I want to make it clear right out of the gate that my thoughts on impeachment have very little to do with the actual nitty gritty details of the Senate trial going on (I honestly can’t be bothered to watch it). I’m also not against the idea of impeaching the current president, in fact, I think it’s absolutely deserved. With that said, the current impeachment trial of President Trump is a complete waste of time, one that will likely backfire for Democrats in a big way. At the end of the day, it’s just another example of how Trump is untouchable (and how the Democrats are political novices).
It all started with the Russia investigation conducted by special prosecutor Robert Mueller. While the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US elections and coordination between Trump’s campaign team and the Russian government was long, arduous and very thorough (not to mention how it led to the indictment of several Trump staffers), the way it was sensationalized in the media and online made it sound like his administration was doomed to fall at any moment and that Robert Mueller was a Godsend who was going to be handcuffing Trump and hauling him off to jail on live TV.
But the reality of the situation is way less interesting. For starters, Mueller is a Republican, just like Trump and was appointed the head of the FBI under President George Bush in 2001 (doesn’t exactly serve as a shining endorsement if you ask me). Anyone that assumed that Mueller was going to go particularly hard on Trump, or even suggest in the report that the House of Representatives should pursue impeachment, is incredibly naive. Mueller is also really good friends with the man who he was working for as prosecutor, William Barr, Trump’s attorney general, who publicly criticized the value of the Russia investigation. So when a Republican former FBI Director released a boring report that the attorney general’s office then decided not to act on, it didn’t exactly come as a surprise given the circumstances.
Before the final report was released many people were expecting that it would include a charge or even many charges against the President of criminal wrongdoing. But a simple Google search would have shown those people that a President cannot be charged with a federal criminal while in office. So all of the political capital expelled by the Democrats during the investigation and when the report was released on top of the media that was crying wolf, all served to pull the rug out from under the idea of impeachment before it even got off the ground.
As of right now there is very little rug left to be swept out, as the impeachment of Trump has passed the House and he is now facing his trial in the Senate. The impeachment is based on findings that were uncovered during a House inquiry that found that Trump had withheld aid from Ukraine in exchange for dirt on his political opponents to help his 2020 re-election bid, an interesting case.
There were many stupid decisions made by the Democrats regarding his impeachment its hard to keep track. Let’s start with the articles of impeachment themselves. To focus on the fact that Trump withheld foreign aid in exchange for political dirt on an opponent seems like a misdirection.
The website “Need to Impeach” lays out a few prime examples of just what I mean by this. They provide a clear list of Trump’s other impeachable offenses, all of which are more compelling than the one the Democrats chose. Obstruction of Justice when he unceremoniously fired FBI Director James Comey, advocating for domestic violence against his detractors, attacking the press, violating the rights of immigrants, violating campaign finance laws, the list goes on.
However, the most compelling factor to me is how he has used the office of the Presidency to personally enrich himself. His failure to divest from his financial and business interests has meant that he has personally been able to benefit from foreign dignitaries staying at his hotels, buying memberships at his country club, approving projects in different countries and so on, likely to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
So why were none of these included in or were the focus of the articles of impeachment? Why did Democrats, specifically House Leader Nancy Pelosi, choose to limit the scope of impeachment so drastically (and limit it to an issue that is considerably less important than most of the others)?
Having blown the impeachment card so early and on such a middling issue will mean that if Trump is elected to a second term (which is very likely, but that’s a topic for another day) then the Democrats won’t be able to impeach again. I mean, they will be allowed to legally, but the court of public opinion and likely the political support for that will be non-existent.
Speaking of political support, it’s very important to consider given how political the issue of impeachment is. The House of Representatives, which is made up exclusively of elected members of congress (who are all either Democrats or Republicans save for a single independent) have to vote on the articles of impeachment. While the articles did pass the House, it’s important to remember that the House is majority Democrat, or majority against Trump. It frankly would’ve been more surprising if they didn’t pass.
The issue is that not a single Republicans voted for it. While it is of course way harder to get support for impeaching the president if they’re from your own party, the articles for impeachment against President Nixon in the 1970’s passed with support from Democrats and Republicans, because the cases were strong.
The issue with the impeachment being entirely based on party lines is because while the Democratic-majority House allowed the articles of impeachment to pass, the Senate, where the trial is currently taking place, is majority Republican. What this means is that the trial is likely not going to vote to remove, just in time for Trump to kick off his re-election campaign (and you don’t need to know about politics to know why that’s bad for Democrats).
If anything, given the lack of Republican support for impeachment and the upcoming election, it would’ve been best for the Democrats to have not given the articles of impeachment to the Senate at all, at least not right before the next election. Who knows, Trump could lose and have been taken out of office that way, or the Senate could flip to the Democrats and they could actually remove him from office (even though that’s extremely unlikely). Regardless, they should have done anything other than what they ended up doing.
So with all that said, I’m left with one simple question: why? Why did the Democrats and the media put so much stock in the Mueller investigation? Why did they cling onto such a limited and uninteresting angle for impeachment? Why didn’t they introduce other articles of impeachment that dealt with the more interesting issues? And last, but certainly not least, why would they send the articles of impeachment to a Republican-majority Senate, just so Trump can be allowed to remain in office, all but an exoneration in the court of public opinion, just in time for the next election? I lied, I have another question: do the Democrats just like losing or are they really this stupid?