The impeachment of a president, parliamentary esoterica notwithstanding, involves three straightforward steps. First, the House authorizes the Judiciary Committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry. Next, that committee conducts an investigation to determine if the president has committed any offense justifying his removal from office. Finally, if such evidence is discovered, the full House votes to approve one or more articles of impeachment. The Democrats, despite their accusations of dark doings at the White House, can’t muster enough votes in the House to complete the first step toward removing President Trump. Consequently, Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler has decided to conduct a fake impeachment inquiry.
Over the weekend, CNN reported that the House Judiciary Committee is prepared to vote next week on a resolution laying out the procedures for its investigation: “The vote, which is expected to occur on Wednesday, will lay out the ground rules for conducting hearings now that the committee has publicly announced it is considering recommending articles of impeachment against Trump.” Nadler has not merely abandoned two centuries of congressional precedent for impeachment; he is also opposed by nearly half of the Democratic House caucus. Only 134 of the 235 Democratic representatives favor the maneuver, and many adamantly oppose it. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, puts it thus:
I don’t support impeachment. You know, I think it’s important for us to think about what is in the best interest of the country and the American people, and continuing to pursue impeachment is something that I think will only further tear our country apart.… We need to defeat Donald Trump. But I think it’s important for our country’s sake and our future that the voters in this country are the ones who do that.
No wonder the Democratic National Committee arranged the rules so that Rep. Gabbard will be excluded from the next presidential debate. She isn’t in step with the far-left fringe that is rapidly taking over her party. She does, however, concur with the moderate Democrats, who are likely to pay the price for Nadler’s plan to pander to the loony Left. Virtually none of the 31 Democrats clinging to districts won by Trump in 2016 favor impeachment. They know the GOP needs to flip only 18 seats in 2020 to regain control of the House, that the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has targeted their seats, and that Nadler’s “inquiry” may doom their re-election bids. As longtime Democratic consultant Douglas Schoen writes:
It would be a profound mistake for Democrats to be goaded into pursuing impeachment … to hold impeachment hearings for President Trump plays right into the president’s hand, by giving credence to his assertion that the Democrats are a party of division, polarization and investigations.… Getting distracted by impeachment will only impede our chances of developing a narrative that can defeat President Trump in 2020.
Worse, it isn’t just vulnerable Democrats and cautious consultants who want nothing to do with Nadler’s irrational push for an expanded impeachment inquiry. The voters want these antics to stop. Since the Russia conspiracy theory imploded, the electorate has moved on. Even dragging poor Robert Mueller before Congress failed to rekindle public interest in that implausible tale. Every public opinion poll conducted since that embarrassing spectacle has indicated that a solid majority of voters are against impeachment. More to the point, the electorate isn’t interested in the “impeachment inquiry” Nadler is foisting on us. The latest Monmouth University Poll, for example, found little support for investigations and less for impeachment:
Just over a third (35%) of Americans feel that Trump should be impeached and compelled to leave the presidency while a clear majority (59%) disagree with this course of action.… Overall, 41% of Americans say it is a good idea for the House Judiciary Committee to conduct an inquiry which may or may not lead to impeachment, but more (51%) say even this initial step is a bad idea.
So, what precisely is Nadler up to? This character has been in Congress since 1992. Is he so consumed by his antipathy for President Trump that he simply doesn’t care about two centuries of congressional precedent on impeachment, the risk that his party will seem in thrall to a radical Left interested in nothing beyond undoing the 2016 election, the perception that he and his fellow Democrats couldn’t care less about the will of the voters? Or is it that his decades-long sojourn in the Swamp has taught him to recognize the need for desperate measures, that something — anything —must be done to prevent Trump from being reelected while the GOP recaptures the few seats it needs to deprive the Democrats of their House majority?
This latest gambit is so outrageous that Sen. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, told Fox News that he felt sorry for Nadler. In a discussion with Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures, Collins said, “This is really pathetic. Nothing like this has ever happened in the House before.… If they really want to do this, they have to bring impeachment to the floor. This is simply a show.” Bartiromo suggested that it was a publicity stunt driven in part by Nadler’s desire to avoid a primary challenge next year from the Left. Nadler knows his committee’s recommendations will never reach the floor of the the House for a vote. Perhaps his fake impeachment inquiry is about nothing more than defending his soft congressional seat.