There is a growing clamor among Democratic ranks to begin Impeachment proceedings against Donald J Trump. And now a lone Republican member of the House – Representative Justin Amash of Michigan – says he believes the president has, indeed, committed impeachable offenses and should be held to account through the Constitutional Impeachment process.
I think Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right that to do so is a bad idea.
Why, because I don’t agree that Trump deserves by his conduct to be removed from office? Far from it. He has so disgraced the presidency and himself that a catalogue of his crimes and failings would require hours to recite. Moreover, Trump presents a mortal danger to our Country that until recently has been the leader and envy of the world.
No, Impeachment is a bad idea for practical reasons. If the goal is to remove Trump from the Oval Office, the Impeachment process would at this point in time actually hinder that goal.
-First, with Republicans firmly in control of the Senate removal from office would not occur no matter what evidence the House reports. When Richard Nixon was clearly headed toward a Senate conviction both parties led by the Democrats clearly had assembled the votes for removal.
In those days the evidence on the “tapes” in which you heard Nixon commit the felony of obstruction of justice by devising a plan to cover up the Watergate burglary was so conclusive as to pierce any partisan cover Congressional Republicans might have attempted to give him. And in those days, many Republicans who had been Nixon supporters looked at the evidence and left his camp voluntarily.
But today, and I hate to say it, Congressional Republicans either through conviction or fear of their Trump constituents are almost solidly the president’s sycophants no matter what. They see the same evidence the rest of us see and simply deny it. Is it really realistic to believe any bill of particulars presented to the Senate by the House would cause Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to lead his troops to vote for removal?
But why not make the case in the House anyway? It would show a willingness to do the right thing using the Constitutional process set up by the Founders for just such a circumstance that now exists. It would highlight the fact that a great majority of Americans want Trump removed and thus a rebuke to the minority who support him. It would show that the Democrats are up to doing their duty. But those arguments bring me to a second reason why Impeachment now is a bad idea.
-Second, the Impeachment process in the House would take time. Court battles over House demands for evidence – records, tax files, testimony from Trump officials past and present – would require not weeks but months. To try to rush through the process would play into the hands of Trump crying to his supporters that he is being “railroaded.”
But let us assume by next year Impeachment by the House would be voted and despite the lack of Republican support in the Senate, a Senate Trial would be scheduled (see the Clinton time table) in early 2020. And now, for sake of a discussion, let us assume I am dead wrong and by mid-summer the Senate has voted to remove Trump from office.
What do you think happens then? Like Nixon, he leaves chastened without a murmur, waving from the door of his helicopter before he lifts off from the White House for the last time? And what do you think that hard core of Americans who have supported Trump despite all his lies and dangerous and cruel ignorant actions will do? Accept that he was fairly judged, that they were wrong, taken in by a con-man and retire to bitter but silent acquiescences?
I need not give you my answers to those questions but merely ask you to think about them and reach your own conclusions.
But removal appears highly unlikely. So Trump stays, again what harm in making the try?
I believe the main goal now is to remove Trump from office and I further believe the best chance to do that is in a fiercely fought 2020 election. An election that not only defeats him soundly but a defeat so overwhelming that any attempt on his part to subvert it would fail and one that would leave his hard core supporters no choice but to accept it.
Anything that gets in the way of that election, that distracts from that effort draining energy and risking public apathy or worse disapproval and energizing Trump’s hard corps supporters to defend him even stronger, would deporadize the main goal. And that’s what I believe a failed Impeachment proceeding now would do.
I can just see Trump’s call to his base for resistance to what he will say is the “deep states” attempted coup.
And with people now discussing the possibility of violence if Trump is fairly defeated in the 2020 election, what do you think the possibility is of violence if he is under siege by an Impeachment process as the election approaches?
No, Impeachment is not the way. Keep the spotlight on his many sins against truth, facts, justice and regular order. Work hard for his removal less than two years away through the election process.
To get the job done then let’s stand with Nancy now!