Back on October 2nd (I know, it feels like ages ago), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff gave an essential address to reporters on Capitol Hill. During the press conference, Adam Schiff delivered an ultimatum to President Trump by saying. “To say that we are concerned that the White House will attempt to stonewall our investigation much as they have stonewalled other committees. It is why I say the White House needs to understand that any action like that. That forces us to litigate or have to consider litigation will be considered further evidence of obstruction of justice. That was an article of impeachment against Nixon, the obstruction of lawful functions of Congress.”
In other words: if you don’t wholly cooperate with our wild witch hunt, we will impeach you on charges of obstruction of justice. Trump responded by…not cooperating.
On October 8th, the United States’ ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was flying into DC to appear before a House panel in a closed-door hearing on the hill when the State Department abruptly barred Sondland from testifying. Following the news, Trump tweeted out that “I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify, but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public.”
But that was just the beginning. That same day, the White House sent an official letter, written by Counsel to the President, Pat Cipollone, to the House Democrats formally stating that the Administration would not be cooperating with the impeachment inquiry.
The letter says that “Your inquiry is constitutionally invalid and a violation of due process. In the history of our Nation, the House of Representatives has never attempted to launch an impeachment inquiry against the President without a majority of the House taking political accountability for that decision by voting to authorize such a dramatic constitutional step. For the foregoing reasons, the President cannot allow your constitutionally illegitimate proceedings to distract him and those in the Executive Branch from their work on behalf of the American people. The President has a country to lead.” Ouch.
But by sending this letter and backing it up with action, the President has done more than thumb his nose at the Dems. He has effectively backed Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff into a corner. If the Democrats were to follow the plan they laid out in their early presser, they should have already introduced articles of impeachment to the House floor and taken a vote. Something Pelosi is refusing to do.
Pelosi may be a partisan hack, but she must not be underestimated. She is a clever, shrewd politician who knows the dangers of bringing an impeachment vote to the floor. For one, holding an impeachment vote will force moderate Democrats in Trump districts to have to choose a side, to impeach or not to impeach. While that may be an easy decision for most of the Democratic caucus, there are certain Democrats who could have their political careers harmed by taking the wrong side. Which side is the right side is the million-dollar question.
Secondly, there is a 99% chance that despite the political minefield that is an impeachment vote, it will pass the Democratic-controlled House. Therefore, impeachment would travel to the Republican-controlled Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already committed to holding a trial. A trial on whether or not to remove President Trump from office.
The thing is, the Democrats know there is almost no chance that Trump will get kicked out of the White House. There is simply no basis for it. What would happen in the Senate? However, is that Republicans would finally have the same amount of power as the Democrats. Something that has been stolen from them during this closed-door impeachment inquiry. Power to call witnesses, cross-examine, and subpoena. Can you imagine Joe or Hunter Biden on the stand getting grilled during a nationally televised impeachment trial?
If there is indeed a Senate trial, here’s the outcome, Trump is vindicated in the eyes of the American people. Joe and Hunter Biden’s careers are destroyed, and Trump and the Republicans will crush all expectations in 2020.
That’s why Donald Trump and his Administration cannot cave to Pelosi, Schiff, and the Democrats. If Trump can hold out for a little longer, Nancy Pelosi will have to do something. Either hold a floor vote or admit that impeachment has been a Democratic pipe dream and apologize to Trump and the American people. That’s laughable.