Democrats Want Impeachment, but They've Already Screwed That Up

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Right now, Nancy Pelosi is under pressure from her freshly-seated House to push ahead on a second impeachment of President Donald Trump, alleging that he directly incited the violent riot that overtook the Capitol building on Wednesday.

Reporter Jamie Dupree breaks it down in his newsletter this morning:

SECOND TRUMP IMPEACHMENT? Outraged over Wednesday’s violent attack on the Capitol by supporters of President Trump, many Democrats are calling for another impeachment vote against the President before his term ends on January 20. Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted that her phone was blowing up with ‘impeach, impeach, impeach.’ Pelosi will talk with Democrats Friday afternoon about what’s next.

IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH. A quick stroll through the Twitter accounts of Democrats shows the desire to act after the Capitol attack. “We must reconvene to proceed with articles of impeachment immediately,” said Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY). “We need impeachment,” said Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), one of the more conservative Democrats in Congress. “Sign me up,” said Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL).

This, of course, comes in the wake of Republicans abandoning the charge to object to the certification of electors in Congress, multiple Cabinet members resigning ahead of Trump’s term ending, and multiple reports that members of the administration were discussing the 25th Amendment for the first time in the four years of Trump’s presidency. It also comes as multiple Republicans across the country publicly attack the President for his role in the riot.

Set aside for a moment whether or not Trump is actually guilty of inciting the violent protest that took place on Wednesday. Set aside whether or not you agree with the idea that he should be removed from office over it. Set all your feelings aside and answer this question: Do the Democrats really have any political capital for impeachment left after the first attempt?

Nancy Pelosi, who has played this impeachment game before.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

They so badly botched the first go-round that despite having a host of retiring Republicans who were leaving specifically because they don’t like Trump they couldn’t get a single one of those Republicans to cross the aisle to join them. They would not fight to bring in witnesses, claiming that it would just get tied up in the courts. They simply didn’t want the fight of impeachment. Just the spectacle.

No Republican in Congress would join in on it now because they can’t trust that the Democrats wouldn’t overplay their hands and blow it again. Regardless of whether or not they particularly like Trump, many of these Republicans are still going to be relying on his voters in future elections – specifically the 2022 elections they should be laying the groundwork for now – and they aren’t going to risk losing any portion of that because the Democrats can’t get their act together.

Last time, Adam Schiff more or less forced Nancy Pelosi’s hand by helping orchestrate the whistleblower allegations. By not involving her from the beginning, he threw her a curveball and she had to react with charges that lacked any real bite. She wasn’t motivated to put any real fight into it, and that left incompetent members of her caucus to run the circus that followed.

She is not going to be motivated to bring forward articles of impeachment now because 1) there are twelve days left in Trump’s term and he’s all but signalled he’s staying out of sight and 2) she knows she doesn’t have the political capital to do it again.

What’s more, the real fight isn’t in removing him from office. It’s in barring him from future office. I am not convinced that doing so wouldn’t invite more chaos to Washington D.C. and around the country, and that is something she is also probably considering right now. If a single rally could invite a mob into the Capitol building, what could stripping Trump of his ability to run again do? She doesn’t want to risk that.

Impeachment likely won’t happen, the 25th Amendment talks are staffer-led and not being seriously considered, and at this point I think everyone including Trump just wants him to lay low for a while.