From President Trump to my wife, there seem to be a lot of people around who have come to despise House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Regardless of what you may think of her, however, I submit that her withholding of the articles of impeachment against President Trump is nothing less than a stroke of political genius.
Some ask why Pelosi didn’t send them to the Senate for trial immediately. To put it bluntly, why should she? By holding on to them, she has everything to gain and nothing to lose. After all, the Constitution does not speak to timing. Article 2, Section 4 merely provides that the president shall be removed upon impeachment and conviction. It can happen any old time, or not at all. There is no law prohibiting abandonment of the process following impeachment. Or postponing a trial for an extended period of time, for that matter.
So why are the House Dems waiting? Supposedly to establish rules of procedure in the Senate that assure a fair trial. By that standard, I figured the Senate would be waiting a while. But now it seems that the House might give in and bring over the articles of impeachment to the Senate after all. Say it ain’t so, Nancy!
We have senators who openly confess that they have no intention of being fair and impartial jurors at the president’s trial. In such an atmosphere, House reluctance to submit the articles of impeachment to what they view as a “kangaroo court” should come as no surprise. Think of it: The Senate, if it so chooses, can proceed without allowing any evidence to be submitted or any witnesses to testify. The Senate gets to establish its own rules of engagement, which may be similar to those used at Bill Clinton’s trial, or not. One thing is a virtual certainty: With the president’s own party in the majority in the Senate, there is little incentive to adopt any rules that bear the potential to bring to light any evidence of the president’s commission of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Party politics, not justice, appears to be the order of the day.
My father says that the bitterness between Republicans and Democrats, the acrimony that has wiped out artificial gentility and even a pretense of desire to achieve neutrality and fairness, has rendered our government into that of a third world country. He may be on to something there. Why is it necessary for the Republican majority Senate to waste valuable time and resources in holding a trial when it already knows that the articles of impeachment are a sham and that the president is innocent of all charges? Don’t bother with witnesses, evidence, or any of the trappings of modern justice. Third world, indeed.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is perfectly content with Pelosi holding onto the articles of impeachment because he’s not eager to hold a trial of the president in any event. The Senate has plenty of other work to do without such distractions.
Pelosi and McConnell should shake hands and concede at least one point of rare bilateral agreement. Then we can proceed with the presidential election and deprive Trump of the ability to gloat over an acquittal in the Senate.
McConnell has said that Pelosi and the House have the right to change their minds about the articles of impeachment. Sure, he’s framing his argument in terms that make House Democrats look foolish. I say let him do that. Any way you look at it, it’s a win-win situation. No dog and pony show, no show trial, no fait accompli acquittal, and no travesty of American justice. The fact of the House’s impeachment should be enough.
Please, Nancy, don’t blow it.