‘This has nothing to do with politics or partisanship.” That was how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it shortly before announcing the opening of an official impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump. Who is she trying to kid?
Despite the breathless commentary about Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president and a whistleblower report based on second-hand accounts of uncertain credibility, we know little about what transpired, much less whether it rises to the level of an impeachable offense. Democrats could have gone through the normal procedures to get the information from the White House rather than jump immediately to talk of impeachment.
But the Democrats’ impeachment frenzy didn’t result from this news. It’s been in full flower since before Trump was even elected. Heck, there were calls for his impeachment before he’d even secured the Republican nomination.
Here’s just a partial timeline of the many previous calls for Trump’s impeachment that turned out to be frivolous:
March 2016: After just 15 states had held their Republican primaries, The New York Daily News ran an editorial with the headline “Impeach Trump.”
April 2016: Politico ran a story headlined: “Could Trump Be Impeached Shortly After He Takes Office?” It starts by saying that, “Donald Trump isn’t even the Republican nominee yet. But … ‘impeachment’ is already on the lips of pundits, newspaper editorials, constitutional scholars, and even a few members of Congress.”
January 2017: The same day Trump was inaugurated, the Washington Post ran a story saying that the “effort to impeach Trump is already underway.”
Feb 2017: An impeach Trump online campaign already had attracted 650,000 signatures.
April 2017: Rep. Maxine Waters leads an “impeach Trump” chant.
November 2017: Six House members introduced articles of impeachment against Trump, claiming he obstructed justice, violated the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause, and undermined the federal judiciary process and the press.
May 2018: Rep. Al Green says “there’s a good likelihood there will be articles of impeachment” brought against Trump if Democrats reclaim the House.
June 2018: Five months before she was elected to the House, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Trump should be impeached, claiming, “There are serious grounds in violations of the Emoluments Clause from day one.”
July 2018: After Trump’s Helsinki press conference with Vladimir Putin, Democrats declared that his conduct was grounds for impeachment. Former CIA Director John Brennan tweeted that “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.'” “It was nothing short of treasonous.”
December 2018: Rep. Jerry Nadler says Trump could be impeached for the alleged payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels. “Certainly they’d be impeachable offenses because even though they were committed before the president became president, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office,” he asserted.
And all this, of course, was before Special Counsel Robert Mueller released his findings on the Russia investigation, which took the wind out of the sails of the impeach Trump crowd. Now, conveniently enough, a new charge emerges.
More broadly, Democrats have a long history of rushing to impeach Republicans, as IBD editorials noted when impeachment frenzy was in the air in November 2017.
That doesn’t mean that Pelosi’s decision isn’t significant; opening an impeachment investigation is a big deal, no matter what your political stripes. Nor is any of this to say that an investigation into Trump’s dealings with the Ukrainian president isn’t warranted.
But you will have to pardon us if we aren’t swept up in the latest round of the Democrats’ impeach Trump mania, before there’s any actual evidence of wrongdoing or obstruction, only plenty of hopeful speculation from Trump’s harshest critics — on both sides of the aisle — who’ve never been able to accept the fact that he won the election.
— Written by John Merline
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