Just a few days ago, I predicted that Trump won’t be impeached. Of course, today we saw the announcement that Nancy Pelosi has directed the Judiciary Committee to start drafting articles of impeachment based on the hearing yesterday.
Now, that means a committee chaired by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Moria) is supposed to start coming up with a list of charges. Apparently, this is supposed to include bribery, abuse of power, and damned if conspiracy and collusion with the Russians isn’t back, Mueller investigation be damned.
You might think this would cause me to rethink my prediction, but it doesn’t.
Let’s hypothetically assume articles of impeachment were voted and sent to trial in the Senate. Then what?
Who is subpoenaed first? It’s going to be a race among Adam Schiff, Eric Ciaramella, and Mark Zaid (Ciaramella’s lawyer). Followed by Schiff’s staffers, Vindman again, other Democrat members of the HPSCI.
You can expect extensive declassification. In particular, of transcripts of the closed-door meetings that Schiff won’t release. (Hint: Classification is under the president’s authority, not a Congress member’s.)
After yesterday, you can expect extensive subpoenas of communications records.
You can expect (yet another) rehash of the last three years, and you can bet that the GOP will be out for blood.
You can expect a concurrent effort to expel Schiff from the House. (No, members of the House can’t be impeached. But they can be expelled.)
You can expect every witness from the Schiff hearings to be re-called and examined by hostile questioners, and you can bet Mitch McConnell won’t shush the Republicans.
You can expect most of the upper levels of the Obama administration to be subpoenaed: if they appear, they will be examined in ways that would make a proctologist squirm; if they resist, you can bet an attempt will be made to compel them, and “no one is above the law” will be the watchword on Republican lips.
Given the number of actual crimes that appear to be involved, the fallout could be expensive. No one will go to actual jail — nobody at that level goes to jail — but they could lose clearances, pay millions in lawyer fees, and become laughingstocks.
If it comes to trial and Trump is acquitted, especially when the evidence against the Obama administration comes out, it probably means a massive election victory for Trump and the GOP. If it comes to trial at all, then it’ll be happening during Iowa’s caucuses and many of the major contenders will need to be at the trial — or they won’t show up, and the Trump oppo ads will be solar fusion fire.
I still think the risks are too great for the Democrats. Instead, we’ll see this “drafting of articles of impeachment” drag on, “vaster than Empires and more slow,” because they get all the political benefits of keeping IMPEACHMENT IMPEACHMENT IMPEACHMENT in the news, with none of the risks.
Of course, there’s one more little puzzle: why the rush? We went from the Mueller report (about two years) to this pretty glaringly trumped-up (I love that pun) conspiracy, and it’s being pressed forward with “drafting articles of impeachment” starting on Monday.
Coincidentally, Monday is the day the ICIG report comes out. It promises to be pretty damning. So the Democrats are scheduling hearings again on drafting articles.
Funny old world.