Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, May 23, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Since the day the 116th Congress convened, to the exclusion of all other business, the Democrats have worked toward this moment. After forcing Americans to endure their three-month-long circus, and finally achieving their goal, they abruptly slammed on the brakes. Pelosi told reporters, “We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side and I would hope that that will be soon…So far, we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us.”
House Democratic Whip James Clyburn told CNN’s John Berman that he is willing hold off on sending the approved articles of impeachment to the Senate for “as long as it takes” them to guarantee a fair trial in the Senate. They know it’s unlikely that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will allow Pelosi to dictate terms to him.
Aside from the obvious hypocrisy that they should be entitled to anything resembling fairness after the abomination of an impeachment inquiry they’ve just presided over, is this merely their ostensible reason for not moving forward? There are several real reasons why the Democrats may opt for this path.
Pelosi might be taking the advice of far left Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe who’s been advocating for this strategy. If Democrats held onto the approved impeachment articles, it would allow time for the lawsuits over witnesses and financial records to play out. In the meantime, they can continue to investigate the President.
Additionally, it will hold President Trump in limbo. He will remain suspended in a state somewhere in between impeachment and acquittal. This will backfire on them. Because Trump will go out and campaign on it. He’ll say, ‘Look what they’re doing to me now. Can you believe it?’ It will make Democrats look manipulative and small in the eyes of voters except, of course, to those who make up their base.
They may believe that by holding out, it will give them leverage with Mitch McConnell. But I think McConnell made himself abundantly clear in his address on the Senate floor on Thursday morning. McConnell said, “Speaker Pelosi’s House of Representatives just gave into a temptation that every House in American history has managed to resist.” He called this impeachment “the thinnest, weakest, and shoddiest” since the outbreak of the Civil War and claimed it was “antithetical to the Constitution. Nothing else comes close.” He will not be bullied by Pelosi. (I posted about his powerful speech here.)
The Boston Globe reports that this approach may be “gaining traction inside the left wing of the House Democratic Caucus” this week. On Wednesday, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said, “he has spoken to three dozen Democratic lawmakers who had expressed some level of enthusiasm for the idea of rounding out the record and spending the time to do this right.”
Tribe sent out a tweet on Wednesday which read, “The House has the right to hold the articles. Senate rules requiring the House to ‘immediately’ present its articles of impeachment to the Senate clearly violate the constitutional clause in Article I giving each house the sole power to make its own rules. It’s up to the House when and how to prosecute its case in the Senate.”
According to the Globe, “A senior Democratic aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations said the impeachment articles will be held until Pelosi names impeachment managers, the House members who will present the case for Trump’s removal in the Senate. There will be a debate and vote on that resolution [naming the managers], the aide said.”
So, the Democrats have any number of reasons why they got out of Dodge without handing over the articles of impeachment. But what is the real reason for their hesitation? Could this unexpected demand for “fairness” just be a graceful way out for them?
Democrats are in a very unenviable position right now. They’ve just forced through the impeachment of the President of the United States on false premises. Everyone knows it. Even their base probably knows it was mendacious, although they’re thrilled with the result.
A Senate trial scares the hell out of them. If the origins of this latest attempted coup against President Trump were to be revealed, it would leave a stain on the Democratic Party that would last for a generation. Witness number one, the whistleblower, is believed to be CIA officer Eric Ciaramella. Ciaramella’s connections to Schiff’s staff, his work for John Brennan, whose communications records have just been requested by the Durham team, and Susan Rice, who along with Samantha Powers, was responsible for the unmasking of over 300 Americans, his work alongside DNC operative Alexandra Chalupa digging up dirt on candidate Donald Trump in 2016, his dismissal from the White House in 2017 for leaking derogatory information against President Trump (and this is just scratching the surface), would all be exposed. (For a more complete list, please see investigative journalist Paul Sperry’s full report here.)
The impeachment inquiry took us so far away from the whistleblower who triggered it, we’ve almost forgotten how it began.
When the American people meet Ciaramella and fully understand that he submitted his complaint for the sole purpose of instigating an impeachment inquiry, and learn about his activities and close associations in D.C., the limited credibility the Democratic Party still retains will evaporate.
Just months after their first coup attempt, the Trump/Russia collusion investigation, ended in failure, a scandal which preoccupied the news cycle for nearly three years, the Democrats tried to foist a new one upon us. And this one was brought to us by Adam Schiff, one of the most dishonorable men on the planet.
It’s Trump/Russia collusion 2.0. The Democrats are interfering with the 2020 election because their efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, despite their most valiant efforts, failed.
The Wall Street Journal’s Holman Jenkin’s, Jr. says this far more eloquently than I can. This follows “Democrats’ and the media’s astonishing and studied obliviousness to the bonfire they made of their own credibility with the Russia hoax. Unless I miss my guess, even many Trump-skeptical voters have no interest in giving victory to so corrupt an opposition.”
And that’s the biggest reason for the Democrats to avoid a Senate trial.