As we continue to march down the road towards the Democrats filing Articles of Impeachment against President Trump, we have to look at some of the facts, some of the assumptions and some of the actions of the players. It is like a carousel and there are many horses on the merry-go-round that we have to account for.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the bench on the carousel you can sit on and slowly take the ride. She tried to keep this in check because she knows that it is fraught with political danger to some of her newly-elected freshman members. Most of these are in suburban districts and they were able to flip the seats from Red to Blue. If things were to go south in this effort a number of these new members could find themselves in uphill reelection battles that could allow Republicans to retake the House.
The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler (D-NY) is the horse on the inside of the carousel that goes up and down. He tried to stay in front of this issue and much of his actions, in my opinion, are based on his fear of a primary challenger from someone backed by Ocasio-Cortez. Mr. Nadler was good friends with his former colleague Joe Crowley, and he had a first-hand look at how he was taken down by someone with no political experience or background. The result is hearings being held in what is called an “impeachment inquiry” and he and his staff issuing as many subpoenas as possible.
The third major player in this drama is the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff (D-CA). He is the most interesting of the pieces on the carousel, the one that is the broken horse that everyone is leery about riding. I believe that he might be the weak link in all of this effort. This is the same Adam Schiff that for two years claimed to have incontrovertible evidence of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia. Over and over the media asked him to produce this damning evidence and to this day nothing has been produced. What it appears is that Mr. Schiff believed what he was being told and in his mind that was conclusive evidence of collusion and he kept wondering why everyone else did not see what he saw. The Mueller Report took the wind out of those sails and despite continuing to maintain he had this evidence the American public quit listening to him on that issue. Then we have Chairman Schiff placing in the hearing record a made-up conversation between President Trump and President Zelensky. Most congressional observers were more than a little shocked to see this type of dishonesty coming from the chair of a major committee in the middle of a hearing. Even the Washington Post gave Mr. Schiff four Pinocchio’s for this egregious action. Those words should be stricken from the hearing record. Add on to this the revelation by the New York Times that members of Mr. Schiff’s staff met with the intelligence whistleblower before the story broke and his credibility takes another hit. Mr. Schiff contends that he did not meet personally with the whistleblower and did not talk to staff about what was said. Again, anyone that has been around Congress (I spent 42 years in that arena) would just laugh at the mere suggestion that staff would conduct such a meeting and interview without the direction of the Chairman. It just does not happen.
Today it was revealed that the Intelligence Inspector General, Michael Atkinson, who investigated the whistleblower allegation, told a closed session with members of Congress that he was not aware of the meeting between the whistleblower and the Democrat staff members. Atkinson is the small animal that is normally safe to ride but you have to be careful that you watch your small children on it. It is problematic in itself that he would not be told of that contact. Atkinson also apparently disclosed that that whistleblower admitted that he/she was a registered Democrat and had a prior working relationship with a top Democrat. Then you add in the fact that a tweet by Adam Schiff in August seemed to reflect knowledge of what the whistleblower complaint contained, information which had not been declassified at that point. Anyone thinking this is starting to smell more of politics than real intelligence and foreign policy.
We cannot leave out President Trump. He is the operator of the carousel and controls the speed. It seems to vary depending on his mood. Once again, he becomes his own worst enemy. While I have serious doubts that what he said in the conversations he had with both the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, rises to the level of an impeachable offense it certainly was evidence of poor judgment at worst and pure stupidity at best. Apparently has had similar conversations with other heads of state and that only compounds that stupidity, but it shows that he was consistent and not just using Ukraine as his cudgel in an attempt to tar and feather Joe Biden. This is Donald Trump at his best and worst. He is not a normal politician and does not play by the rules that have been laid down in the past.
The final potential ride is, of course, the former Vice President, Joe Biden. He is the horse that is now sitting off to the side while they try to repair it. Today new numbers and polling data find him fading fast and trailing both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Both are far outpacing him in raising money and both now are ahead of him in key polling data. I suspect that even the most ardent supporter of Biden has new questions about his ethics when they read about the sweetheart deals his son Hunter Biden got and also how his brother, James Biden, cashed in on his position as well. If Biden were to continue to stay ahead it would only be a matter of time before one of his opponents started using it against him and once that dam broke everyone would jump on Biden.
The question now is where is this going and what will be the final result? Assuming there is no new groundbreaking evidence coming forth I think eventually the House will file Articles of Impeachment sometime in late October or early November and a majority of the House will vote to impeach. What will be interesting is to watch which Democrats are given a pass to either vote against impeachment or to just not vote. Speaker Pelosi will be doing a hard whip count to get an accurate number and she will want to have sufficient votes for impeachment to leave no doubt. That means she has to hold the vast majority of the caucus with their feet to the fire.
Assuming that passes the House, the actual trial goes to the Senate. With a lot of pomp and circumstance, Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over the trial. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that this will be a quick trial and not be dragged out for any length of time. Democrats would have to hold every one of their members and bring about twenty Republicans over to convict. Already a couple of Democrats from red states have sounded the alarm. It did not happen with Bill Clinton and will not happen now. I suspect as those counts become known a few Democrats will either not vote or vote no on conviction.
I also read a story where some Democrats are pushing to impeach Vice President Mike Pence asserting that he must have known everything that was going on. I know this sounds a bit absurd, but those impeachments would have to be simultaneous or Pence becomes the President should Trump be convicted. He would then appoint a new Vice President. This is the procedure in these cases. But the Democrats pushing the duel impeachments are arguing that this would allow Speaker Nancy Pelosi to become President. This is how far down the rabbit hole some on the left have gone.
When all of this is finally done Trump will still be President, Mike Pence will still be Vice President and Nancy Pelosi will still be the Speaker of the House. The real question is who will emerge stronger politically. History tells us that the President will come out of the entire mess much stronger politically. The Speaker will be viewed as someone that led her party down a path that they could not win, and her power and influence will wane.
Come next fall I think we will see a race between the incumbent, Donald Trump, against Elizabeth Warren. I believe that race will favor Trump. Warren will rack up huge numbers in the deeply blue states of California, New York, and Illinois. But will her socialist tendencies and policies resonate in key states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania? Trump won all of those states in 2016 and would be positioned to win them again should Warren be the candidate. Once again the Democrat would more than likely win the popular vote while losing the Electoral College and once again, we can expect them to start demanding the Electoral College be abolished. But It is contained in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution and you cannot change that without a Constitutional amendment that is passed in the Congress and ratified in the states. How many people think states like Iowa, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Alaska, and the Dakotas are going to agree to that change? It would render them meaningless in any future Presidential elections.
I say that Warren will be the candidate because Bernie Sanders just had to be hospitalized with what doctors are calling a heart attack and this will only add to the flight of left-wing supporters from Sanders to Warren. In public, his opponents will all wish him well and also a speedy recovery but in private they will be trying to figure out how best to diminish him and attract his supporters.
I have maintained all along that Joe Biden was the best chance the Democrats had to defeat Trump, but I also believe he is now going down in flames just as he has in other Presidential races. The best chance of not having Trump as the next Republican candidate and possibly another four years is for Trump to decide he is tired of this circus and to announce he is going back to New York and his business world. Don’t hold your breath on that announcement.