Monday, 29 July 2019

Dems Raise Spectre of Impeachment, But Will It Go Anywhere?

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The Democrats who have hounded President Trump since before he even took office seem to live by two mottos: “Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good narrative” and “Never say die.” Following both of those mottos and appearing to hope to take advantage of the shift in the balance of power after last year’s elections, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is pressing for impeachment of President Trump.

“He richly deserves impeachment. He has done many impeachable offenses. He’s violated the law six ways from Sunday,” Nadler said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, adding, “The question is: can we develop enough evidence to put before the American people? We’ve broken the logjam.”

Of course, Nadler’s remarks come on the heels of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s July 24 testimony before both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee about his investigation of allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Mueller had broadened his investigation to include obstruction of justice when it failed to uncover evidence of any such collusion. In the end, he also failed to produce any solid evidence of obstruction, but refused to exonerate President Trump of those allegations. Democrats have latched onto the narrow sliver of those allegations and now seem prepared to open an inquiry of impeachment of the president on the charge that lacked sufficient evidence to warrant criminal charges stemming from Mueller’s probe.

Nadler said that despite claims by the president and others, including Attorney General William Barr, that Mueller’s report exonerates Trump of collusion, “The hearing the other day was an inflection point because it showed quite clearly that the report did not exonerate the president.” However, Mueller’s testimony was inconsistent with his report. His report plainly stated that “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Allow this writer to translate that into plain English for Nadler and company: “No evidence of collusion = exoneration.” Period (or as former President Obama would say, “Full stop.”) But remember motto number one: “Never let the facts get in the way of a good narrative.”

Nadler told CNN that “anyone else who had done what he did would have been indicted for at least five different major crimes.” He went on to say that the president should be “impeached and removed from office if you can prove those crimes” and “should be prosecuted” afterward.

Conspicuously absent is any clear list of those “five major crimes.” Typical. The Democrat M.O. of accusing the president without anything resembling either evidence or quantification is to throw out vague generalities without any specificity. This is similar to his “six ways from Sunday” comment quoted above: It has all the appearance of strength with none of the substance. In that, it reminds this writer of an oft-used expression he heard while living in Texas. The expression — used to describe someone who is merely posing — was, “He’s all hat and no cattle.” In short, Nadler uses a plethora of strong-sounding words, but says nothing that means anything.

On Friday, Democrats — hanging onto the fading hope of obstruction charges for dear life — moved tenuously toward impeachment when Nadler’s committee asked a federal court to compel the release of grand jury information from Mueller’s probe. Nadler told ABC’s This Week that his committee is still investigating whether to report its considerations for impeachment resolutions to the full House or write up a draft of its own. Enter motto number two: “Never say die.” Nadler and company — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — are holding out for a strong case before beginning the process of impeachment. This is because — as Pelosi herself has said — Democrats risk political ruin if they attempt, and fail, at impeachment.

So, it appears that Democrats such as Nadler are merely rattling their sabers without any actual plans to even attempt — much less succeed — impeaching the president.

And, to put in the for-what-it’s-worth column, the bar for impeachment — according to Aticle II, section 4 of the Constitution — is set at “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” A president impeached and convicted of such “shall be removed from office,” at which time he or she shall be subject to criminal conviction. If such evidence existed, it is reasonable to assume that Mueller’s team would have — during its 675 day-long probe, involving roughly 3,000 subpoenas — uncovered such. As it is, it did not. Borrowing again from the former president, “Period. Full stop.”

Since an investigation that left no stone — real or imagined — unturned found any such evidence of those alleged crimes, it is fair to say, it does not exist. Furthermore, since — according to Article II, section 4 — impeachment would require conviction by the still-Republican-controlled Senate before removal from office and the criminal charges Nadler imagines, the infantile idea is little more than a pipe dream for beleaguered Democrats as they plan for the 2020 elections. As Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, impeachment “is going nowhere.”

 Photo: AP Images

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