Friday, December 20, 2019

President Trump Impeached: Now What??

As you have heard the House of Representatives recently impeached President Trump on two different charges. No Republicans voted for impeachment.

On the first article, for the charge of abuse of power, the vote was split almost entirely along party lines, 230 to 197. Two Democrats sided with Republicans: Collin Peterson and Jeff Van Drew, who has indicated that he plans to switch parties and join the Republicans. Justin Amash, who recently left the Republican Party to become independent, voted for the article, and Tulsi Gabbard, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted “present.”

On the second article, concerning obstruction of Congress, the vote was 229 to 198. Members voted the same way as in the first vote, except Jared Golden, Democrat of Maine, who voted “no.”

The next move is for the House to formally send the charges to the Senate. The Senate is then obligated to have a trial and vote yea or nay. The problem, from the Democratic point of view, is just as the Senate can't tell the House what is a good reason for impeachment, who to call to testify, or how to run the impeachment process, the House can't tell the Senate how to run the impeachment trial, how to vote or which witnesses to call. 

A few Republican Senators have made it crystal clear that they have no intention of voting to remove the President from office or taking any advice from the House on just whom to call or not call as witnesses. As far as they are concerned this is all nonsense. And they can't wait to vote to acquit Trump. This is the Senate. And in the Senate, Republicans, not Democrats, are in charge.

In response to this the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has so far decided not to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate until the Senate leadership agrees to a few conditions sought by the Democrats.

WASHINGTON — The day after the House cast historic votes to impeach President Trump, Democrats grappled on Thursday with when to send the charges to the Republican-led Senate, hoping to gain leverage in a bicameral clash over the contours of an election-year trial.

With some leading Democrats pushing to delay transmittal of the articles and others advocating that they be withheld altogether, it appeared increasingly likely that the limbo could persist until the new year. The House is poised to leave town on Friday for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, possibly without taking the votes that would be required to start the process in the Senate.

“We are ready,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said Wednesday night that she was reluctant to send the charges or name the lawmakers who would prosecute the case against Mr. Trump until she was certain of a fair process for a Senate trial. “When we see what they have, we will know who and how many we will send over.”

But if Ms. Pelosi was angling for an upper hand in negotiations about how the trial would proceed, Mr. McConnell quickly squashed the notion on Thursday in a scathing speech in which he denounced her and Democrats for impeaching Mr. Trump.

“The vote did not reflect what had been proven; it only reflects how they feel about the president,” Mr. McConnell said from the Senate floor. “The Senate must put this right. We must rise to this occasion. There is only one outcome that is suited to the paucity of evidence, the failed inquiry, the slapdash case.”

“The prosecutors are getting cold feet in front of the entire country and second-guessing whether they even want to go to trial,” Mr. McConnell said. “They said impeachment was so urgent that it could not even wait for due process, but now they’re content to sit on their hands. This is comical.”


My take is that I don't think anyone really thought that the Senate would vote to remove Trump from office under any conditions. I think they should and wish they would but that's not going to happen. The House doesn't really have a strong hand to play. It gets to impeach. The Senate gets to run the trial. The political victory for Democrats is the impeachment. That's it. The House can't really twist the Senate's hands here. Waiting to send the official articles of impeachment does what exactly? All it does is draw further attention to the official and constitutional powerlessness of the House, after it's exerted its actual power and voted for impeachment. The role of the House is completed.

I also think that some people have showed their entire a$$, including but not limited to Trump insulting Debbie Dingell and her late husband John Dingell or your typical Republican radio talk show host hoping for a good school shooting to take the media attention away from the buffoon-in-chief.
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