The Incredible Ace of Spades Up Nancy Pelosi’s Impeachment Sleeve
Late last night, the House passed two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
The matter will now move to a trial in the Senate, where Republican Senators appear excited to ignore their oath, and dismiss the charges without a hint of fairness.
Which means in just a few weeks time, Trump will be able to beat his chest, and we can look forward to an endless barrage of “Totally vindicated”, “The most innocent president ever”, and “total witch hunt” tweets.
At least that was the outlook until reporters caught Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi exiting the impeachment hearings. There, she made several very interesting statements.
In short, it appears that she will withhold the articles from the Senate, retaining control of the process in the House.
How is this possible, and what could it mean?
As it turns out, after the House votes to impeach a president, as they did tonight, passing two articles of impeachment against President Trump, there’s a final procedural act that needs to take place before it is transitioned to the Senate for a trial and, ultimately, the vote to remove or acquit.
Speaker Pelosi still has to bring a resolution to the floor naming “managers” for the impeachment proceedings. These are the representivies that would essentially act as the prosecutors in the Senate trial. The articles of impeachment are not transitioned to the Senate until this resolution takes place.
There is no deadline or timeline in which this must take place; the House could, theoretically, stall indefinitely should they so choose. There is no mechanism for House Republicans to compel or force this resolution to the floor.
During the Clinton impeachment, this happened the very same day.
Leaving the impeachment hearings last night, Pelosi made clear that this will not be something they act on in the coming days.
Pelosi stated: “We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side. So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us. So hopefully it will be fair. And when we see what that is, we’ll send our managers.”
Is it possible that she is willing to hold this up indefinitely, through the 2020 election cycle, if she (correctly) feels the Senate is unable to provide a fair and impartial trial?
“We’re not having that discussion,” she said, adding that it “would have been our intention” to send the impeachment to the Senate without delay, “but we’ll see what happens over there.”
I had previously written that I thought the impeachment was a mistake for the simple reason that it changed the setting of the proverbial political theater from the Democrat controlled House to the Republican controlled Senate. And with the Senate openly celebrating that there would not be an impartial trial, I thought that was a careless mistake.
But it would appear that Pelosi knows things that I do not, and that a politician I’ve generally had a pretty healthy level of disdain for knows a few tricks that can swoon even the most “radical” progressive.
What The Future Holds
In all likelihood, this tactic will allow for a few weeks of grandstanding and posturing before Pelosi sends this on to the Senate for a quick dismissal.
But I think that would be a mistake.
It is my humble and naive hope that these articles of impeachment never make it to the current sham of a Senate; I would love nothing more than to see the House continue to investigate every angle of Trump for further proof of misconduct and wrongdoing.
The pressure that a drawn out, endless investigation would put him under would almost certainly cause self incrimination, his inability to remain silent ultimately being his own undoing.
If the American people can’t get a fair Senate trial for his alleged high crimes and misdemeanors, then they at least deserve to know as much as possible about his corruption as they go to the polls in 2020.
So I say let it sit. Let’s wait for the courts to decide that Trump has indeed exceeded his authority with regard to the use of executive privilege and his obstruction of congress.
Let’s wait for the court to rule that the American people have a right to know of Trump’s business dealings by way of his tax returns, so we can ensure there is not any egregious conflicts of interest between his position and his wealth. (There almost certainly is: he’s been in business with the Russians for decades. Check out Active Measures on Hulu if you want to be both informed and enraged.)
Let’s compile as much evidence as we can against the greatest threat to democracy in American history in the next 11 months.
And let’s give the American people the chance to both replace the President, as well as the oath violating Senate, in the 2020 election.
But let’s not let the Republican Senate regime decide the guilt of a clearly guilty Republican.