The Winds of Impeachment
Now that the House has voted out the Articles of Impeachment it is time to move on to the next step. Or is it? Moscow Mitch is poised and ready to receive the Articles and use them for toilet paper. The “Trial” that he and the defendant, Donald Trump, seek to jointly orchestrate will call no witnesses and avoid entertaining any motions that would allow a simple majority vote for fear that a handful of his own fellow Republicans might side with the enemy.
It could be over in a single day ending with a resounding vote to exonerate our stable genius. Like a Stalinist show trial in reverse. The man who has already mocked the Articles due to be sent to him has declared proudly that he would not be an impartial judge and obviously does not believe in the Constitutional Separation of Powers, would conduct a dandy little kangaroo court performance and wash his hands of the matter like Pontius Pilate.
The same guy who blocked any vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court appointment until the Republicans gained control of the Congress and has bragged on his ability to stall and kill legislation, now demands swift action.
But why should he get that action? Or any action at all, from the House. There is nothing specific that tells the House when the Articles are to be transmitted to the Senate. There is only the precedent that that’s what was done in the past. A precedent based on just two prior Presidential Impeachment and Trials. If Mitch could drag his feet on appointing a Supreme Court Justice for purely partisan reasons why can’t the Democrats do the same thing with this Trial?
A recent article in The Atlantic by law professor Frank O. Bowman III titled “The Democrats Should Transmit the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate Without Delay” makes a finely argued legal case proving that the Democrats have no legal reason to demand the hearing of witnesses…or anything else, from the Senate. The trial is the Senate’s baby and they can conduct it any way they damn please. While I accept this legal argument, I don’t agree with Bowman’s conclusion. A conclusion which he undermines by admitting that the Trial conducted by McConnell will be a farce and that the verdict is a foregone conclusion.
So long as Professor Bowman remains on strictly legal ground, he is safe, but when he strays onto political ground, he is decidedly shaky. While admitting that the Impeachment proceedings in the House have, despite Republican rantings, done no significant damage to the Democrats’ campaign to unseat Trump, he maintains that failure to transmit the Articles to the Senate in a timely manner will diminish their chances of winning in November. To which I reply, “How so?” Will a thumping Senate vote to acquit Trump aid them? How will sending Trump and his cult followers into fits of rapture improve their chances?
All the Democrats will be able to do is grouse about the unfairness of a Trial that they already know will be unfair. Conversely, might not some strategic foot-dragging of the classic Mitch McConnell School of bare-knuckle politics help them? Impeachment is clearly driving our already looney president even crazier. On I-nite he bellowed angrily before his faithful for over two hours rambling into such important subjects as the quality of dishwashers and toilets while they slurped it up. Are more such performances going to boost his chances with the sane part of the voting public?
The only other political argument Bowman makes is that leaving the Trial hanging will deter the Democrats from doing what he thinks they should be doing, which is showcasing their vision for America’s future. A future which will not take place if Trump is re-elected. Even without a Trial, the Democrats can still present their “Plan for America,” and job one of that plan must be (to riff on Mitch’s words of some years ago) get rid of Trump! And all they’ve got to do to help their plan along is…nothing. Let the Impeachment Articles sit out there indefinitely while Trump, and McConnell, and Lindsay Graham, and all the other Trump-lovers and enablers…in the words of John Ehrlichman, since this is an Impeachment-related piece…“twist slowly in the wind.”