Impeachable (Open Thread)

I’ve talked myself off the “Trump must be impeached now!” ledge by acknowledging two obvious facts: impeachment is a political instrument, and there aren’t enough House Democrats in favor of it right now to proceed. It was inexcusably naive of me to think of it any other way, of course.

As a political instrument, impeachment can’t realistically have a “moral imperative” attached to it since political acts either result in good or bad outcomes for the party committing them, and that is the measure of their success or failure.

If we’re serious about upholding the rule of law in the executive branch in a post-Trump era, we’ll have to figure out another enforcement avenue. The constitutional remedy has been rendered garbage by partisan extremists in the Republican Party who’ve made it clear where their allegiance lies.

Liz Warren and others who point out that Congress has a constitutional duty to act are correct, and I’m glad they’re saying so. But reality is what it is, and that’s what Nancy Pelosi is dealing with right now.

The political risk Pelosi is trying to avoid is galvanizing Trump’s base through an impeachment process that will inevitably end in “exoneration” in the Senate, no matter what the investigation uncovers. That the Senate Republicans will “exonerate” Trump regardless is a near-universally acknowledged truth.

The argument is whether that should be a factor in a decision to impeach or not. I can see both sides of that argument, but if the ultimate goal is to get rid of Trump as soon as possible, the reality is we have to get people on board for impeachment through investigations, if only to clear the “impeached in the House” hurdle, and that work isn’t complete.

The case for impeachment on obstruction grounds is clearly laid out in the Mueller Report, which turfed the decision to Congress, only to have a corrupt AG inappropriately take that decision for himself. Many public actions taken by Trump establish obstruction of justice beyond a reasonable doubt, IMO, but that doesn’t matter politically. Everyone already knows he obstructed the investigation at every turn since he did so in public and even on camera, but Republicans don’t care.

Maybe the thing to do is to take a step back and refocus the investigation. Stipulate (publicly!) that Trump obstructed justice but is effectively above the law because the AG and Congressional Republicans are okay with obstruction of justice committed by fellow Republicans, even though many of those self-same Republicans impeached Bill Clinton on that same charge related to a much more trivial matter (clips of 90s-era Lindsey Graham making floor speeches would be helpful in making this case).

Instead of focusing on bad acts committed by Trump in Part II of the Mueller Report, which is what an impeachment for obstruction of justice would be, perhaps the House Democrats could focus instead on the more consequential heart of the investigation in Part I, which concerned a hostile foreign power’s interference in our election.

That national security threat is ongoing, even according to Trump-appointed intel people, who can be brought before Congress to attest to the urgency. After all, the Mueller Report’s official title is “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.” We deserve a public airing of the answers contained in that report and an examination of what has been done to address the ongoing threat, which is pretty much nothing because it hurts Trump’s feelings.

So, make the investigation about Russian interference, with Trump and the compromised and convicted felons associated with his 2016 campaign a sidebar to a larger issue. Trump and his corrupt AG are weaponizing intel to punish political enemies under the rubric of conspiring to interfere with an election, absurdly claiming that Democrats conspired with Russia, even though the Mueller Report makes it clear that Russian efforts were laser-focused on electing Trump.

Okay, then. Call their goddamned bluff and hold public hearings on the origins of the Russia investigation and what it uncovered, which wasn’t at all exculpatory for Trump and his minions, as everyone who’s actually read the report (maybe 5% of Americans, if that) knows.

Trump will whine about “do overs” and “no obstruction” and “no collusion” because he’s successfully made it all about himself. His argument is easier to make to low-info voters if the investigation is focused on Trump’s obstruction of justice.

But the Mueller Report is not and it never was all about Trump, and to manage the risks associated with an impeachment inquiry, perhaps we need to flip that script. When Trump objects to the House investigating Russia’s role in electing Trump and its ongoing actions, ask why he’s opposed to securing our elections against future foreign interference. Frame it as a dire national security threat — which has the advantage of being true — and dare Trump to publicly get in the way of addressing it.

Maybe that’s the path forward.






77 replies
  1. 1
    Zzyzx says:

    I’m against impeachment for the depressing reason that I think we’ve already pretty much lost the fight for democracy in the short term. The Senate is too messed up right now. All I’m hoping for is to minimize the damage until things can change. I don’t care about how history judges; my focus is on getting Trump out and figuring things out from there.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    cope says:

    I’m staying on the ledge for now. Republicans knew they couldn’t convict Clinton and went ahead anyway.

    This extraordinarily corrupt and criminal presidency* must be held accountable. If for no other reason than the grand political theater it would provide, I can’t give up the idea that impeachment is necessary.

    Everybody always says “What would the Republicans have done if Obama had (insert any trump atrocity)?” Well, we know what the Republicans would/did do even with scant evidence about Clinton and the Dems should go right ahead and play that card.

    The Republican Party will never be reasonable again and must be neutered. Impeachmeant would be a good faith effort on the part of the Democrats to begin that process. Why do they always insist on bringing no more than a righteous sense of outrage to a knife fight?

    Probably because I am old and want to live long enough to see the check come due for 40 years of what Charlie Pierce calls the “Republican prion disease” I will remain on the ledge for now.

  4. 4
    Brachiator says:

    I acknowledge your well-reasoned position, and agree with most of your points, except for this:

    The political risk Pelosi is trying to avoid is galvanizing Trump’s base through an impeachment process that will inevitably end in “exoneration” in the Senate, no matter what the investigation uncovers.

    I do not see the value in excessively worrying about galvanizing Trump’s base. You could use this to rationalize doing nothing about almost anything. And I am not certain that anyone can point out examples of where these people were ever galvanized.

    Also, failure to convict is not the same thing as exoneration. Are you trying to be ironic by referring to a tactic that Trump would use to deflect the negative judgement that impeachment would bring?

  5. 5
    NotMax says:

    The violation of and thumbing of the nose at legality, the pummeling and smashing of norms and precedent, the malfeasance and misfeasance of office, the sneering at the oath of office, the trampling of the Constitution with golf shoes, cannot be ignored and must be delineated and entered into the record, not just whispered about nor pussyfoted around.

    Posterity deserves no less.

  6. 6
    Mary G says:

    I hope she waits until next year, opens an impeachment inquiry and runs out the clock. Oops! Sorry, no time for a trial in the Senate. The screaming tweets would be off the charts.

  7. 7
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    I wonder if Nancy is preparing behind the scenes for impeachment proceedings, while waiting for a groundswell of public (and congressional) support before moving forward publicly.

  8. 8
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: Perhaps, like FDR, she wants us to make her do it.

    Edit function unresponsive on not-so-smart phone.

  9. 9
    zhena gogolia says:

    @O. Felix Culpa:

    I’m virtually certain she is.

  10. 10
    hells littlest angel says:

    I’m all in favor of sloooow-walking impeachment. Let Democrats investigate. Let Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff and other formidable fighters do their job. Let the tax returns and bank documents come out. Let the Orangutan in Chief’s henchmen thumb their noses at subpoenas until the courts (I guess we have to say, one hopes) force them to comply or go to jail. Let the American people see Senate Republicans kiss the buttocks of the increasingly deranged Queens County Caligula, and let those Senators make excuses to their constituents for accepting his criminality. Keep up the pressure until Republicans give in or Trump has a brain aneurysm.

    A rush to impeachment means no conviction in the Senate and The Orange Better One crowing that he has been “exonerated.”

  11. 11
    NotMax says:

    @O. Felix Culpa

    To hijack a phrase, you bet your sweet bippy.

    There’s a process and a procedure. Like all sausage making, it’s best done out of view.

  12. 12
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Brachiator:

    And I am not certain that anyone can point out examples of where these people were ever galvanized.

    The 2016 general election results were driven in part by a historic urban-rural divide. Here’s an NPR piece with data on that — just one of many examples. Those folks were galvanized by Trump’s racist, sexist, xenophobic demagoguery. It’s speculation to say impeachment would galvanize them too, but it’s a strong possibility since Trump has built a cult in rural America.

    Also, failure to convict is not the same thing as exoneration. Are you trying to be ironic by referring to a tactic that Trump would use to deflect the negative judgement that impeachment would bring?

    I’m stating an obvious fact about how both Trump and Senate Republicans would frame a failure to convict in the Senate. I know that’s how they’d frame it because they’ve already framed the non-exculpatory Mueller Report in those terms.

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  14. 14
    donnah says:

    I will stand with Nancy Pelosi because she knows her party history, she’s seen impeachment proceedings firsthand, and she can read the room. If she feels she won’t get a Senate vote and she’s questioning the numbers in the House, then I say let Nancy be Nancy. I trust her.

  15. 15
    West of the Cascades says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: that sounds very Nancy Smash-ish.

  16. 16
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Mary G: Hmmm. All the while saying that this could have been wrapped up by now if only Trump had cooperated. I think I like that.

  17. 17
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @zhena gogolia: Maybe even literally certain. 😉 Where’s Steve in the Wherever when pedantry is needed!

  18. 18
    MattF says:

    Wikipedia has an article on ‘Efforts to impeach Barak Obama’, and I recall that some R representatives weht around wearing ‘Impeach’ buttons. What these asshole recongnized is that ‘President while black’ is an impeachable political offense.

    Trump’s political offenses are many and varied– and that’s where we need to focus. And, not coincidentally, that’s where Pelosi is focussed.

  19. 19
    West of the Cascades says:

    @Betty Cracker: I’m on the fence about impeachment, too – and I wonder if one of the calculations should be, if Trump is impeached, what effect the votes of some Senators to not remove Trump would have on their reelection chances? I could see Collins, Ernst, McSally, Gardner, Tillis, even Perdue and Cornyn having some additional Democratic groundswell against them if they voted to exonerate Trump.

  20. 20
    Brachiator says:

    @O. Felix Culpa:

    I wonder if Nancy is preparing behind the scenes for impeachment proceedings, while waiting for a groundswell of public (and congressional) support before moving forward publicly

    I don’t see the point of this. Support for Bill Clinton was strong from the spring of 1998 through his impeachment and Senate trial, and Republicans still insist that they did the right thing.

    I can see Pelosi pushing for further investigation to assemble evidence, but she should also pay attention to the veteran prosecutors who have pointed out that there is a strong case with respect to obstruction of justice.

  21. 21
    ruemara says:

    Yes. It’s more the media will report it as a personal vendetta & the Dems attacking the rough edged POTUS, but yes. She’s keeping him destabilized with what she says.

    The bigger issue is, if y’all are so gung ho on impeachment, why aren’t you doing it for the power structure under the beast? Taking it out on Trump is the epitome of falling for a feint.

  22. 22

    He should be impeached IMO, that said I also trust NP’s political judgment about the how and when.

  23. 23

    I’m with Nancy…because she seems to have magic powers over Trump (or rather, she can read him, play him and embarrass him with one sentence).

    Slow-walk impeachment – but I’m with Betty on this – investigate the shit out of Russian interference. Call Mitch McConnell to testify why he blocked every effort to reveal it in 2016. Call in Pres. Obama to detail what steps he took. And bring it on – have testimony on how investigating that led to investigating Trump.

    All under the umbrella of securing the United States and watch republicans twist themselves trying to block it and showing their true alliance is to Putin.

    Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

  24. 24
    Bostonian says:

    Perhaps Pelosi could schedule the delivery of an impeachment vote for October 2020.

  25. 25
    Baud says:

    Comparing Democrats and Republicans doesn’t make sense. Republicans have a more dedicated base of haters and the media in their pocket. The political calculus for Democrats is different.

  26. 26
    MomSense says:

    @O. Felix Culpa:

    That’s what I think, too. We can have investigations without calling them impeachment at the outset.

    If we want trump impeached and removed from office, we have to organize. In every district with a Republican MoC and/or Senator we have to educate and we have to follow that GOP MoC everywhere they go asking them to comment on specific high crimes. Right now the focus is on Pelosi and Dems and I see our party heading for a rift at the worst possible time. We have to refocus our efforts on Republicans and public education and opinion.

    I like the idea of Mueller Report Book clubs and US Constitution study groups. I don’t know if indivisible or Women’s March groups are the appropriate organizing groups but we shoud start somewhere. We need to identify local resources. Who are the local people who can credibly teach us about our Cinsitution? Who can help us understand the Mueller Report and spin off legal cases?

  27. 27
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @Brachiator: I think it makes good political sense. She isn’t seen as rushing into impeachment, i.e. a witchhunt.

  28. 28
    Cermet says:

    @Mary G: Exactly what I said yesterday – wait towards next November to really get the process into high gear (but do follow the slow drip-drip method leading up to then) and bring out all his criminal acts so that when he leaves office, the orange fart cloud goes directly (well, almost) to jail.

  29. 29
    Brachiator says:

    Can we impeach Trump, remove him from office, and vote him out of office just to be sure?

    Pelosi may be kicking Trump around, but he relentlessly persists with his cruelty agenda. From NBC News.

    The director of the agency overseeing legal entry into the United States, including through green cards and asylum, was asked to resign from the agency on Friday, according to a letter sent out to the agency and obtained by NBC News.

    L. Francis Cissna has served as President Trump’s only director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services…

    USCIS is now on the verge of finalizing a rule to restrict legal immigrants who use public benefits from receiving green cards, or legal permanent residency.

    Since the abrupt firing of former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in April, Cissna’s departure has been rumored to follow. The White House, at the direction of senior adviser Stephen Miller, has been eliminating staff who are seen as out of step with more hardline policies.

    Cissna will depart the agency on June 1, according to the letter he sent employees on Friday.

    “As an immigration law and policy professional dedicated to the rule of law like so many of you, I appreciate that this opportunity to serve was a unique experience,” he said in the letter…

    The news comes as the White House is expected to appoint Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of Virginia, to a top immigration policy position.

    It is sad that Cissna hints that the rule of law no longer applies.

  30. 30
    Zzyzx says:

    @Brachiator: if we’re going to galvanize their base, I’d rather it were over policy issues that would help people out instead of impeachment.

    Well unless a smoking gun is found at which point go for it. I’m still thinking Trump is taking after his trolling base where he’s muddying the water with the “that was just a joke” pullbacks. That technique is popular because it works.

  31. 31
    germy says:

    Anytime I find myself wondering if Trump's a willing Russian asset or just a feeble minded dupe, I remind myself of the full page ad he took out in the New York Times in 87'.
    With his "own" money.
    Calling for the dissolution of NATO.
    A month after his KGB guided tour of Moscow

    — Fred Harding (@OPCGhost) May 24, 2019

  32. 32
    MattF says:

    @germy: I would not be surprised to learn that the CIA is in the process of moving its agents out of Russia.

  33. 33
    kindness says:

    I think Nancy Smash is right in that slow walking it will allow the facts to dribble out for the next year, year and a half. By election time next year we could make the TrumpCo Crime Family hearings way more effective to our side at the polls than anything Benghazi! did to Hillary. Might as well use it to your own strengths, especially since this Senate is tribal and wouldn’t convict Trump even if he did shoot someone in broad daylight in the middle of 5th Avenue.

    We can turn America to our side by exposing theirs. Let’s expose.

  34. 34
    Boussinesque says:

    I strongly believe Nancy Smash has a plan for all this to inflict maximum damage on the Trump administration and his enablers in Congress, as others have mentioned. I also think that rushing to impeach now would be a mistake, and that Trump supporters are really, really hoping that we rush in and overstep. One piece of anecdata that contributes to this feeling are actually the ads on the mobile site for Balloon-Juice—the top banner ad (and occasionally the embedded ones that show up inside of posts) are usually “conservative buzz” push polls about “is the media fair to Trump?” or other bullshit, and now I’m seeing the ads in those same locations saying things like “we can’t wait for 2020! need to impeach”, which makes me skeptical of their provenance (I’m certainly not going to tap on them just to see where they actually link to, though–my phone has enough issues without opening up the possibility of malware).

    Let her drag it all out into the light with excruciatingly deliberate investigations–I want to see the bastard’s administration (metaphorically) exsanguinated on the floor of the House with public hearing after public hearing after public hearing. I take great comfort in the fact that Nancy Pelosi is smarter than I’ll likely ever be, politically, so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt for several more months.

  35. 35
    Sure Lurkalot says:

    @TaMara (HFG): McConnell is blocking efforts to secure the 2020 elections from foreign influence. I agree with Ruemara.

  36. 36
    tobie says:

    @Leto: Thanks for the link to the Lawfare article on what subpoena powers the House and especially the Judiciary Committee already has. It seems like the one big difference between regular powers and impeachment powers is that in impeachment proceedings the House would have the authority to request grand jury testimony. For me, the big question still remains how best to educate the American public about Trump’s ‘collusion’ with the Russians. I use the word deliberately: there was ample evidence of collusion even if Mueller could not establish a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Thanks, BC, for explaining your thought process on all of this!

  37. 37

    A word of caution from the Indian elections. BJP was on the ropes and lost three important states in the assembly elections held last November. Fresh from that victory INC decided to make the personality contest against Modi, did not ally with other parties and lost badly. The problem was not just the man at the top but the entire BJP ideological edifice.
    Its true here too, T is uniquely awful but he is more the symptom, the problem is the R party and everything they stand for. Thankfully for us Nancy Pelosi is master politician who knows how to win. I would ignore those who train their fire at Ds for not being perfect.

  38. 38
    Brachiator says:

    @Zzyzx:

    if we’re going to galvanize their base, I’d rather it were over policy issues that would help people out instead of impeachment.

    Again, worry about galvanizing their base is a false issue. People invoke it to rationalize doing nothing.

    Well unless a smoking gun is found at which point go for it.

    There is already sufficient evidence to impeach. Further evidence might be useful.

    @O. Felix Culpa:

    think it makes good political sense. She isn’t seen as rushing into impeachment, i.e. a witchhunt.

    Trump should be hunted down politically and removed from office. Pelosi should accelerate whatever fact finding investigations she needs done and impeach the muthafucka already.

  39. 39
    Sab says:

    @kindness: This Senate is more than just tribal. It’s corrupt and at risk of being implicated. They all took gobs of NRA money, which we now know came mostle from Russia. They pretty much all voted to ease sanctions on Deripaska to get Mitch his aluminum plant. They all knew about the Russian interference in 2016 and went along with suppressing that information.

  40. 40
    DCrefugee says:

    I’m quite happy with the way things are going. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and the finish line is November 2020.

    There’s no question Agent Orange has violated his oath of office and obstructed justice, and should be removed from office. But no one is even thinking about what comes after that. Two observations:

    — Pence is at least more competent than Agent Orange, and would bring in more-competent people, and assuredly will continue the current assault against all things that helped make this country what it is/used to be.

    — If the Dems somehow remove him from office before November 2020, there will be a sympathy vote in the GOP’s favor, one that could make the difference in tight races/states.

    I lived through the televised Watergate hearings in 1973 and 1974, and look forward to helping introduce new generations to the GOP’s venality and corruption.

  41. 41
    Kirk Spencer says:

    I linked a thread the other day, can’t from my phone right now or I’d do it again. The gist was how large corporations lituiate against infringers. In simple, warn warn minor push until every possible chance of nonlitigation relief is exhausted, then go to court. That way the case is solely on the other party both by weight of continued misbehavior despite attempts to stop and the fact all avenues besides court were exhausted

    We’re just past the warning letters and into the lesser attempts to correct phase.

  42. 42
    Chyron HR says:

    @kindness:

    By election time next year we could make the TrumpCo Crime Family hearings way more effective to our side at the polls than anything Benghazi! did to Hillary.

    Not when Sore Loser Bernie is on cable news 3 times a night to tell us that investigating Trump is a DISTRATCHYUN from the concerns of white working class real Americans.

  43. 43
    Bill Arnold says:

    Okay, then. Call their goddamned bluff and hold public hearings on the origins of the Russia investigation and what it uncovered, which wasn’t at all exculpatory for Trump and his minions, as everyone who’s actually read the report (maybe 5% of Americans, if that) knows.

    D.J. Trump himself just admitted that he hasn’t read it. As anyone who has read it remembers full well, it is a 448 page PDF. (Even press resports mentioned the length). This, from DJT, is not surprising, just mildly amusing.
    WaPo:
    Trump’s gripe-filled news conference, annotated – ‘I don’t do cover ups’: Trump responds to Pelosi accusation (Aaron Blake May 22, 2019)

    The Wall Street Journal just wrote today, just a little while ago I saw it, “Mr. Mueller wasn’t obstructed in any way.” This is the Wall Street Journal editorial today. “Mr. Mueller wasn’t obstructed in any way. His copious report” — copious, 434 pages, now they want to interview all of the same people again.

    I would like all reporters who have actually read the redacted Mueller report to point out when it’s obvious that somebody talking about the redacted Mueller report hasn’t actually read it. To their faces, and directly and on camera, if the possibility presents itself. (And those who haven’t read it, read it!)

  44. 44
    trnc says:

    @Leto: Great link, thanks. I’ve been wondering about that. The question now is, how much further would those extra powers get us in a timely manners, knowing that DT will fight and drag out every step of the process? Black letter law hasn’t stopped them from obstructing at every turn. That has to be weighed along with the stopwatch that starts ticking as soon as a formal impeachment resolution is introduced. One of the things I like about the current process is that the investigations can take as long as they take. Republicans can scream about why it isn’t over yet, but that sounds pretty hollow when they’re the ones slowing everything down, especially after claiming to be “the most transparent administration in history.”

  45. 45
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Brachiator:

    Again, worry about galvanizing their base is a false issue.

    How do you know that an entire candidacy that was based on grievance can’t gin up impeachment-related grievance to boost turnout? I give Trump credit for very little — he’s not smart or particularly strategic. But he does have an instinct for riling the rubes. Judging by his latest rhetoric, he sure seems to think “they’re out to get me” resonates with the cultists. Maybe it does.

    People invoke it to rationalize doing nothing.

    I’m sure some people do. Others might regard it as a legitimate concern.

  46. 46
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Sab: Great points, and these are all facts that deserve a public airing.

  47. 47
    trnc says:

    @Zzyzx:

    if we’re going to galvanize their base, I’d rather it were over policy issues that would help people out instead of impeachment.

    Sidetracking here, but in fact, I think that should be a direct part of the messaging – that dem policies help everyone, including people who don’t vote for them. Hammer it home in every speech – “I will never support a policy designed to hurt people, no matter who they vote for.”

  48. 48
    Sab says:

    @Betty Cracker: And we won’t get that airing in an impeachment trial in Mitch’s Senate, but we might in House committee hearings.

  49. 49
    trnc says:

    @kindness:

    By election time next year we could make the TrumpCo Crime Family hearings way more effective to our side at the polls than anything Benghazi! did to Hillary.

    I like the sentiment, but that may not be the analogy you want to go with. Republicans working in bad faith (but I repeat myself) successfully hung Benghazi around Hillary’s neck and made it a contributing factor in her electoral college loss. I don’t think it was the primary cause (emails – FTFNYT), but it definitely muddied the waters.

  50. 50
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Zzyzx: Impeachment only works if there is a means to include half the Senate in the proceedings. Lord Dampnut would not be where he is without McConnell, McCarthy, Cruz, Cotton and the rest. They are as guilty of HC&M as he is. A Senate trial on the House’s findings would resemble a mobster trial where the Mafia bribed the jury: the trappings of justice, proofs beyond reasonable doubt, and a foregone conclusion thanks to general corruption.

  51. 51
    japa21 says:

    My 2.5 cents worth.

    1) This is not about galvanizing Trump’s base. They already are galvanized and holding impeachment hearings won’t make them any more or less galvanized.
    2) The vast majority of Americans are only superficially aware of the crimes Trump has committed. Unlike us, who represent the more advanced aspect of humanity, they are more focused on other things, like survival.
    3) This is not about the Dem base. They will come out to vote.
    4) This is about the mushy middle, the one who will most react to the concept of any impeachment inquiry or actual impeachment proceedings as being politically motivated. The media much prefers to repeat GOP charges than Dem truths.
    5) Nancy is working to get the mushy middle to buy into the concept, which is why she is goading Trump. She wants him to lose it in a way that even the mushy middle understands the danger.
    6) The Dem base alone is not enough to beat Trump. Clinton basically lost because of the image portrayed by both Sanders and Trump that she was corrupt. The media made sure that is what the public thought as well.
    7) If the mushy middle see this as only a “witch hunt” motivated purely by spite then the election is lost, as well as the house. If they come around, then we retain the House, win the Oval Office and probably the Senate.

  52. 52
    trnc says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I give Trump credit for very little — he’s not smart or particularly strategic. But he does have an instinct for riling the rubes.

    AND playing the press like a violin. I know that’s been handicapped in favor of republicans since at least Reagan, but DT does have a special and appalling gift.

  53. 53
    Emerald says:

    I’m off the impeachment ledge too. I want to see the shitgibbon in JAIL and that will never happen if he’s removed from office by anything other than the 2020 election. Pence will pardon him for everything in his first five minutes in office. Plus, Pence might be more competent than Trump at a lot of things and so could do more damage to the nation.

    I want hearings. Long, dramatic hearings that indeed will sway public opinion. Once the opinion is swayed and the election is near, then we can impeach him and let the Rethuglicans find him not guilty. By that time their decision will be unpopular and might help us win back the Senate.

    I’m not worried about his base. His base is his base is his base and they are deplorable and irredeemable and are going to vote for him enthusiastically in any case. They are and will remain in a permanently galvanized state.

    We have to get the rest of the country enthusiastic too, and we do that with dramatic hearings. Once we vote him out of office we INDICT the shitstain.

  54. 54
    Betty Cracker says:

    @japa21: You make a great point about the mushy middle. The question of whether or not impeachment would affect base Republican turnout is an open one, IMO, but for sure the effect on the independent vote would be as much if not more consequential.

    @trnc: Also a really good point.

  55. 55
    tokyokie says:

    @japa21: I would like to go on record that I wholeheartedly support galvanizing der Trumpenführer’s base. Just as long as you mean dipping them in molten zinc.

  56. 56
    MomSense says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    People forget that Pelosi has access to private polling. The private pollsters tend to be really good because they can look at specific districts and test in ways that the public polls do not.

  57. 57
    Emerald says:

    @japa21: Yep. Everything you wrote.

  58. 58
    CaseyL says:

    Impeachment would be great, but it would only scratch the surface. The problem isn’t just Trump, it’s the entire edifice: The GOP, dirty money, blackmail and extortion and plain ol’ bribery.

    The GOP was bought out by oligarchs long, long ago. Think about their gutting of the inheritance tax: that allowed oligarchs to flourish. Citizens United was a logical step from that: money = speech, so oligarchs have more right to speak than anyone else; and their interests matter more than anyone else’s.

    I don’t want to go off on a long tangent here, but it does seem to me that there are two things going on here: One, is the immediate damage Trump is doing to America domestically and internationally. Impeachment would stop that, but, the thing is, that’s really the minor consideration. The real damage goes a lot deeper, and impeachment won’t fix it.

    The GOP victory in ’16 was the end goal of a very long campaign to pack the courts with RW extremists. This goes back to the 1990s, when the GOP blocked an unprecedented number of Clinton nominees from being seated. Now that there is a GOP President without even the faintest scintilla of awareness or interest in the law, the GOP Senate is filling courts with hand-picked extremists which will overturn a century’s worth of law and precedent. Impeachment doesn’t address that. That damage is already done. The US has already been the subject of a hostile takeover.

    Maybe Nancy is aware of that, and realizes that impeachment won’t do a whole lot to address what’s actually going on. Nothing in our judicial or political system is designed or meant to deal with a non-military hostile takeover. We saw elections being stolen in plain light, from Bush v. Gore in 2000 to voter suppression in key swing states in ’16 to blatant voter suppression in GA in ’18. We saw it and nothing was done. A Russian oligarch just bought the voting machine company that counts votes in Maryland – what do you think election results out of Maryland will be from now on?

    Impeachment would be a palliative: something to give the patient to make the pain go away for a while, while the underlying disease continues to spread and kill. I have no idea how much of that Nancy knows or thinks about. Maybe a long drawn out investigation that uncovers GOP complicity as well as Trump criminality will make a difference. Or maybe it’ll be no more effective than fighting over lifeboats on the Titanic.

    I think we’re already done.

  59. 59
    Suzanne says:

    @hells littlest angel:

    I’m all in favor of sloooow-walking impeachment.

    Me too. I love how crazy it’s making him.

  60. 60
    JGabriel says:

    @Brachiator:

    Also, failure to convict is not the same thing as exoneration.

    That’s only true when a Democrat isn’t convicted.

    When a Republican isn’t convicted though, it’s always exoneration.

    Those are the rules in both the Republican Party, and the American media.

  61. 61
    J R in WV says:

    I agree that Nancy is doing a great job and needs to keep up slowly increasing pressure over the next 17 months. The various committees should continue their investigations into a wide variety of criminal behavior, both in public, every day, and in private meetings behind the scenes. Once they decide to move beyond investigations into hearings on Impeachment, there should be a list of criminal behavior — it will be almost unbelievable in its length scope and criminality.

    There will be money laundering for murderous gangsters.

    There will be complex bank fraud, tax fraud, wire fraud, etc.

    There will be criminal conspiracy with foreign countries and gangsters.

    There will be white supremacy conspiracy involving hate crimes.

    There will be blackmail and extortion.

    IANAL, so I can’t imagine the additional technical criminality that will show up as these primary crimes are investigated. Getting caught shoplifting or with a bag of dope involves a ton of accessory crimes, so these far more serious crimes should provide several surrounding conspiracy related crimes each. There should be a dozen or more criminal counts once the House votes to impeach, which should come on Halloween.

    I’m good with multiple Senators being implicated by name with specific crimes, names, dates and events, including bank account numbers and dollar amounts. If those all relate to monies from the NRA/Russia that’s OK, but I’ll bet there’s more there if you dig deep enough.

  62. 62
    My Side of Town says:

    Outstanding! Take hearings to the point that it’s declared an impeachment inquiry about the first of October. By late October the Judiciary votes out articles of Impeachment. Nancy doesn’t schedule a vote in the house and says something like, we’re not going to let the corrupt GOP vote on this, but you the people of the United States get to decide.

  63. 63
    opiejeanne says:

    Good essay, Betty Cracker. That’s about where I am on the impeachment issue but kudos for flipping the script. I think that needs to be broadcast far and wide until it makes a dent in the media’s consciousness. .

  64. 64
    suffragettecity says:

    I want a hearing where Auntie Maxine shows the proof of his being broke.
    That’s the one I’m looking forward to..that and the family in cuffs.

    oh and forgot to mention whomever upthread pointed out how some Rs wore impeach buttons re: Obama…this whole presidency has been about impeaching Obama by destroying everything he did.

  65. 65
    Ruckus says:

    Betty
    You wrote, in a much better way than I ever could have, what I have been thinking and saying.
    This is the crux exactly. The republicans have been making a mockery of their lawlessness, trying to turn it into politics as usual, which of course for them, it is. The only difference is that with Trump everything is pretty much out in the open, no smoke filled back rooms, it’s on the front pages of newspapers, on TV, it’s embolden in every person he’s let in to his inner circle and many more that want to be in his inner circle.
    And they’ve all made this so public and political that it’s taken on the facade of normalcy. Which for them it is, but for the rest of us and the country it’s anything but. And because it’s been made just political, it can not be fixed just politically. Laws have been broken and massively broken. So it has to be fixed, legally, not politically. And impeachment is a political act, as was demonstrated by the republicans in 98. So rather than jump on the impeachment bandwagon, it has to be investigated and tried in courts till the evidence is overwhelming in all political circles, just like Nixon. Which will probably have the added advantage of putting Mike Dense squarely in the crosshairs.
    This nightmare can’t be finished by just waking up, it has to be so obvious and so taken apart by the courts that it falls on it’s own.

  66. 66
    My Side of Town says:

    @My Side of Town: It’s a Lucy move, but if the voters give the Senate to the Dems, there will be time to decide to move forward or not in the lame duck session. And it may not be necessary, if dirty Don decides to resign or gets voted out.

  67. 67
    low-tech cyclist says:

    I’m stating an obvious fact about how both Trump and Senate Republicans would frame a failure to convict in the Senate. I know that’s how they’d frame it because they’ve already framed the non-exculpatory Mueller Report in those terms.

    Well, that’s the problem. After a Senate acquittal (or non-trial), how would things be any worse than they are now? They’re already gearing up for show trials of those who investigated Trump.

    Now if the problem is that Nancy secretly wants to impeach, but just doesn’t have enough of her fellow House Dems on board yet, (a) I’d expect her to be more neutral on impeachment, rather than being publicly against it, and (b) I’d at least hope that somebody would be, on her behalf, leaking names of particular Congresspersons who need to be leaned on.

    I have always trusted Nancy Pelosi, but I don’t think there’s any 11-dimensional chess game going on here. Here’s the game:

    1) The Dems are still the Scared Rabbit Party, afraid of their own shadow.
    2) Trump is the playground bully that nobody’s pushing back against.
    3) The public’s seeing the Dem and GOP responses to the Mueller Report: GOP’s saying EXONERATION!! and the Dems aren’t saying much of anything, so the public’s thinking there’s no ‘there’ there, and has moved on to the next thing.

    That’s where we are. Dammit.

  68. 68
    Betty Cracker says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    Well, that’s the problem. After a Senate acquittal (or non-trial), how would things be any worse than they are now?

    It would be worse because, after weeks of public impeachment hearings and massive media attention, the effort would fizzle in the Senate, and the GOP, with the complicity of dozens of Beltway hacks, would make it look like the Dems took two swings at Trump and missed. That would be A LOT worse than the present situation.

    ETA: I’m not saying it’s definitely not worth it — maybe it has to be done anyway. My point is that just that waving the political risk off as irrelevant isn’t realistic either, if the ultimate goal is to get rid of Trump as soon as possible.

  69. 69
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:

    I don’t see the point of this. Support for Bill Clinton was strong from the spring of 1998 through his impeachment and Senate trial, and Republicans still insist that they did the right thing.

    The entire republican apparatus is suspect. How deep does the rot go? Wanna bet on the entire party apparatus? Of course they are never going to say they did the wrong thing, once a major wall falls the entire building is at risk. And Clinton in 98 was a major wall. Clinton in 98 should have been a death blow, they took a massive chance and it didn’t pay off. At that moment. It did pay off for them in 2016 though. They had applied so many coats of doubt on the Clinton name that they were able to steal the election. With help from their friends. But they were still able. Clinton’s impeachment wasn’t necessarily the end, it was a step in the process. They may have hoped it was the end, but they were still able to make hay with it. It just took time.

  70. 70
    japa21 says:

    @low-tech cyclist: Agree fully with you except for points 1, 2 and 3.

  71. 71
    cynthia ackerman says:

    — The Senate calculus is why former Rep. (R-MO) Tom Coleman’s statements today urging impeachment should be treated with skepticism. He goes soft on his Senate party mates, while hammering the House. This looks suspiciously like a variation of Trump’s goading Nancy, to set up “vindication” in time to confuse low-information voters tp maximum effect.

    — Dem leadership, Pelosi included, are likely smart enough, and experienced enough, to both wait for and engineer the optimum timing and circumstances for kneecapping Trump. That move might take any of several forms, one of which is impeachment with or conviction. In the meantime, Nancy’s most revealing and resonant comment so far has been that keeping Trump in suspense has him right where she wants him — on edge, petulant, accident prone, and increasingly ridiculous.

    — A number of interesting things are starting to happen: SDNY compelling Deutsche and Capital One to produce financial records, NY legislation setting up release of state tax records, and US Treasury receiving a strong signal that the “legislative purpose” argument will be swiftly disposed of. Once the fruits of those inquiries are known, the smart money says that the pace of revelations damaging to a broad swath of Trump’s and McConnell’s worlds will feel a heat they have likely dismissed previously. If this is half accurate, we will be into a new chapter. FSM, pretty please don’t unleash the trickster.

  72. 72
    Mike in Pasadena says:

    @Mary G: I agree. Start impeachment hearings a few days before the Rethuglicans begin their convention. Take some TV coverage from their convention. Oops, don’t have time for articles of impeachment beause Dum Dum Donnie stalled document production and witness appearances. The Pussy Grabber will not be able to claim Dems were afraid to impeach and won’t be able to crow about “total exoneration” by the Senate.

  73. 73
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    Frankly, that’s one thing that bothers me about journalism in this country. In any healthy democracy, “… but of course the Senate would never convict!:” would be such an *OUTLANDISH* lie that that the big story would be how someone made such a ridiculously hateful accusation.

    Here, although we know the truth of the first paragraph, it *isn’t a story at all*. And part of it is eroding norms, and part of it is “access journalism”, and part of it is just acclimation. Still, it bugs me that none, or few, thought to ask themselves “and we know that. Whatever the Democrats find, no matter how bad, so long as it’s not the proverbial dead woman or live boy….”

  74. 74
    James E Powell says:

    @japa21:

    1) This is not about galvanizing Trump’s base. They already are galvanized and holding impeachment hearings won’t make them any more or less galvanized.

    Agree completely. Trump’s base is fully galvanized every day by the comprehensive RW propaganda machine that has been their home for over 20 years. They are in a constant state of agitation and anger. To the extent that they are anything short of a fully foaming rage, all it will take is for their favorite president in history to be running against any Democrat no matter how right wing, moderate, or acceptable to the Village.

    What Democrats and Democratic leaders need to worry about is their persistent refusal (or maybe failure) to galvanize their own base.

  75. 75
    clever Hans says:

    This is the thread that goosed me to finally post something. Well done you smart Betty and well done jackals of opining.

    As satisfying as the impeachment process would be in the House, what with pointing out the obvious criminality and venality of the great Patriot, PFC Bone Spur, it wouldn’t get the job done. As a matter of fact, the “exoneration” blather would certainly be heard by at least some of the squishy middle who pay but little attention.

    Better to keep the investigation chugging along but under the banner of “Foreigners Messing in Our Great Country”….be they Iranian, Chinese, or Russian. Let the Mango Misfit throw up how he sees the subtext of the effort.

    Also, Pelosi is my hero. She has an ability in the realm that Trump can only dream of.

  76. 76
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    It would be worse because, after weeks of public impeachment hearings and massive media attention, the effort would fizzle in the Senate, and the GOP, with the complicity of dozens of Beltway hacks, would make it look like the Dems took two swings at Trump and missed. That would be A LOT worse than the present situation.

    Depends. If the Dems’ case is really a nothingburger (which is what most people assume now), then yeah, that would be the case.

    But I don’t think so. An impeachment proceeding would be weeks of the actual, multiple cases against Trump being front and center on TV, unfiltered by talking heads, for weeks on end. It’s hard for me to see Trump coming out of that looking anything but terrible, and the Senate vote (or non-vote) won’t change that. He’ll be able to claim exoneration, and the hardcore 40% will believe him, but nobody else will.

    ETA: I’m not saying it’s definitely not worth it — maybe it has to be done anyway. My point is that just that waving the political risk off as irrelevant isn’t realistic either, if the ultimate goal is to get rid of Trump as soon as possible.

    Two unrelated points: (1) I guess I see the risks of inaction as being much greater. Trump’s got a hardcore support of ~40% and a hardcore disapproval of 52%. IMHO, doing nothing risks losing the other 8% because both sides agree that the Mueller report was a nothingburger, and it risks diminished turnout among people who’ll vote for Dems IF they vote, because once again, the Dems did a Brave Sir Robin. Right now, I’m thinking this raft of new abortion laws may be the thing that saves us because it’s making Dem voters genuinely mad. And it burns my ass to have to think about these laws so cynically, because they’re horrible.

    (2) Beating Trump isn’t the ultimate goal. Being able to change this country and the world for the better, starting with doing something sufficiently strong about global warming, is the ultimate goal. Necessary conditions for achieving those goals include winning the Presidency, winning the Senate, and abolishing the filibuster. The Senate’s almost surely the heaviest lift, and being able to pin votes (or complicity in non-votes) on vulnerable Republicans supporting Trump in impeachment will, I think, be a help rather than a hindrance in winning the Senate.

  77. 77
    cleosmom says:

    Sorry, you lost me at “it is what it is.”

    I generally like this site and the people on it, so I won’t go into any detail about that.

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