Seven Impeachment Assumptions to Ignore
Conventional wisdom is meaningless. Nothing is set in stone. The possibilities are endless.
|Greg Olear||Dec 28, 2019|| 34||2|
NOT THAT LONG AGO, Nancy Pelosi gave an interview in which she remarked that she had no wish to impeach Donald John Trump. He would “self-impeach,” she told us, because of his rampant obstruction of Congress. “Sometimes people act as though it’s impeach or nothing. It’s not that,” she said. “We won’t go any faster than the facts take us or any slower than the facts take us.”
This slow-roll approach was roundly condemned by anti-Trumpers, some of whom went so far as to question whether Pelosi was compromised. I understood her rationale, and I never doubted her allegiances, but it was frustrating, especially after the bathetic release of the Mueller Report, to have to wait.
Seven months after that interview, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald John Trump. The ignominy clearly eats at the president, who spent most of his Christmas—the war on which is such a key plank in the MAGA platform—trying to tweet it into nonexistence. Again: In May, it looked like Pelosi would never impeach. Now she has—and she’s playing her hand beautifully, doing what she can to ensure there is a fair trial in the Senate.
The point here is that we don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know, you don’t know, and the Chuck Todds and Chris Cillizzas of the world certainly have no fucking clue. The conventional wisdom can safely be thrown out the window—and so can these seven media-reinforced impeachment assumptions:
1. Mitch McConnell will never allow a fair trial in the Senate.
The American people don’t want a sham trial—and 20 seasons of Law & Order have taught us how to recognize when the fix is in. We want a stately judge presiding, and we want witnesses, and we want direct questions and cross examinations, and we want a jury pool that isn’t clearly on the make. We also know damned well who controls the chamber. McConnell has to be very careful here, or he will lose the Senate for the rest of his lifetime.
Complicating matters is the impatience of the Commander in Chief. A sham trial is the only way to exonerate Donald John Trump, but Donald John Trump wants to be exonerated, like, the day before yesterday. (Seriously, have you seen his Twitter feed?) Thus, there is enormous pressure on McConnell from both sides to end the impasse. How long before President CAPSLOCK starts firing off angry tweets at #MoscowMitch?
I think we wind up with a fair trial—and one that McConnell, to use a pet Republican analogy, can make like Pilate and wash his hands of. “I tried, but you hurried the process,” he will tell the president, covering his bony ass.
2. The key witnesses will not testify.
Giuliani, Pompeo, Pence, Mulvaney, Perry, Bolton: in a fair trial, presided over by the Chief Justice of the Fucking Supreme Court, all six of the Dirty Half-Dozen should be made to testify—or face very real punishment. And then the world can watch in amazement as all but Bolton take the Fifth, like the criminals they are.
3. The Republican strategy will work like gangbusters.
The House GOP moved Jim Jordan, a seditious buffoon, onto the Intelligence Committee because it needed one more loudmouthed moron to yowl about the unfair process. How are Jordan and Matt Gaetz and Devin Nunes and Doug Collins and Elise Stefanik—or whoever the Republicans in their “wisdom” name as impeachment managers—supposed to employ this strategy in a chamber controlled by their GOP brethren? They can’t both attack and determine the process. The American people will soon realize that their diatribes are tales told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
4. The Supreme Court is corrupt and MAGA.
Brett Kavanaugh is almost certainly corrupt, and I expect his voting record to confirm this. John Roberts? Not so much. I have not agreed with all of his decisions, but I watched his nomination hearing, and unlike Blackout Brett, he is really really smart. SCOTUS has been mostly silent for three years, watching Trump and his minions run roughshod over the Constitution so many of them claim to be “strict interpretationalists” of. You don’t think maybe the head of the highest court in the land wants to make his presence felt, and that maybe, just maybe, he’s on the side of truth, justice, and the American way and not a tool of the Russian mob?
5. The Senate will never vote to remove Trump.
If the Senate acquits Donald John Trump, every one of the Senators voting to do so will have a black mark next to his or her name for the rest of recorded history. It doesn’t feel like it now, but in the years to come, these traitors will be viewed in the same way we now regard the Vichy French and Vidkun Quisling. A “nay” vote should kill their political careers forever, and their names will live in infamy.
Right now, 55 percent of Americans are in favor of impeaching and removing Trump. That number will only rise, as the media stops soft-pedaling his crimes—especially if Pompeo, Pence, Giuliani, and others are compelled to testify. Oh, and as his tax documents are released, exposing him once and for all as a money launderer for the Russian mob.
Compromised traitors like Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz will side with Trump, because they have no choice. But what will someone like Ben Sasse do? Or Mitt Romney? Or Marco Rubio? They understand the political calculus here. And what’s true in late December 2019 may no longer be in March of 2020. Chances for acquittal remain good, but this is not set in stone. Indeed, the best the GOP Senators could hope for is…
6. Trump would never resign.
Since Donald John Trump took office, I have held that he will eventually resign. While he is incapable of feeling shame in the way functional humans do, he is certainly able to feel humiliation. Indeed, every decision he makes is based on humiliation: how to maximize the humiliation of someone else to avoid humiliating himself. This is why he eventually caves at every negotiation. Also, he is the biggest coward who ever drew breath, and will always take the easy way out. We have 70 years of evidence to back all this up.
His appearance at a trial in the Senate for a crime we all know he’s guilty of is, potentially, the ultimate in public humiliation. Trump will talk a big game, as he always does, but when push comes to shove, he will not cede the narrative he’s controlled for three years to go before the Senate and have his ego destroyed. A steely Kamala Harris cross-examining Trump would be the most-watched TV event of all time—thus ensuring that every sentient human on earth will witness his ultimate humiliation.
Polling is at 55 percent now. Nixon resigned at 60. Don’t be surprised when the first half of his late-night physical at Walter Reed gives Trump cover to resign for medical reasons. He will blame his health. He will blame the media. He will blame Crazy Nancy and Crooked Hillary and even Lovely Lisa Page. But Donald John Trump will follow in the disgraced footsteps of Richard Milhous Nixon—save for one key difference…
7. Mike Pence will pardon Trump.
Um…why? What possible reason would a President Pence have to do such a thing? Oh, he might promise to pardon him. But once Trump was gone, and he was POTUS—his ultimate ambition and the ostensible reason he hasn’t resigned yet—what incentive would he have to make good on the handshake deal? The only hope Pence would have to remain in office for more than a few lame-duck months, as the impeachment inquiry quickly shifted its focus from Trump to his co-conspirator Pence, would lie in distancing himself from his crooked running mate. What better way to do it than by betraying Trump as soon as he was sworn in? It’s not like Pence is George Washington cutting down the cherry tree. He lies all the time. How delicious would it be if Mike Pence was the one who ultimately sealed the doom of Donald John Trump?
To be clear: this is not a forecast. I’m not decreeing that all of these things will happen, just that they realistically could, for the reasons stated. Nothing about impeachment is fait accompli, excepting the one thing I know for sure: that we shall prevail.