Monday, 31 December 2018

Is Impeachment of Trump a Foregone Conclusion?

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The Democrats are set to take control of the House of Representatives this week. After they vote to make Nancy Pelosi of California the next in the presidential line of succession, should simultaneous death befall both President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence (I’ll pause a moment while you shudder at that thought), they’ll have some serious business to conduct.

And quite a bit of it will have to do with the possible impeachment of the current president.

Leftist and political hit-job specialist Elizabeth Drew certainly thinks so. In the New York Times last Friday, Drew penned a piece entitled The Inevitability of Impeachment, in which she makes the case that a coming impeachment of President Trump is not only likely but “inescapable.”

Drew wrote: “It always seemed to me that Mr. Trump’s turbulent presidency was unsustainable and that key Republicans would eventually decide that he had become too great a burden for the party or too great a danger to the country. That time may have arrived.”

The 83-year-old Drew probably doesn’t get outside the D.C. bubble much, and that is likely how Trump’s situation looks to those unable to see anything beyond the beltway. Out here in flyover country — an area of the country which people like Drew don’t like to acknowledge — the president’s popularity still goes up or down, depending on the situation and who you ask.

But while the current government shut-down will be foremost on the minds of Congress in the coming weeks, House Democrats are already making moves in anticipation of the impeachment of Donald J. Trump.

CNN is giddily reporting that the House Judiciary Committee is advertising for lawyers with experience in, “criminal law, immigration law, constitutional law, intellectual property law, commercial and administrative law (including anti-trust and bankruptcy), or oversight work.”

Lest you think that the Judiciary Committee is always looking for good lawyers with those exact qualifications, know also that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is also looking for “executive branch investigative counsel.”

“We’re being deluged with resumes, really impressive resumes,” said Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). “There will be no shortage of good candidates. The difficulty will be choosing among them.”

It seems as if Democrats are of a one-track-mind as it pertains to the upcoming 116th United States Congress. Impeachment of Donald Trump is first, everything else comes after that. The names of the expected committee chairpersons read like a Donald Trump enemies list.

Schiff, a frequent and outspoken critic of the president, is expected to lead the House Intelligence Committee. Earlier this month on CBS’s Face the Nation, Schiff said of the president, “There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him, that he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.” In his role as chair of the Intelligence Committee, Schiff intends to focus on accusations of money laundering in connection with the Trump Organization.

Expected to hold the gavel in the House Financial Services Committee is Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who has repeatedly called upon supporters to harass members of the Trump administration in public. Waters is expected to subpoena the president’s tax returns and investigate possible money laundering scheme involving the Duetsche Bank.

Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who is expected to head the important House Oversight Committee recently told Reuters, “The most important thing for the Oversight Committee to do is to get back to regular order by obtaining documents and interviewing witnesses, and actually holding the Trump administration accountable to the American people.”

In the end, the House Judiciary Committee will be the one to decide whether there are sufficient grounds on which to move forward with impeachment proceedings. Expected to be the head of that committee is Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who has been described by Trump as, “one of the most egregious hacks in contemporary politics.”

Although Jerrold is signaling that he would only call for impeachment if there is bi-partisan support, he recently told Rolling Stone magazine, “I see my role as trying to protect the public from an administration that has trampled on constitutional liberties, trampled on democratic norms.”

All of these House committees are intended to provide oversight, but they all seem to be heading into the 116th Congress with prosecutorial attitudes. With the upcoming series of investigations, surely, they will find something that they can refer to as “evidence” of High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Is there any doubt that once the Democrats gather their so-called evidence that Nadler will press for impeachment in the Judiciary Committee?

But impeachment is not a forgone conclusion. The next House of Representatives will break 235 Democrats to 199 Republicans. Since a simple majority is all that is needed to move impeachment proceedings on to the Senate, those numbers might seem insurmountable; until you realize that not all 235 Democrats are from California, New York or Washington, D.C.

Those Democrats from flyover country will ultimately have to answer to their constituents; not Nancy Pelosi. Any vote to impeach based on flimsy evidence will not play well in swing districts in the middle of the country. So, not every Democrat is automatically a “yes” vote on impeachment.

If the Mueller Investigation or the various congressional witch-hunts don’t turn up any damning or irrefutable evidence of Trump wrongdoing, a conviction in the Senate — which calls for two-thirds supermajority vote —doesn’t seem likely, which will mean that House Democrats would have wasted a whole lot of time without the desired result of removing Donald Trump from the White House.

Photo: Ed-Ni-Photo/iStock/Getty Images Plus

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