ITMFA

This is the best piece I’ve read about impeachment lately – read the whole thing.

For a long time, I was on the fence about impeachment. A couple of things that swayed me are mentioned in the article linked above. First, left to his own devices, Trump will drive the media narrative and suck up all of the media oxygen in the next 15 months. A set of impeachment hearings by one House committee meeting on a regular schedule with good counsel driving hard questions–not a bunch of different committees meeting on occasion with grandstanding preening questioners–will put Trump’s crimes on the front page of newspapers and lead the nightly news. Trump will have to respond, and he’ll look guilty and weak. Second, even when the Senate votes against conviction, vulnerable Senators like McSally, Collins and Gardner will have to take an actual vote. They would rather tsk-tsk about Trump and do nothing – a vote puts them in a tough position a few months before the election.

Third, it’s the right thing to do, and Congress needs to do its duty. Pelosi’s reticence is probably driven in part by pushback from members who would rather do nothing and hope that Trump just won’t be re-elected. That might happen, but a lot of Democrats went out of their way to vote for candidates who promised to do something about Trump, and Congress doing nothing is going to suppress Democratic turnout. There are also some “independent” low information voters who might learn something from the Mueller report being read into the record, one day at a time. (And, btw, fuck yes this committee must get Mueller to testify, if only to read his report into the record. Look at the effect of his press conference, which essentially just repeated some facts from his report, yet still enraged Trump and led the newscasts.)

Finally, the House also needs to pass all the legislation that Democrats promised, and Presidential candidates need to talk about how they would sign those bills if they were elected. Maybe Democrats’ policy messages will be drowned out by the impeachment hearings, but we already run the risk of Trump’s inane tweeting drowning them out.






85 replies
  1. 1
    SFAW says:

    If the House votes to impeach, is Traitor Turtle required to let a trial go forward? Or can he just pull his usual traitorous bullshit of burying stuff?

    I really don’t know, hoping some Constitutional expert(s) has/have already answered this.

  2. 2
    Lapassionara says:

    Re, your last paragraph, I have heard that the House has passed a lot of bills, but I have not seen a comprehensive list. I think we should be reminding people of the bills they have already passed, and asking why Mitch will not allow votes on them. In other words, keep pointing out the bottleneck.

  3. 3
    Butter emails!!! says:

    I understand why there are differences of opinion regarding impeachment, but I’m getting a little irritated at the retconning/embracing of a false media narrative 6+ months after the fact. Democrats largely did not run on impeaching Trump. The ran on policy. That Democrats were running against Trump and not for something was the lazy, hacktastic beltway media BS narrative. It’s just like saying that Hillary didn’t run on policies, just against Trump in 2018.

  4. 4
    Amir Khalid says:

    @SFAW:
    I think the rules say he must, but McConnell is not governed by the rules if they stand in his way.

  5. 5
    JPL says:

    @Lapassionara: Nancy might mention that president trump might not know what the democrats in the house achieved because McConnell refuses to allow an up or down vote.

  6. 6
    Balconesfault says:

    I say keep working on cutting off appendages. Start with an impeachment of Barr.

  7. 7
    Betty Cracker says:

    Excerpt from the linked piece, which I agree is compelling:

    An impeachment inquiry should look broadly at Trump’s abuse of power: his politicization of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, his refusal to protect our elections and our country from foreign sabotage, and the rampant corruption in an administration where everyone from the president on down enrich themselves at the expense of American taxpayers and America’s security.

    A thousand times this! IMO, the biggest vulnerability on impeachment for Democrats is the accusation that we’re trying to re-litigate the 2016 election. Impeachment should be about Trump obstructing the investigation into the 2016 election interference, but it must also be about ongoing crimes and dereliction of duty, and there are plenty of those to enter into the public record with maximum publicity.

  8. 8
    Mike in NC says:

    Trump has another one-on-one meeting with Putin coming up, where they’ll discuss his ongoing efforts to set himself up as dictator for life. He’s got most of the mainstream media already in his pocket, and will be using allies like Lindsey Graham in the GOP controlled Senate to attack and intimidate any remaining holdouts. He’s figured out that unlike Putin, he doesn’t actually have to murder anybody to get the cowardly press to muzzle itself.

  9. 9
    FlipYrWhig says:

    a lot of Democrats went out of their way to vote for candidates who promised to do something about Trump, and Congress doing nothing is going to suppress Democratic turnout.

    “I voted for someone to do something about Trump, but now I’m disappointed and won’t vote and too bad if Trump wins”? This doesn’t sound like an actual person’s thought process.

  10. 10
    hells littlest angel says:

    I think the death by a thousand cuts is the most effective way to destroy Trump. Also the most fun! Enquêtez, enquêtez, enquêtez!

  11. 11
    tokyokie says:

    Russia’s oligarchs came into wealth and power essentially by using former KGB thugs to take over state industries and then dare somebody to do something about it. Nobody could and nobody did. Der Trumpenführer’s business plans have always included stiffing small-time players and daring them to do something about it. They couldn’t and they didn’t. And if the lying bastard escapes all legal consequences for his lifetime of crime, then this country has become essentially like Russia, a society in which the legal system is used to beat down the poor and keep them in serfdom, not describe ethical standards by which rich and poor alike are expected to abide. And that’s precisely what Влади́мир Влади́мирович wants to achieve through his swinish sock puppet.

    Congress can do something about it and must do something about it. Impeach the bastard.

  12. 12
    Nicole says:

    Pelosi is canny, and she’s very big on counting the votes. I’m hopeful that she’s trying to push it back as long as possible so that it can be going on running up to the election- not even so much for Trump, but to hurt GOP’ers who will fall in line and vote against removing him from office. It’ll also damage his campaign.

    But I don’t know. She dismissed doing anything about Iraq after the Dems retook Congress, and I don’t know if it’s because she knew the actions Bush-Cheney took were, while morally reprehensible, not technically illegal, or she really just didn’t see how much lasting damage they did. I don’t know.

  13. 13
    JPL says:

    If they vote to impeach, will this prevent trump for being charged with crimes once out of office? NYState is also looking into various crimes committed by the organization and the foundation. Maybe we’ll hear something soon about what is happening there.

  14. 14
    debbie says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I’m pretty sure McConnell does not have to bring any of the House’s bills to the floor. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s used the phrase “it’s a non-starter” more than once when asked about the Senate considering a piece of legislation sent from the House.

  15. 15
    debbie says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Bill Weld thinks Trump will refuse to leave the WH if he doesn’t win the election.

    GOP presidential hopeful Bill Weld said he doesn’t think President Trump will give up the White House voluntarily if he loses the 2020 election.

    During an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” Friday, the former Massachusetts governor was asked if he thinks Trump will leave if he loses, and Weld said, “Not voluntarily.”

    Weld then said of Trump: “He’ll have a run at saying, ‘It was a rigged game so I’m not leaving.’ I don’t think the military and indeed even the Justice Department — the rank-and-file, the investigative agencies — would stand for that in this country.”

    Trump himself has joked about remaining in office past the two-term limit mark on more than one occasion.

    For instance, after Chinese President Xi Jinping got rid of term limits, Trump reportedly said: “He’s now president for life. President for life….And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”

    Link to the Mahar YouTube here.

  16. 16
    SFAW says:

    @debbie:

    However, it’s not a bill nor a piece of legislation

  17. 17
    Kathleen says:

    @Butter emails!!!: Totally agree. I’ll add that I’m sick and tired of the Village Punditistas focusing on what Democrats are “doing wrong and here’s what they should do” instead of asking Republicans what are they going to do about election integrity, etc. and if answer is “nothing” follow up with “why not”? (Yeah, I know.)
    (Chuck Todd burbled on Wille Geist’s program this morning that Democrats are making a mistake by treating impeachment as a political issue and if they think Trump committed crimes they should take a stand for impeachment.)

    Commenter on down stairs thread (so sorry I forgot nym) linked to excellent Media Matters article which basically said media is framing Mueller report and subsequent press conference through Trump’s reactions instead of real issues. Oh, and of course that means “both sides” have different “interpretations”.

  18. 18
    SFAW says:

    @debbie:

    For instance, after Chinese President Xi Jinping got rid of term limits, Trump reportedly said: “He’s now president for life. President for life….And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”

    Good to see that he took his oath to “protect and defend the Constitution” seriously. Yes, I know this is example 4,387 +/- of him pulling that shit.

  19. 19
    Doug R says:

    @JPL: Pelosi in her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel mentioned there is a school of thought that if the Senate votes to acquit, then they can’t charge him out of office. She also said in the same interview that “impeachment is inevitable “.

  20. 20
    Baud says:

    @Kathleen:

    I’ll add that I’m sick and tired of the Village Punditistas focusing on what Democrats are “doing wrong and here’s what they should do” 

    It’s a bug that’s been going around for many years now and which has infected a lot of people.

  21. 21
    Suzanne says:

    I used to lean toward not impeaching, because I was concerned that it would just come to dominate absolutely everything, and it would take political capital from achieving other legislative priorities. And I am still concerned about the perceived legitimacy issue—a Dem winning in 2020 is still, IMO, a more convincing rejection of Trumpism than removing him through a bureaucratic process. I do think that half the country hates the other half, that liberals underestimated this, and that this is a problem that will endure long after Trump shuffles off this mortal coil.

    But WTF, we’re not going to achieve anything with McTurtle anyway. And how much is “legitimacy” worth with people who hate you and think everything you do is bullshit anyway? As I’ve discussed here multiple times, I tend to agree with Tyler Cowen’s assertion that electoral politics is, at its core, about elevating the relative social status of certain cohorts of people compared to others. The deplorables love him not for any real reason that has to do with any policy or even any genuine personal qualities, but because his election proves that two-scoop-eating reality-show-trash poorly-educated poorly-dressed pussy-grabbing minority-resenting people have more social power than people who read books.

    So, if our enemy is gonna hate us and obstruct us at every turn anyway, why the fuck NOT impeach? At least it will have the effect of keeping this shit coming out in drips and drops, which will be demoralizing to some.

  22. 22
    Raoul says:

    Sarah Kendzior (author of The View from Flyover Country) is a bit far out on the alarmist end vis Trump’s authoritarianism. But not that far these days.

    Last night she tweeted

    Once an autocrat gets in, it is very hard to get them out. Every day is damage done.
    Opponents of autocracy need to use every tool they have. Officials need be fast and forceful before time runs out.
    If they don’t have impeachment hearings, they will end up with show trials.

    I think she may be right. Just winning the election may not be enough. Spittle flecked enablers like Lindsey Graham would have no problem joining Trump in claiming the election returns are flawed and that the rules are suspended “while rampant fraud is investigated”, etc.

    Do we really think Schumer and Pleosi (mostly Schumer, who’s chinless wankery I think has been underestimated in Nancy’s tapdance on ITMFA) will somehow try to use the National Guard or whatever to remove Trump from the WH?

    Pence is an evil shit. But I don’t (yet) think he’d be quite as constitution shredding as the Ego In Chief.

  23. 23
    Raoul says:

    @Balconesfault: I think there is ample evidence for impeaching Barr. And in that process, a good bit of discovery could be done to damage and potentially set the stage for ITMFA.

    It would smoke out McConnell on his obstruction tactics. And even if McConnell succeeds in tanking Barr’s trial, in some ways the Senate failing to convict Barr could politically lessen the bite of failing to convict Trump. “Oh, that McConnell senate, they’ll let any corrupt Trumper pass. Even Trump!”

    That said, I wonder if Barr would resign, maybe even before a formal House vote to impeach him, to try to protect the documents? But who knows, he’s totally Foxed.

  24. 24
    Baud says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    This doesn’t sound like an actual person’s thought process.

    It should be a rule that everyone who speculates that such-and-such will reduce turnout must disclose whether they are among the voters who are going to run away.

  25. 25
    JPL says:

    @Doug R: I want him behind bars, preferably at Rikers, so maybe NYState will fulfill my wish.

  26. 26
    sdhays says:

    @Nicole: I think there simply wasn’t any appetite in the Democratic caucus for going after Cheney and W’s Iraq crimes in 2007. A few Congresspeople wanted to, maybe, but nowhere near a majority. Pelosi may have been personally skeptical of how effective such an effort would be, but there was no groundswell of people in her caucus and outside banging the drum to convince her, either.

    Trump is different. There’s clearly strong demand (although not an outright majority yet) and a clear necessity. But it’s extremely important that it’s done in a way that brings along the public. If the Democrats do that, we can win the Presidency and the Senate, even if the McConnell Senate fails to remove the traitor.

  27. 27
    Baud says:

    @Raoul:

    Congress has no authority over the national guard. When the next President swears in, her first act will be to order Trump arrested if Trump tries to overthrow the legitimate government of the United States.

  28. 28
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Raoul: McConnell has no shame and doesn’t care if he’s made to seem responsible for various bad things because he knows not enough people pay any attention for it to matter.

    Ultimately there’s no way impeachment is going to yield political benefit. It might still be worth doing but not because it’ll change election results in our side’s favor.

  29. 29
    sdhays says:

    @SFAW: I wonder if he tried something like that if the pressure wouldn’t get too much. The media doesn’t get to cover an impeachment trial every day, and being deprived of that would make them somewhat upset. Also, it’s a pretty serious stink on Trump if his allies won’t dare to just go ahead and exonerate him. Would Trump allow McConnell to not exonerate him and just ignore impeachment?

  30. 30
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    There is one good reason for Democrats to go slow on impeachment – I believe they are scared about what will happen if a Democrat becomes President and a Republican-controlled House/Senate impeaches her for some random reason, like not wearing a flag pin.. The idea of creating false equivalencies is really that. Right now, the Republican Party has shown that it places its base over the country’s welfare, and so this is a real possibility.
    The counter is probably that they will do it anyway.

  31. 31
    Jinchi says:

    @Butter emails!!!:

    That Democrats were running against Trump and not for something was the lazy, hacktastic beltway media BS narrative.

    The massive turnout in 2018, the victories for Democrats in the House, the record numbers of people from outside politics who decided to run for Congress and State-level elections, ( particularly women and minorities who face higher obstacles to entry) and the record turnout of voters during an off-year election, were all fundamentally motivated by the revulsion against Trump and a desire to hold him accountable.

    To pretend it wasn’t is to ignore the millions of people who marched in the streets of every city across the country in protest after protest, since the day after his inauguration. The sea of pink knit caps wasn’t a statement about policy differences.

    I’m thrilled that the Democrats have solid issues, but the corruption of Trump and the Republican party was not a “hacktastic BS media narrative.”

    It will cost the Democrats dearly in 2020 if they forget that point.

  32. 32
    Kathleen says:

    @Mike in NC: You are absolutely right. I will add that just because that’s the plan doesn’t mean we don’t have power to effect a different outcome.

  33. 33
    FlipYrWhig says:

    BTW I think if Team Trump refuses subpoenas they should be arrested, like normal people would, and if they’re being protected by the Secret Service then the Secret Service will have to think about whose orders they really want to follow. To me that’s been one of the most frustrating things to witness: Team Trump saying, “I don’t wanna, make me.” It’s time to make them. If it’s a scuffle, too bad.

  34. 34
    JPL says:

    @FlipYrWhig: How? They are not going to turn over incriminating evidence even during impeachment hearings.

  35. 35
    dww44 says:

    @Lapassionara: Again, it is the lack of a clear messaging apparatus from Congressional Democrats (indeed for all Democrats) that is enabling Trump and Barr to dominate and win the news cycle. Surely to goodness, Pelosi herself could see the importance of this and task someone/someones with messaging going forward.

    Fnally, I fully endorse Pfeiffer’s take on how to do impeachment. It’s time we grabbed the headlines and stopped playing defense.

  36. 36
    SenyorDave says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I actually think it is imperative that the Democrats push this process. Maybe they can start with Hope Hicks. She is supposed to turn over documents bya June 4, and her testimony is set for June 19. If she ignores the subpoena put her in jail. Don’t just fine her, show what happens when you don’t obey the law.
    The Secret Service are professionals, they will obey the law.

  37. 37
    tokyokie says:

    @JPL:

    I want him behind bars, preferably at Rikers, so maybe NYState will fulfill my wish.

    Rikers is a municipal facility, so he’s not going there. But were he convicted on New York state charges, he could wind up in Sing Sing, which isn’t a bad result. He feels entitled to royal privilege already, so let him live out the rest of his days in the Castle on the Hudson.

  38. 38
    Raoul says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I guess it depends on what one considers political benefit.

    The country needs to be brought along in a deliberative process, but as the facts get laid out, and as Democrats are seen as being willing to exercise power, benefit will inure.

    One of the biggest (and I think shamefully correct) knocks on Democrats is the unwillingness to use lawful but blunt power. That can still be contrasted against the GOP, who demonstrably use unlawful blunt power (how many Mueller convictions/pleas? How many Repubs caught in scandals, etc).

    If it’s true that Nancy said on Kimmel that impeachment is inevitable, then start acting like it. No gloating, no showboating, but get to work in the investigatory moves. Failure to act is a political move, with consequences (in many cases, not just the big ass deals like impeachment) have consequences. McConnell has mastered the non-action as both a smart move for Repubs, and a challenge to Dems who’ve acquiesced far too often.

  39. 39
    Jinchi says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    I believe they are scared about what will happen if a Democrat becomes President and a Republican-controlled House/Senate impeaches her for some random reason

    We passed that point about 20 years ago.

    Just a reminder that Ken Starr’s investigation into Clinton started as a probe into a real-estate investiment gone bad, veered off into every fever dream conspiracy theory, including rape and murder, and only after exhausting every possibility, finally landed on him lying about having an affair.

    The Starr investigation began in August 1994. Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinski happened in November 1995.

  40. 40
    SFAW says:

    @tokyokie:
    At-ti-CA! At-ti-CA! At-ti-CA!!

  41. 41
    JPL says:

    @tokyokie: I knew Rikers was the city brig, but I still can dream.

  42. 42
    Spanky says:

    It has long been said that Pelosi knows how to count votes. Her reticence to impeach might just be a reflection of her knowing that a lot of her caucus isn’t there yet. Unless your congresscritter has explicitly, publicly acknowledged a desire to impeach, then it’s incumbent on YOU (us) to let them know that you as a voter and constituent DEMAND that s/he support impeachment.

  43. 43
    neldob says:

    We should be thinking about what we will do if the lying con creep won’t leave office/contests the election results. Take our pots and pans and fly to DC? Also, if there is another SC opening? What can we do, what will we do? Readiness is important. Another cup of coffee and article on Tienanmen Square and I will rule the world. Heh.

  44. 44
    tokyokie says:

    @SFAW: That possible destination occurred to me as well, but I think Sing Sing gained such notoriety from 1930s gangster films that it’s the better choice. And, hey! It’s where New York had its electric chair. Put him in a cell with the ghost of Julius Rosenberg. Anyway, both are maximum security lockups, and both were built in the early 19th century, but Attica is where the sociopaths who get out of line elsewhere in the state prison system wind up. Either place would be a fine residence in which the oinker should spend the rest of his miserable life.

  45. 45
    cmorenc says:

    @Butter emails!!!:

    It’s just like saying that Hillary didn’t run on policies, just against Trump in 2018.

    I really wish we had this alternate history – where Hillary ran against Trump in 2018, not 2016. But yeah, I know – 2018 is an off-year election not a presidential year and without public knowledge of what happened in the 2016 election and how Trump has behaved between the 2016 and 2018 elections, the extra factors driving Democratic success in 2018 would not have been in place. However, had the electorate known back in 2016 how things would turn out – Trump’s core base might be just fine with that, but he would likely have lost by the sort of margins Hillary appeared headed victoriously toward a month before the 2016 election. True, we could clearly see in 2016 factors which accurately forecast what a shitstorm a Trump Administration would be on abundant fronts – but the critical portion of the electorate deluded by the notion that Trump might turn out to be an eclectic reformer transcending partisan boundaries might not have been so blinkered against the obvious-to-us signs that he would prove anything but that.

  46. 46
    Percysowner says:

    @SFAW: It’s a bit unclear. From what I have read, McConnell can’t block the trial per se. He also won’t run the trial, Chief Justice Roberts will and who knows how impartial Mr. Balls and Strikes will be. However, if I understand it correctly. McConnell can say the trial is started, read the Impeachment papers then call for a vote without calling any witnesses, documents or testimony. The Senate votes and it’s over.

    Lawyer, feel free to weigh in, because this is what I have cobbled together from the Internet, not any real legal knowledge.

  47. 47
    James E Powell says:

    We don’t need to worry about impeachment/senate trial/removal. We need to worry about 2020. And the best thing to make 2020 go our way is impeachment. A full scale public airing of the evil and corruption that is Trump, McConnell, and the Republicans.

    Trump’s +/- has been remarkably consistent. Disapproval hovers around 53.5%, approval around 41.5%. Impeachment proceedings that show, with clarity, the breadth and depth of his corruption can move those numbers closer to 60/35 and when it does, the rats will abandon him because they will see another 1974 coming up.

    Some people fear that impeachment will alienate the dolts & dullards independents but let’s be frank about this. If we can’t convince them through the impeachment hearings that Trump is a lawless fraud and a criminal, then we aren’t going to be able to convince them to vote for Democrats in 2020. And we cannot afford to lose anything in 2020.

  48. 48
    James E Powell says:

    @Percysowner:

    McConnell can say the trial is started, read the Impeachment papers then call for a vote without calling any witnesses, documents or testimony. The Senate votes and it’s over.

    Try to imagine how that would play out. If the house proceedings generate what looks like a credible case – are we doubting that this is so? – and McConnell buries it without consideration. Do you really think that would make things go well for the Republicans in the 2020 elections?

  49. 49
    StringOnAStick says:

    Is Congress back in session yet? This is where all the time MOC’s have to spend to raise campaign money absolutely sucks, I remember Franken being shocked when he was first in office that at least half of your time has to be spent schmoosing for $; that sure gets in the way of the actual job of being a MOC.

    Let’s have a nice public spectacle of hearings, and thus basically do the media’s job for it by handing them easily digested and packaged sound bites and drama. One thing we do know is they are both lazy and love them some scandal, so let’s hand them a bunch of that with impeachment hearings, but slow walk the hearings so they are ongoing, and then drag out the referral to the Senate as late as possible so it hits at the most effective time: heading into the 2020 elections.

  50. 50
    Redshift says:

    The Rude Pundit made a similar argument about impeachment recently, which I found quite convincing. He added the political point that Democrats tend to underestimate the already to voters of passionately fighting for something you believe in even if you don’t think you’re going to win.

    Mostly that’s because Democrats actually care about governing, I’d much rather have a party that’s focused on getting things done than picking fights. But people respect your having the courage of your convictions, even when they don’t completely agree with you.

  51. 51
    Redshift says:

    @SFAW:

    If the House votes to impeach, is Traitor Turtle required to let a trial go forward? Or can he just pull his usual traitorous bullshit of burying stuff?

    Lawfare explored this (don’t have a link handy, but it’s easy to find.) Their conclusion was that under Senate rules, he can’t just say “we’re not talking this up” like he does with legislation. He can either:

    1. Have an actual trial.
    2. Have a fake trial, since nothing specifies what constitutes an impeachment trial.
    3. Pull a “nuclear option” to change the rules.

    I think forcing Senate Republicans to vote for any of these would be better than being then off the hook.

  52. 52
    patroclus says:

    Well, I voted for my Congressman to focus on issues. Yes, they should conduct oversight and investigations, but they campaigned on not engaging in an impeachment spectacle that will certainly fail and I think they should do what they said. If Mueller couldn’t prove that Trump himself engaged in a conspiracy with the Russians, then the House certainly won’t. And like it or not, Mueller’s refusal to advocate for impeachment isn’t going to convince the country that Trump obstructed justice (he obviously tried but didn’t succeed). Who is the John Dean here? McGahn won’t even testify and Mueller doesn’t want to either. I’m for conducting the hearings and asking the questions and see if anyone (other than Cohen) actually turns. if that happens, maybe I’ll change my mind. But as of now, I’m with Pelosi.

  53. 53
    janesays says:

    On McSally, Collins, and Gardner… McConnell will have 16 golden tickets to give out. Wouldn’t be surprised if he allowed them to vote for conviction (knowing it still won’t get anywhere near the 67 total votes needed) if he thinks it will improve their odds of re-election. It would obviously put any Republican senator who votes for conviction at the top of Velveetamort’s shitlist, but the Senatortoise would see it as a small price to pay to improve his chances of being able to either keep stacking the courts with wingnuts or block a Democratic president from being able to fill any vacancies whatsoever.

  54. 54
    janesays says:

    @patroclus: If Pelosi blocks impeachment all the way until the election on the bet that it will improve the Democrats odds of retaking the White House and Trump still gets re-elected anyway, she’s finished as a leader in the Democratic caucus.

  55. 55
    rikyrah says:

    @Lapassionara:
    It has been about 100 bills

  56. 56
    janesays says:

    @debbie: The question isn’t about whether McConnell would bring a legislative bill passed by the Democrats to the floor. Of course he’s free to ignore those – Harry Reid and the Democrats ignored a lot of the nonsense bills wingnut Republicans passed in the House when Democrats still controlled the Senate from 2010-2014. The question is whether he would do his constitutional duty and hold an impeachment trial following the passage of articles of impeachment in the House.

  57. 57
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @StringOnAStick:

    Let’s have a nice public spectacle of hearings, and thus basically do the media’s job for it by handing them easily digested and packaged sound bites and drama. One thing we do know is they are both lazy and love them some scandal, so let’s hand them a bunch of that with impeachment hearings, but slow walk the hearings so they are ongoing, and then drag out the referral to the Senate as late as possible so it hits at the most effective time: heading into the 2020 elections.

    This is pretty close to where I am right now. I suspect that there aren’t enough votes in the House yet, and an impeachment vote needs to have all of the Dems on board. No Dem can reasonable oppose hearings, and the process of holding hearings will have two immediate results. First, there will be a steady drip, drip, drip of horrible facts about Trump’s actions, and second, every refusal to cooperate (especially at Trump’s orders) will create more reasons to move forward with the process. This should start moving public opinion and also allow reluctant Dem to move into the yes column in a “more sorrow, than anger” acceptance that this is something that must be done.

    I’ve expressed concern before that impeachment could be seen by the public as an attempt to overturn an election. It is one of the things that happened in Wisconsin with the process of recalling Walker. Some people who couldn’t stand Walker saw the recall as unfair. I doubt that there is any person around this blog who doesn’t think that Trump deserves to be impeached 100 times over, but most people don’t pay as much attention to politics as we do. What the voting public needs to understand is that Dems are not pushing impeachment be cause they want to but rather because it is necessary.

  58. 58
    janesays says:

    @Doug R: According to this CNN legal analyst, Pelosi is incorrect. An impeachment by the House and acquittal by the Senate would have no impact whatsoever on the ability to charge Trump once he leaves office. Impeachment is not a judicial process, and the most severe punishment that can be imposed on an individual who is impeached and convicted is removal from office and lifetime prohibition from running for office in the future. They can’t levy fines on him, they can’t incarcerate him, they can’t seize any property, or record criminal convictions into his permanent record. In other words, the legislative process is wholly independent of the judicial process. Now, as a practical matter, if Trump were to be impeached and then acquitted by the Senate, it would probably be a lot harder to actually secure a criminal conviction after he leaves office, because he’ll have however much time he has left in office to burnish the words “Total Exoneration!” into the American discourse, likely tainting any potential jury pool.

  59. 59
    PJ says:

    @Redshift: If your cause is just, it is always better for morale to fight and lose than to capitulate and lose. And people to tend to forget that, whatever the likely actions of Republicans look like now, the future is not a foregone conclusion, and in the next 17 months there is a lot that will come to light.

  60. 60
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @janesays:

    Now, as a practical matter, if Trump were to be impeached and then acquitted by the Senate, it would probably be a lot harder to actually secure a criminal conviction after he leaves office

    That’s what she was saying.

  61. 61
    Chief Oshkosh says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Do you canvass during elections? This sounds EXACTLY like what I’ve been told by registered Democratic voters for at least 20 years. Of course, YMMV.

  62. 62
    janesays says:

    @Raoul: Kendzior’s not a dummy, but I get the sense that when she speaks about the urgency of impeachment that she views it as the only legitimate means to remove Trump from office. I have a hard time imagining she genuinely believes that is a realistic possibility (Trump actually being removed via impeachment), but the way she talks it up, it feels like she’s completely avoiding the question, “OK, well what do we do after he gets acquitted by the Senate?” as if she can’t fathom such a scenario occurring. Or perhaps she just doesn’t want to talk about it, like the elephant in the room.

    Unless he dies, there is no realistic scenario in which Trump will leave office before January 20, 2021, regardless of whether we impeach him or not. That’s an unfortunate but unavoidable fact. I’m no longer of the opinion that impeachment would be a waste of time for this reason, but I do still recognize that from a pragmatic perspective, Democrats have to recognize impeachment as a mechanism to severely damage the president’s re-election odds and reputation in the court of public opinion, not as a mechanism that has any meaningful chance of actually constitutionally removing him from office before his term expires.

  63. 63
    Raoul says:

    @janesays: This is shrewd. If McConnell determines in the next year that Trumpo is a deadweight for the GOP, he’ll allow some level of trial, let folks like Collins vote for impeachment, let Trump squeak thru the ‘trial’ but be wounded.

    Of course McConnell would prefer a GOP potus in 2021. But he prefers a GOP Senate most of all.

  64. 64
    Groucho48 says:

    “Dems need to do what is right”

    What is right in this situation is doing whatever ( legal) things we can to to make sure Trump isn’t reelected. If impeachment does that, then, impeach. I’m not convinced, though, that impeachment would help.

    The right wing noise machine would go into overdrive. The MSM, for the most part, would dutifully follow. Look how quickly they took Barr’s summary as gospel. Looks k how they covered the Kavanaugh hearings.

    If history is any judge, Dems will be completely unprepared for dealing with this and completely unprepared to counter the flood of right wing talking points that will flood every media outlet that has more than half a dozen followers.

    I think Pelosi is doing the right thing. She wants the rest of us to “force” her to start impeachment proceedings. I think she also wants the current investigations to ripen a bit and to see how the Republican subpoena defiance goes. Another couple or three months of her goading Trump would also be good. She is obviously getting to him. The weaker she makes him look, the more his supporters will lose some of their fervency. He’s their alter ego and if that alter ego begins to look weak or on the defensive, they, probably unconsciously, will pull back from him a bit. They have so much invested in Trump that to see him losing to a woman would be more damaging to their emotional connection to him than just about anything else. Whereas, his beating an impeachment would be proof that he (they) are alphas.

  65. 65
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Redshift:

    Democrats tend to underestimate the already to voters of passionately fighting for something you believe in even if you don’t think you’re going to win.

    I don’t think this is worth diddly-shit to anybody. Fighting and losing is losing. Only people who follow politics super closely ever hear about the “passionately fighting” part. Everyone else hears about the winning and losing. No one but no one will think “Hmm, I wasn’t sure about Democrats before, but now that I’ve seen them reported in headlines for having tried things and failed, I like them better.” Leftier-than-thou sorts say this a lot, and they never really mean it. They see the fight, they see the fight fail, and then they carp about how the Democrats didn’t fight properly, and they ret-con what it would have meant to fight properly just so they can be pissed all over again. Case in point: don’t ask don’t tell repeal. So this theory (that the general public likes fighting even if the fight loses) was bullshit when people said it about the public option and it was bullshit when they said it about the larger stimulus and it was bullshit when they said it about the trillion dollar coin. It’s a fiction. It doesn’t work. People on the Internet like to pretend it works because they like to be angry in words, hence they think everyone likes angry words.

  66. 66
    PJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: While the impeachment hearings can expand to cover a multitude of Trump’s sins, we don’t know what the ultimate articles of impeachment will be. There will still be crimes that are likely outside of their scope (like money-laundering and fraud) because those investigations are still ongoing in New York and DC, and would involve a different set of facts than obstruction of justice, violation of the emoluments clause, politicization of law enforcement, refusal to protect against foreign interference in elections, etc.

    The more the actual acts of Trump’s criminal behavior, and how those acts constitute crimes, is explained to the public, the better, regardless of how the impeachment trial turns out. It is both a moral imperative and politically healthy. Most of the public is disconnected from politics, and they certainly aren’t going to hear about the extent of Trump’s crimes from television or even papers like the NY Times and the Post unless the media is forced to cover it by the impeachment hearings. We are in this situation now because there were no consequences for Iran-Contra and the many crimes of the Bush Administration, and if we don’t make the biggest possible showing of Republican corruption now, this country is doomed.

  67. 67
    Raoul says:

    @janesays: I’d only add that I hope the impeachment process serves as a mechanism to highlight McConnell’s role in all this sh*t. He has some damned teflon in his tortoise shell.

  68. 68
    Chief Oshkosh says:

    @sdhays:

    But it’s extremely important that it’s done in a way that brings along the public.

    I keep hearing this, and I agree with it, but I see absolutely no evidence that the Democratic Party is doing anything to “bring along the public.” Even though ongoing investigations MAY eventually reveal offenses, nobody except political junkies are following them. And to the degree that non-junkies are faintly aware of them, the Democrats look weak. Is it a day that ends with “y”? Then someone from the Trump administration is defying Congress. Oh well.

  69. 69
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chief Oshkosh: That would be highly dispiriting. Like to the point where I would think they were making it up in a fit of pique at the person at their door. “Maybe I don’t feel like it anymore” just should not be a thing for adult brains. I don’t doubt that it exists but, ya know, it’s not a fucking sports team pissing you off by not signing a free agent, it’s the fucking fate of millions of people hanging in the balance. People suck.

  70. 70
    PJ says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I don’t think this is worth diddly-shit to anybody. Fighting and losing is losing.

    If everyone thought like this, there would never be any justice anywhere in the world. People fighting for civil rights in this country lost, and lost again, until they started to win. They still lose, and they still fight. Not fighting just means the bastards will always win.

  71. 71
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chief Oshkosh:

    And to the degree that non-junkies are faintly aware of them, the Democrats look weak.

    I just have a very hard time seeing this as something a person who is only vaguely following the news can possibly absorb.

  72. 72
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @PJ: I didn’t say that the course of action is not to fight. But it is foolish to assume that fighting and losing earns credibility points in some collective account somewhere. It doesn’t.

  73. 73
    Chief Oshkosh says:

    @Spanky:

    It has long been said that Pelosi knows how to count votes. Her reticence to impeach might just be a reflection of her knowing that a lot of her caucus isn’t there yet.

    It has also long been said that Pelosi rules her caucus with and iron fist and an iron grip. If so, maybe she needs to be thumping some people and squeezing others. And for God sake, get some marketing going.

  74. 74
    Chief Oshkosh says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Meh. It was (and is) a downer. But there’s plenty of good people (I guess “good” means “vaguely agree with me -ha!) who say they’ll vote Democratic come hell or high water. So there’s that. :)

  75. 75
    FlipYrWhig says:

    BTW my current feeling is that major Democrats should be saying something like “it may be a rule that you can’t indict a sitting president, but that just makes it more important to do everything in our power to make him an ex-president, and then we will exact long-overdue justice for the many, many crimes he committed both to get elected and since he’s been in office.” Seems like that way you can get the pro-impeachment people in a pincer movement with the impeachment-skeptical people who want to get rid of him by voting. The important thing is to repudiate him for being a crook. Everything else is details of timing. YMMV.

  76. 76
    Chief Oshkosh says:

    @FlipYrWhig: You probably hang around a better class of people than I do.

  77. 77
    James E Powell says:

    @Chief Oshkosh:

    I keep hearing this, and I agree with it, but I see absolutely no evidence that the Democratic Party is doing anything to “bring along the public.”

    Agree completely, but would add that the Democrats who are trying to bring along the public are pretty much ignored by the press/media. You just don’t see or hear much from the pro-impeachment Ds in the mainstream. And when you do, it is immediately followed by Rs saying it’s insane, unjust, and anti-American and/or a D saying it’s not a good idea.

    That is why the public hearings are necessary. The Ds persistent failure is that they allow Rs to control the narrative. I can’t blame Pelosi, she has to deal with and express the whole of her caucus and God only knows what kind of horse shit that involves.

  78. 78
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chief Oshkosh: I think it’s hard to get “weakness” from invisibility. IMHO if you’re really only following the news from headlines and what goes viral all you’d really see is that Trump is doing things and other people are upset by them. The rest just seems too legalistic. What proportion of people even know what a subpoena is or what indictment means? I feel like the ignorance (not willful, active ignorance, but I can’t think of a better word) of what the government does when “the government” isn’t the president is virtually total. I don’t think widespread impatience at Democratic weakness can build from that basis–except among already-very-politically-active Democrats.

  79. 79
    Jacel says:

    @Lapassionara: Here’s a recent list of the fifty or so bills that the House has passed this year — many of the substantial. Not that you’d know this from the news media, which seems to take for granted that the Senate won’t pass these so there’s no point even mentioning them. It’s not like the weekly stream of REPEAL OBAMACARE bills that the Republican House passed in the Obama years, which were all worth letting the public know about.

  80. 80
    Jacel says:

    Here’s the link to an article listing about fifty bills that the House has passed this year. (Not sure if this link was able to appear in an earlier comment from me.)

  81. 81
    janesays says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Humans tend to respect those who are willing to fight and lose a lot more than those who just throw their hands up in the air and quit without even trying.

  82. 82
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @janesays: You’d think. Now give me a case of that happening in politics. What happens in politics instead is that when someone loses the people who supposedly would be excited to respect the valiant losing effort — according to this theory at least — instead take to the Internet to moan about how those stupid losers don’t know how to fight, which you can tell, because if they did they’d win. I’ve been reading blogs since the Florida recount. Since that time I don’t recall ever having seen political observers giving someone credit for losing because at least it was a hard fight.

  83. 83
    topclimber says:

    Late as hell to the party and probably bringing up a point that has been covered on BJ before–to wit, is removal from office the only option the Senate has if the House votes impeachment?

    I see a scenario that a few more weeks/months of Trump stonewalling various or single steering committees on investigations FORCES the Dems to say:

    “Mr. Trump leaves us no choice. We have to pursue impeachment to uncover the truth. If we find grounds for impeachment we will vote for it.

    “If the Senate convicts him we leave it to them to decide whether removal is appropriate. Perhaps a censure motion that made clear no one is above the law will suffice.

    “We have great candidates running for President in 2020, and have no doubt their positive messages and personal integrity will let them beat Trump handily. If the Senate so deems, he is welcome to serve out his term in office while the rest of us take comfort in the notion that our Constitution has been protected..”

    Point is: High ground all the way vs. bottom feeder ad nauseam. I think we win that game.

  84. 84
    janesays says:

    @FlipYrWhig: And you’ve seen people rewarded for being too scared to even try?

  85. 85
    janesays says:

    @topclimber: Constitutionally, a vote of “guilty” on any single article of impeachment by the senate automatically removes the impeached individual from office, even if that individual is acquitted on every other article of impeachment.

    Censure can be done by either house of Congress, and only requires a majority in one house to be enacted, though nothing actually happens in a censure other the censured individual being officially and publicly reprimanded by the house of Congress doing the censure. It is a purely symbolic gesture that has no direct material impact on the individual subject to it. It is the epitome of a figurative “slap on the wrist”, though a literal slap on the wrist would probably be more consequential, since it actually causes a brief physically unpleasant sensation.

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