Monday, April 22, 2019

Trump Impeachment Threat Gets Real

Two narratives have emerged since the release of the redacted version of the Mueller report. One is fiction, that Trump was fully exonerated by it. AG William Barr did what he could to support the distortion, saying there's no there there, releasing a 4 page summary of the 448 page report, then, when pressured, putting out a redacted version of it.

Democrats were on him like a hive of angry super-bees. But in the first few days there was a lot of focus on this exoneration narrative, even by liberal media, with many saying there was no countering it and that Democrats would shoot themselves in the foot to pursue it. There were reports that some Democrats are afraid it will make a martyr of Trump and give him such a boost that he wins in 2020. They suggested it would be better to focus on the election to get rid of Trump.

He, of course, has marched around waving at crowds, shooting his mouth off. Seemingly triumphant. Hysteria patently visible just below the surface.

The other narrative, supported by facts, is that the Mueller report, far from exonerating the president, provides a launch for impeachment proceedings and possible criminal indictment because, while collusion doesn't have a legal definition and isn't a federal crime, obstruction of justice does and is. Among many others, NYT, The Guardian, Vox have covered this and exposed Trump's real vulnerability.

Now Democrat Representative Jerry Nadler (NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has issued a subpoena for the unredacted report and its accompanying evidence to be submitted by 1 May, with a pledge to hold "major hearings".

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indeed been wary of jumping the gun unless there's bi-partisan support for impeachment in the House and Senate. But, she isn't saying it won't happen. She's just being very measured in her response, making sure that all bases are covered. She's a great strategist and has never taken her foot off the pressure pedal. Her Communications Director and Senior Adviser Ashley Etienne said "as the Speaker has said repeatedly, one step at a time." House Committee Oversight Chairman Democratic Rep Elijah Cummings echoed that (see tweet above).

However, Senator Elizabeth Warren has publicly called for impeachment. "To ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways. "

Charles Blow argues for impeachment in his NYT column, writing, "An impeachment vote in the House has, to this point, been the strongest rebuke America is willing to give a president. I can think of no president who has earned this rebuke more than the current one. And, once a president is impeached, he is forever marked. It is a chastisement unto itself. It is the People’s House making a stand for its people."

It is a fundamental moral issue, but ultimately, impeachment by the House could also be good strategy. It might give Trump a boost, but it will put a nuclear rocket under and unite Democratic voters who are phenomenally frustrated and have been crying out for action against this corrupt president ever since he was elected.

Also, it will put the Senate in the same position the House is in now. If they refuse to indict, Democratic voters will be incandescent. Either way, Trump loses.

Walking on eggshells around a bully never works. It gives them power. You can't back down from a fight for what's right out of fear that justice won't be found. It's a mistake to think that Nancy Pelosi and those like her are doing that or that they're cowards. They're not. They're girding their loins. It doesn't hurt Democrats overall that they're not united; in fact the two positions reinforce each other. And for all his insistence that he's been cleared, Trump is terrified, ranting and scapegoating on Twitter, truth be damned as always.

He's on the run. Democrats are keeping it that way. They're circling him. Closing in on him. From every direction.