With Democrats on Capitol Hill lunging toward the drastic step of launching impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, Republicans in Washington and around the country are salivating at newly opened political opportunities as a result of the Democrats’ leftward lurch into anti-Trump extremism.
With zero legislative accomplishments since retaking the House majority in the 2018 midterm elections, after nearly a year filled with contentious investigations, hearings, and the coming opening of a formal impeachment inquiry, Democrats are betting it all on a quixotic mission to try to take out Trump with impeachment.
A problem they face is that they need 218 votes to pass articles of impeachment out of the House, and an even-steeper 67-vote threshold in the U.S. Senate to convict and remove the president from office. At this stage, Democrats do not even have 218 votes despite their 235-seat majority–they are somewhere, at best for the pro-impeachment crowd, somewhere around 175 pro-impeachment votes but with growing momentum. In the Senate, there is next to zero chance that 20 Republicans would join all 47 Democrats to vote to convict Trump on impeachment charges.
But Democrats, after failing to take on major legislative issues like infrastructure, healthcare, paid family leave, or anything else for that matter, are now pushing forward with opening official impeachment proceedings against Trump.
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) September 24, 2019
A House Democrat tells me it's "very likely" that Pelosi will announce a formal impeachment inquiry this afternoon and signal her own support for impeachment.
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) September 24, 2019
The Democrats spent all year conducting hearings and investigations related to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, only to fail–as the Special Counsel Robert Mueller probe also failed–to find any evidence of collusion or conspiracy between Trump and his campaign and the Russians. Mueller’s investigation and the Democrat-led investigations also failed to uncover evidence of obstruction of justice by Trump, leaving Democrats empty-handed heading into the August recess back in July.
But now, after the emergence of complaints by a supposed “whistleblower” against Trump with regard to a conversation he had with Ukraine’s newly-elected leader about former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the Eastern European NATO ally nation, Democrats have reinvigorated their push for impeachment. They are buoyed by a swelling of support from members in key battleground House districts and renewed energy from top Democrats in leadership, including in particular House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has reportedly told her friends that she views impeachment as inevitable now.
It remains unclear exactly what the Democrats would be impeaching Trump for. The content of the supposed “whistleblower” complaint about Trump’s call with Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky remains private, as does the transcript of the call. The president has said he is considering releasing the call transcript, but has not done so yet–and he expressed concerns that releasing a call transcript could produce a chilling effect among world leaders who wish to have honest and frank conversations with the president of the United States.
But on Tuesday afternoon, after news broke that Pelosi was moving forward with impeachment, Trump announced via Twitter he has ordered the release of the call transcript in full:
I am currently at the United Nations representing our Country, but have authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
….You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
What’s more, the supposed “whistleblower” technically does not qualify as a whistleblower under the federal law that provides protection to such individuals, despite the media and leftists referring to the person as such, and the person apparently did not even bear witness to the call itself. Even if Trump did what was alleged, it is unclear how that would amount to an illegal act worthy of impeachment and conviction of a U.S. president, as several Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have said.
Nonetheless, impeachment is less of a legal question and more of a political matter. Polling shows impeaching Trump remains very unpopular nationwide, and with 31 Democrats sitting in districts in which Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016–13 of which he won by more than six percent–with even more than that filling out a broader ring of vulnerable members nearing 50, Democrats could imperil their chances of holding their majority if they go through with this process.
To hit the threshold necessary to impeach Trump–218 votes–Pelosi would need to force several self-portrayed “moderate” Democrats in these approximately 50 battleground districts to support impeachment by voting for it. That prospect, getting these Democrats who go home to the district and campaign on doing things to help their constituents–to actually vote for anti-Trump craze mania has Republicans nationally salivating.
Pelosi has held off the left side of her conference all year on impeachment, arguing it would be a perilous political mission that would endanger Democrats and embolden Trump. But with the rise of the so-called “Squad” led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a New York socialist, Pelosi has allowed the growth of these rising leftist forces in her conference all year, to the point where Ocasi0-Cortez has taken the driver’s seat in pushing the party’s agenda, the other side of the Democrat conference be damned.
Over the weekend, Ocasio-Cortez ripped Democrats for holding back on impeachment–ginning up the left side of the conference, firing up the Democrat base, and forcing Pelosi into action:
At this point, the bigger national scandal isn’t the president’s lawbreaking behavior – it is the Democratic Party’s refusal to impeach him for it.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 22, 2019
It is one thing for a sitting president to break the law. It’s another to let him.
The integrity of our democracy isn’t threatened when a president breaks the law. It‘s threatened when we do nothing about it.
The GOP’s silence & refusal to act shouldn’t be a surprise. Ours is.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 22, 2019
Now that Pelosi has jumped at the behest of the 29-year-old socialist freshman from New York and her fellow “Squad” members Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ocasio-Cortez is ripping Pelosi for only doing a committee–saying she wants instead a straight-up impeachment vote.
Yes, this is an emergency. We don’t have the luxury of time w/ another committee.
Judiciary has been investigating& putting the pieces together for months. Impeachment belongs there.
We must honor jurisdiction, historical precedent,& work done + allow Judiciary to move forward. https://t.co/CM0gXN7T1i
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 24, 2019
The complexity of how to structure impeachment proceedings is meaningless in the broader scheme of things politically, Republicans argue, because now in the GOP’s view the Democrat Party–and all of its members–have officially jumped the shark by going for broke on Trump impeachment, facts be damned.
Two supposedly “moderate” New York Democrats who joined the impeachment brigade this week, Reps. Antonio Delgado (D-NY) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), are already under fire back home in their district as Empire State Republicans hammer away at them for siding with the lunacy of Ocasio-Cortez.
New York GOP chairman Nick Langworthy said in a statement:
By joining the impeachment mob, Antonio Delgado and Sean Patrick Maloney just abandoned their constituents in favor of AOC and the Squad. The radical left’s endless obsession with trying to take out President Trump and derail his agenda will be rejected by the voters who want their representatives to focus on making their lives better, not their own power. This reckless decision will rightfully go down as the one that cost them their seats.
They are hardly alone. Two Virginia Democrat freshman women, Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Elaine Luria (D-VA)–both freshman Democrats representing battleground House districts who co-signed an op-ed with five others nationwide in the Washington Post on Monday evening signaling their openness to impeaching Trump–are under fire in Virginia now for abandoning their constituents in favor of impeachment.
“Both Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger were already critically endangered heading into 2020, by publicly joining the left-wing impeachment jihad they are clearly angling for post-Elected office job opportunities,” John Findlay, the executive director of the Virginia Republican Party, told Breitbart News on Tuesday. “The Republican Party of Virginia already has field staff on the ground this year in preparation for 2020 and will only be expanding our presence as next November approaches.”
Another co-signer of their op-ed, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA)–a freshman Democrat who represents Pennsylvania’s sixth congressional district, another battleground–is facing criticism already for siding with the radical efforts to impeach Trump while not delivering on substantive policy matters.
“Representative Chrissy Houlahan has gone Washington as she continues to prove that she cares more about partisan politics than finding solutions to the challenges we face here in Pennsylvania,” John Emmons, a conservative businessman running for the GOP nomination in Pennsylvania’s sixth district for the shot to take on Houlahan next November, told Breitbart News on Tuesday. “She’d rather go after the President and try to get onto CNN than get to work for the people of her district. The voters of PA-06 deserve so much better out of their Member of Congress.”
Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), a freshman who co-signed the op-ed and represents a battleground district in Colorado after defeating a GOP incumbent in 2018, took a hit in Colorado for signing onto impeachment.
“From his call for impeachment to his extreme voting record, Jason Crow has put his constituents on the backburner and placed his personal ambitions ahead of the interests of working people,” Colorado GOP spokesman Kyle Kohli told Breitbart News. “Colorado’s 6th district won’t forget how Crow sided with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nancy Pelosi over them.”
In Michigan, one of the op-ed’s cosigners, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), and another fellow freshman Democrat, Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI), joined the impeachment charade this week as well–and also are paying for it.
Michigan GOP chairwoman Laura Cox said in a statement:
Today, Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens decided to join with Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the most radical members of their party by jumping on the impeachment bandwagon. For nearly three years, Democrats and their allies in the media have conducted a witch-hunt against President Trump in an attempt to undo the results of the 2016 election. Time and time again their accusations have been proven false, and I find it shameful that Slotkin and Stevens have chosen to put their political ambitions ahead of the real issues facing their constituents.
These are just a taste of the lines of attack Republicans have ready for the Democrats if they continue wallowing deeper into this mess. The extent to which the impeachment fight, along with other national trends heading into next year’s presidential and congressional elections, could affect the outcome of the 2020 elections could be monstrous.
“By pushing for impeachment, Democrats and their allies in the media are making a major strategic mistake,” Andy Surabian, a GOP strategist and former White House official who advises the president’s son Donald Trump, Jr., told Breitbart News. “They’re literally walking directly into a buzz saw and don’t even seem to realize it.”
What’s more, while they draw attention to the Biden-Ukraine corruption questions, Biden continues slipping in the polls in the Democrat primary. Biden’s team has attempted to frame this battle as a sign that Trump is worried about facing the former Vice President head-to-head, while avoiding answering questions about what he did as Vice President in Ukraine in connection with getting a prosecutor investigating a company on whose board his son served fired in exchange for releasing U.S. taxpayer-funded aid and then bragging about it at a public event.
But in reality, the intense scrutiny is waking the country–including many Democrat voters who may not have known much about Hunter Biden’s business dealing in Ukraine or in China or elsewhere and how much of a liability they could be to his father politically.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)–a leftist socialist rising star on the hard edge of her party far outside the mainstream–has surged past Biden in polling in several states including Iowa, New Hampshire, and California. She is virtually or statistically tied with Biden in a number of national polls as well and has seen her numbers increase even in Biden strongholds like Nevada–leaving South Carolina as basically the only early state refuge for the one-time Democrat frontrunner.
If Warren is able to sustain this surge into winning the nomination, while Biden keeps slipping and falling away–all while Trump powers his way through this mess as he has done several times before with other Democrat-driven scandals–the 2020 election could end up becoming a Warren-versus-Trump referendum of socialism-versus-capitalism where the Democrat Party’s new extremist wing takes center stage with no accomplishments to point to since they won the House majority back–all part of why they are going for impeachment in the first place, because they have no other path to beat Trump, some Republicans argue, so they are going for broke with this strategy.
“Despite an all-out assault on President Trump, he still has a higher approval rating than Obama did at this point in time,” Steve Guest of the Republican National Committee said. “This round of baseless calls for impeachment is the Democrats’ acknowledgment of their inability to beat President Trump at the ballot box so they’ll try impeachment instead.”