This is definitely a silly season in regards to the imminent impeachment of Donald Trump. The House will vote on the Articles of Impeachment tonight. At that point we are are in the firmly into the territory of what us Army operations types call “branches and sequels.”
The first question is will Nancy Pelosi actually send the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate. A little earlier in the week that BIG IDEA on the left was that she wouldn’t. She would claim that the Senate was biased, that the trial would not give a fair hearing to the Articles of Impeachment, and rather than have them ridiculed and dismissed she would preserve the impeachment by refusing to allow a Senate vote. (See Laurence Tribe Throws Nancy Pelosi a Lifeline by Giving Her an Off-Ramp From Impeachment.) I don’t think this will happen but I’m not sure anyone knows what happens if she decides to do this.
Assuming the Articles of Impeachment go to the Senate, the McConnell can either call a vote to dismiss them or hold a trial. I think we can rule out the summary dismissal, though the left did try to start that outrage yesterday (READ: No, McConnell Did Not Pledge to Dismiss the Impeachment Charges, But He Did Show Schumer to Be a Hypocrite.)
If a trial is held, then when will it be and how long will it last. It looks right now that McConnell is in no mood to let the trial drag out (see Mitch McConnell Summarily Rejects Chuck Schumer’s Impeachment Trial Demands and Tells Him There Will Be No New Witnesses) though this will cause major butthurt on the left. This leads us to the timing of the trial.
Yesterday, my colleague Bonchie wrote a post cautioning about a “January surprise.” The idea is that the longer the lag until a trial, the greater the ability of the Democrats to pull a “Kavanaugh” and throw brand new allegations, sans evidence, into the proceeding. That is a very real risk as this entire sham impeachment is strictly about hurting the ability of the Trump administration to govern, be it for one more year…or five more.
Which brings us to this rumor.
Mark Halperin was quite a big thing in political media until laid low by the #MeToo movement. Since his defenestration from polite company he has been trying to make a come back…if I can say that given the nature of the allegations against him. He was on The Michael Smerconish Program on SiriusXM earlier today and claimed that sources close to Mitch McConnell told him that McConnell intends to hold the impeachment trial in December.
Does that mean finish the whole trial or start it? Halperin isn’t all that clear. If McConnell stands firm in refusing to let Schumer call random federal employees to testify, then the entire trial could be over in fairly short order. Regardsless, if McConnell could do it, it would be epic. The trial would take place over Christmas and the New Years holiday. Only hardcore political junkies will be watching and the time horizon for the Democrats to play some clown game with unsupported allegations (in addition to the ones in the Articles of Impeachment) will be severely shortened. Before the left’s outrage machine could crank up, it would be over.
Can McConnell do this? If he thinks it gives him an advantage and he can whip the votes, yes.
Will it happen? Who knows?