News & Politics

Prediction: No Impeachment

Prediction: No Impeachment
Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a military officer at the National Security Council, center, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, to appear before a House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Committee on Oversight and Reform joint interview with the transcript to be part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

I’m afraid I’ve run out of metaphors for the “impeachment inquiry.” “Clown show” — I like clowns. The ad vendors and corporate won’t let me spell out “(excrement) show” without bowdlerization. “Death march,” maybe.

In any case, you know what I’m talking about — the ongoing kangaroo court inquiry in which the main complainant “whistleblower” is anxious to testify until his long-time connections with the people who are pushing the inquiry, as well as his long-time connections with the corrupt inner circle Trump would like Ukraine to investigate, became known — at which point he became so scary that you can’t name him on Facebook, as if Eric Ciaramella were Voldemort in the children’s books.

Of course, if Ciaramella was not the whistleblower, his attorney — the one who was bragging that the “#coup” was on in January 2017 — could just say “Eric Ciaramella is not the whistleblower” instead of threatening people with meretricious legal arguments to suppress his name.

Which is “Eric Ciaramella.”

In fact, one of the most curious aspects of the “inquiry” has been just who may, and may not, testify — along with the fact that the fabled Adam Schiff is the only decider of who is called to testify.

Why, it’s almost as if there’s something that worries the Democrats about cross-examination of the guy that was their star witness a couple of weeks ago.

(There’s another mystery about that: how is it that the leaks of testimony start within minutes, but the full transcripts are released days or weeks later, if at all.)

But now consider what happens if they do prepare Articles and have them actually voted out of the House. (Which isn’t actually a foregone conclusion given the polling.)

They have to go to trial in the Republican-dominated Senate. Where Eric Ciaramella can be called for public testimony under oath. Where Alex Vindman can be challenged by a former JAG about his violations of the UCMJ. Where people can be called to testify in public what they’ve said in the Star Chamber: that Ukraine never knew about aid being suspended, and that the president of Ukraine denies any pressure. And where House Members can’t be threatened with ethics complaints for asking inconvenient questions.

Where what already looks like a shady investigation of a made-up crime can’t be controlled.

My guess is that this will hang on until after Thanksgiving, especially if the ICIG report comes out. Then they will announce in high dudgeon that because of GOP obstruction and the risk to the (still “secret”) whistleblower, along with the proximity to the election, they can’t press on in the Senate where the evil Mitch McConnell will drag out the trial and thwart the will of the People.

They might even try to continue the “inquiry” into the New Year, although the risk grows every day that Republicans will start leaking seriously, or filing more ethics complains against the Democrats — or, of course, starting subpoenas in the Senate.

But an actual impeachment trial? They can’t risk it.