Has any political ploy failed as spectacularly as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to delay sending the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump over to the Senate. Even Democrats are now telling her the jig is up.
Pelosi had hoped to use the delay as leverage to get the Senate to agree to the Democrats’ demand for witnesses at the trial. It was a foolhardy plan that, had the leadership not been in the grip of Trump Derangement Syndrome, it never would have attempted.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell always had the upper hand. His position was that the Senate trial would be conducted under the same rules that the Senate approved for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial.
Namely, the House managers and the White House lawyers would make their presentations and answer questions from senators. Then, the Senate would vote on whether it needed to hear from any witnesses. The Senate, by the way, unanimously approved those rules in 1999.
In the Clinton trial, after the presentations and Q&A, senators voted to 56-44 to depose three witnesses. They later decided – by a 70-30 margin – that they didn’t need to call those witnesses to testify on the Senate floor because excerpts from their depositions would suffice.
On Tuesday, McConnell announced that he had the votes needed to proceed with the Clinton-era impeachment rules. And soon after, Senate Democrats, in a rare show of bipartisanship, started pressuring Pelosi to stop her pointless delay.
“Time plays an unknown role in all of this, and the longer it goes on, the less the urgency becomes. So if it’s serious and urgent, it should come over. If it isn’t, don’t send it over,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Sen. Chris Murphy told The Washington Post on Tuesday that, “I think the time has passed. She should send the articles over.”
As CNN contributor Scott Jennings put it, “No Republicans were harmed, pressured, or otherwise inconvenienced in the making of this sad, sad film.”
This is but the latest in a continually growing line of epic impeachment failures.
Democrats clearly hoped that the Ukraine story, when it broke, would be enough to peel Republicans off, and if not to remove Trump from office, at least to weaken him substantially.
But even with their blatant effort to stack the deck against Trump during the House impeachment inquiry, Democrats catastrophically failed to make the case. The more evidence they produced, the weaker their case appeared. So much so that they weren’t even able to charge Trump with breaking any federal law in their impeachment articles. (Clinton, in contrast, was accused of perjury and obstruction of justice.)
As a result, the only bipartisan aspect of the impeachment process so far has been in opposition to it – two Democrats sided with Republicans to vote against impeaching Trump.
Meanwhile, support for removal softened, Trump’s approval ratings have held steady, and the public’s interest in impeachment evaporated.
So what’s left for Democrats? Continue to fantasize that some last-minute revelation will finally turn all this around – enough to convince 20 Republicans to vote to remove Trump from office?
When you’re on as bad a losing streak as the Democrats have been, you’d think that they’d reconsider their game plan. But that would require them to first get treated for TDS.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board
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