The House of Representatives impeached President Trump, and at long last, some Democratic members of the House and plenty of progressive activists got what they’ve wanted since January 2017.
Naturally, however, that’s not enough. With removal from office as likely as there being a faraway world with munchkins, yellow brick roads, and flying monkeys, Trump, not Vice President Mike Pence, will serve as president until at least January 2021.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there was almost zero chance Trump gets removed, and Sen. Lindsey Graham said he would vote to acquit Trump. As such, some are all agog, saying, “How dare you, sir?” They want House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to engage in one last desperate scheme: not sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
Latching on to this odd idea are the likes of Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, Democratic superstar Michael Avenatti, former Florida lobbyist and congressman David Jolly, former Breitbart flack Kurt Bardella, and others. The idea is that holding onto the articles to demand that McConnell commit to an “open and fair trial” will put pressure on senators in swing states facing reelection in 2020 to follow suit. That list includes Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Martha McSally of Arizona, to name a few.
The only thing missing from this idea is the scheduling of the clown-shoe fitting for those advocating for this desperation move.
The major problem in this latest scheme to get Trump out of office is that the House has no say over how the Senate conducts an impeachment trial. If McConnell wants to pay homage to the O.J. Simpson trial and have the Dancing Itos perform for everyone and serve as witnesses, he can do that. The revered Constitution gives the Senate “sole power to try all impeachments.” That means it’s McConnell’s gig.
When Republicans offered up complaints about the House impeachment process, the chorus of “Deal with it!” echoed from the halls of Congress to the television studios of CNN and MSNBC and the newsrooms of the Washington Post and the New York Times.
What goes around comes around, I suppose.
I’ve said many times, both publicly and in private, that public opinion would have to shift in a significant way for there to be a chance to get a simple majority in the Senate to vote for removal, let alone the requisite two-thirds majority. That figure would have to be 66% or higher. As it stands, the RealClearPolitics polling for impeachment and removal is at 47%, with those opposing at 48%.
It won’t make much of a difference because once again, the commentariat and other insiders don’t get that people aren’t sitting around saying, “Well, Cory Gardner won’t put pressure on Mitch McConnell to offer up a fair impeachment trial, so I am definitely voting against him!”
If reverence for the Constitution and the oath senators take are so sacrosanct, perhaps they should reach out to some Democrats, including Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Michael Bennett. All have implied they’d vote to convict Trump even before the impeachment articles passed the House.
The “hold the articles” gambit is a terrific example of Washington insider nonsense that is a nonstarter in the hinterlands or even the suburbs. The idea will fail, and McConnell will sit back smiling and think of Napoleon Bonaparte, who said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”