Nancy Pelosi is between impeach and a hard place.
“You want to believe that there’s all this unease in our caucus,” an irritated House Speaker told the press on Thursday, a day when the barbs were flying between herself and President Trump, and when many House Democrats expressed impatience or even dissatisfaction with her leadership to her face.
“That simply isn’t the truth … and I say to the caucus, ‘our diversity is our strength. Our unity is our power,’” she said, adding an assurance that House Democrats were “not on a path to impeachment.”
The claimed co-existence of unity and diversity is a tad removed from Ben Franklin’s call to all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately. At any rate, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) wasn’t buying it. “She’s either delusional or misrepresenting where her caucus really is,” he told reporters. “Speaker Pelosi is trying to hide what I think is obvious: that the Democratic Party is hellbent on impeaching President Trump no matter what the evidence is and no matter what he does.”
This week opened a new chapter in relations between the White House and Pelosi and the Democrats’ Senate leader Chuck Schumer — with the eyes of all three on November 2020 before the arrival of even Memorial Day 2019.
Trump, during a long-winded appearance with farmers Thursday afternoon, suggested some Democrats don’t believe they can prevent his re-election next year unless they impose the blemish of impeachment upon his presidency. This in spite of the likely impossibility of getting enough Republican senators in an impeachment trial to reach the two-thirds majority necessary for Trump’s removal from office.
He had already tweeted Wednesday, “You can’t investigate and legislate simultaneously — it just doesn’t work that way. You can’t go down two tracks at the same time. Let Chuck, Nancy, Jerry, Adam and all of the rest finish playing their games….” House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler of New York and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California were the other Democrats referenced.
“He made very clear that their two-track strategy is nonsense,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told Fox News Thursday morning. “They can choose whether they want to investigate or legislate and what’s more important to them. I know — we all know — Speaker Pelosi is under enormous pressure from some folks in the rank and file who are demanding that she get the caucus together and start impeachment proceedings.”
Conway added: “she can’t control her caucus and she can’t control her temper about the president and we saw it yesterday,” a reference to Pelosi’s accusation that Trump’s refusal to allow former White House counsel Don McGahn and other aides testify to Congress was part of a cover-up. Pelosi made the remark shortly before she and Schumer set off for the White House to discuss with Trump how to work together on legislation — or as Conway put it, she said it “an hour before that with her car running, waiting for her.”
Stay tuned in the coming months for Hamlet to be enacted by Pelosi and other congressional Democratic leaders as regards impeachment. The establishment media’s talking points in the wake of the friction are that Trump has been flummoxed by Pelosi’s harshness. Her comments had included an implicit accusation that the President is mentally or emotionally unstable and in need of an “intervention” from family or White House staff, plus Pelosi repeatedly relating that she has been praying for Trump — for which Trump sarcastically thanked the Speaker in a tweet on Wednesday.
But the indications are it is Pelosi, almost always a deft political tactician, who has been thrown off balance. Democratic congressional aides told NBC News that Pelosi told House Democrats on Thursday that Trump was guilty of “villainous” acts. Her tack in preventing her caucus from impeaching him is to insist they would be giving him what he wants, so he can be vindicated in a Senate trial that goes nowhere.
Pelosi would go forward on the trappings of impeachment absent impeachment itself. It would be a continuation of the never-ending soap opera of the last two years of investigation, and media coverage of it, except re-located to Capitol Hill. Though all the while teasing that impeachment may be around the corner if we dig hard enough.
“Get the facts to the American people in our investigation” and “it may take us to a place that is unavoidable in terms of impeachment, but we’re not at that place,” as the Speaker put it.
In other words, months and months of “to impeach or not to impeach.”
But what facts are there that special counsel Robert Mueller and his $35 million and 22 months of investigation by 18 prosecutors didn’t already scrutinize? Pelosi is obviously banking on the 35 House Democrats who support formally embarking on impeachment, plus the multitudes within the Democrats’ base who want Trump’s head, transferring their anger and energy to helping their party’s nominee replace Trump at the ballot box next year. Plus a winning showing for Democrats in the House and Senate.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), a member of the Judiciary panel, is representative of Democrats tired of their congressional leadership’s feigned schizophrenia. Earlier this week, in a meeting with Pelosi on impeachment, as Cohen told CNN, “I asked basically, ‘Why not?’ … For whatever reason, she doesn’t want to do it. And I think it’s our duty to do it.”
Then there is the angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin distinction offered by some Democrats who claim they don’t want to impeach Trump, but do want to hold an “impeachment inquiry.”
Trump Vs. Socialism in 2020
The trouble for Democrats is that without Trump in the guise of criminal, the focus shifts to the booming economy, destruction of ISIS, withdrawal from the lopsided Iran nuclear deal, engagement with North Korea’s nuclear-armed Kim Jong-un, and scores of appointments to the federal bench. Their task is to stop re-election of a President with an unusually impressive record. What, exactly, do they offer as an alternative? Socialized medicine and converting to a neo-agrarian economy by 2031 to prevent the end of the world, as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demands?
Democrats have actually faced comparable electoral dilemmas in the past, and some of their older hands remember. A tax cut-driven economic expansion plus the glow of hitting back against the Sept. 11th attacks made John Kerry’s 2004 campaign against President George W. Bush a long shot from the start. And Fritz Mondale’s announcement from the 1984 Democratic Convention stage in San Francisco that “Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did” was no match for the Reagan Recovery, also tax cut-driven.
And so Pelosi and Schumer seek the best way to impeach without impeaching. Anything to avoid seeking votes the honest way: defending the Big Government solutions they’re so intent on imposing.
— Written by Thomas McArdle
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