 2020, there is a greater than 50-50 chance that the House flips. Trump is president and the Articles of Impeachment are dead. If the Senate flips to Democrat control, the new House and Senate are sworn in on January 3, the old Articles of Impeachment have lapsed, and they have about two weeks to vote, again, on the Articles of Impeachment and conduct the trial–before voting to acquit. If Trump loses, who cares?
More to the point, if the Democrats are really concerned that the Senate will give this nonsense short-shrift, they should force a vote and then run on the unfairness of it all. Running on unfairness when the process is being short-stopped by the Democrats seems to be a stretch.
The only saving grace in this strategy is that it keeps the Democrats from being humiliated in a Senate trial, keeps impeachment alive, and lets Nancy Pelosi try to change the subject for her vulnerable House members.