HORIST: The winds of impeachment are ablowin’ on Capitol Hill
In a recent commentary, I handicapped the odds 90 percent that hearings will open, 50 percent chance President Trump would be impeached and a 90 percent chance the Senate will not remove him from office.
At this point, I think the possibility that the Democrats will open an impeachment hearing by the House Judiciary Committee has moved up to 99 percent. Its chairman, New York Congressman Jerry Nadler, is among the more strident and vocal anti-Trump-ers in the House, and early reports suggest that the committee will be stacked with impeachment advocates. They will be backed up by newly hired staff lawyers who specialize in criminal investigations.
While the more tempered voices in the Democrat caucus call for a postponement of judgment until Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report is made public – either officially or by leak – the more rabid legislators are passionately committed to impeachment. Driven by brutal partisanship, they do not need to see any “high crimes and misdemeanors.” They know that impeachment is a political process and they want to overthrow the election – an ambition that has not diminished since November of 2016.
The occasionally rational California Congresswoman Maxine Waters will now head the House Financial Services Committee, which regulates business. This is truly the fox in the henhouse. On the cusp of her chairmanship, Waters noted that while some suggest not talking about impeachment prematurely, she declared her intent – not to fairly investigate, but as she put it, to “impeach, impeach, impeach.”
In an utter lapse of dignity, decorum, collegiality and bipartisanship – and all the other crap they claim to respect – the Waters sentiment was crudely echoed by Muslim freshman Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who yelled out at an orientation meeting, “… we’re gonna go in and impeach the motherf—–.” Ah, the fruits of diversity.
Tlaib not only defended her comment as “speaking truth to authority” (apparently truth can only be conveyed with vulgarity) but blamed Trump by saying that he has “given permission” to use foul language. In offering up her low-class gutter vulgarity, Tlaib was quoting an answer she gave to her young son during a conversation. Really? Is that how a leftist mother talks to her children? I guess so.
Even the mislabeled moderate Democrat voices are only moderately less determined to impeach the President. They will be on board for impeachment when the Mueller report is submitted no matter what the report says – and it is more than likely that it will be carefully crafted against the President whether there are accusations of crimes or not.
I now give it an 80-plus percent chance that Trump will, indeed, be impeached by the House. It is not only the Democrat take over, but the size of their victory – 40 seats, and one still undecided – and the nature of the newbies. They fairly call it the most diverse Congress in history, but there is little to no diversity in their common desire to remove Trump from office – or to wound him and the Republicans so badly that the Democrats can take control of both the Senate and the White House in 2020.
The odds of removal have actually dropped a bit – in the 60/40 range against removal. Since the recent election, the Senate is a more substantial firewall for the President. The GOP has increased its numbers by two – from 50 to 52 seats. More importantly, three senators who might have been willing to vote with Democrats on removal – John McCain, Jeff Flake and Bob Corker – are no longer there. Senator Mitt Romney could be a replacement, but that still leaves the anti-Trump GOP coalition down by two.
On the other hand, there will be a lot of vulnerable Republican senators up for re-election in 2020. A vote on impeachment could be a similar dilemma as the Democrats faced on the vote for the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. But even facing a difficult election, it seems very unlikely that the impeachment forces could gain enough Republican votes to reach the two-thirds vote requirement.
It is also questionable whether Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will even try to lure Republicans to crossover. The best political outcome for the Democrats could be an impeached President hobbling through two more years of office. Yes, I know Bill Clinton got re-elected after impeachment, but there are no comparisons that are relative to today’s reality.
There is a wild card in this game of political poker. It has to do with what will not only come out of the Mueller probe, but all those other investigations going on in New York. Will they find serious provable criminality in the operation of the Trump Organization, the Trump Foundation or in the President’s financial dealings, including tax filings and those sex-related nondisclosure payments? Only the most uncritical fan of the President would discount that possibility. The man was a major real estate developer in one of the most corrupt cities in America. It is almost impossible to imagine that Trump did not color outside the lines now and then.
And finally, there is Trump’s own pugnacious and bellicose personality. While he may know how to manage a real estate deal, he is woefully incompetent in managing his public image. His comments and tweets are too often seeds sown on enemy soil. Many in the Trump fan club viscerally enjoy his theatrics and excuse his inexcusable behavior, but the Trump schtick is wearing thin with an increasing number of the formerly converted Democrats, independents and even among Republicans.
In many ways, the question of impeachment has more to do with Trump than the Democrats. Since impeachment is purely a political process, it requires broad public support. This is where the Democrats have their biggest advantage. They can rely on the predominantly #NeverTrump media to expand and accelerate its mendacious and highly partisan attacks on anything and everything Trump says or does. Their part in the political melodrama will be to rouse public outrage – as they have been doing for the past couple of years. But future reporting will be much harsher than even in the past.
The one thing we can say with some confidence is that whatever chaos has been generated in Washington in these past two years, it is nothing compared to the predicted chaos that will ensue as the Democrats get rolling. It will be gridlock on steroids.
So, there ‘tis.