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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/27/19

Impeachment is on Rails. That's Not the Hard Part.

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On September 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) elbowed her way to the front of a parade she'd been trying to disperse since early 2017. "Today ," she said, "I'm announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry and directing our six committees to proceed with their investigation under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry."

Pelosi's announcement doesn't reflect a personal change of mind. It reflects recognition of political reality. She's for impeachment after being against it because she believes it's going to happen with or without her.

If there's one thing Pelosi's good at, it's counting votes. As the Democratic Party's leader in the House since 2003, that's her job: Building and herding majorities to achieve her party's legislative goals, blocking minorities whose plans don't serve those goals or aren't ready for prime time.

She's gone from "block" mode to "herd" mode. QED, a House majority for impeachment is inevitable, if not already in the bag. She can either lead the parade or get left behind by it. She's choosing to lead it.

It's not a job she really wants. Her prior political instinct seems to have been that impeachment will hurt rather than help the Democratic Party going into the 2020 elections. That instinct was probably correct, and turning the situation around will be difficult.

In order for the Democrats to make political hay with impeachment in the absence of a likely conviction, instead of losing congressional seats and the next presidential election (as Republicans did after their ill-fated impeachment of Bill Clinton), at least two things need to happen.

One is that Joe Biden has to get thrown under the bus. Immediately. His own perceived (and, yes, GOP-promoted) abuse of power / "quid pro quo" problem with Ukraine has already cost him the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. The longer other Democrats pretend otherwise and continue to defend him, the more it will cost them as well.

The other is that the impeachment allegations need to be exceedingly narrow so that when Republicans vote against conviction, there can be no wiggle room, no reasonable doubt to be raised: They voted in favor of corruption and against presidential accountability.

Donald Trump abused his presidential power to pressure a foreign government to investigate a political opponent, then tried to hide what he'd done. That's indisputable.

More importantly, it's enough. "Quid pro quo" in the form of foreign aid or not, and any other extant allegations aside, these are acts most Americans understand as corrupt.

"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters," Donald Trump bragged a year before his inauguration. Among the general electorate, that remains to be seen, but where the US Senate is concerned, he could probably do exactly that and not lose the 20 Republican votes required to convict him following impeachment.

The voters will likely remove Trump from office next November in the usual way. The impeachment prize is convincing voters that politicians who take Trump's side aren't taking THEIR side.


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Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.

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2 people are discussing this page, with 2 comments

Neal Herrick

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(Member since Feb 22, 2014), 4 fans, 37 articles, 104 comments
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Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

The stories about Ukraine and Trump in the news these days need clarification. Let's remind ourselves first that what we call "Ukraine" today is just another botched US attempt at nation building. Second, the "aid" Trump has been holding back from giving the true Ukrainians in eastern Ukraine is not badly need agricultural equipment, food, clothing and health care. Surprise! It's bullets, bombs and death to be delivered by the neo-Nazi coup Kiev government. Trump no doubt acted illegally in holding up this "aid," but he saved innocent lives by his action and should be thanked for that..

Let's not forget that Yanyukovitch, while he was corrupt, was also the democratically elected President of thr real Ukraine before the US, with help from the Ukrainian Neo-Nazi Party, arranged the illegal 2014 coup government in Kiev. And that the "aid" we are sending to the Kiev government today consists of warplanes and other military supplies. This "aid" is not being used to feed the poor Ukrainians being invaded by the illegal Kiev government. It is military aid being used to kill the men, women and children of legitimate eastern Ukraine - who find themselves caught up in an international "chess game" between the Western and the Eastern worlds. Finally, remember the estimated 40,000 US peace activists who traveled to Nicaragua in the 1980's and returned home to stop the military aid to the "Contras." We had been funding the Contras because the Nicaraguan revolutionaries had been accepting aid from Russia. Now the eastern Ukrainians are accepting aid from Russia (their recent motherland). Does this give us a permit to provide the weapons being used by an illegitimate fascist state to kill them?

As for Trump, here's the problem. If we impeach but don't remove and disqualify him, our "democracy" will be in serious (perhaps fatal) long-term difficulty. Yet, at this time, 67 votes to convict and disqualify are far from assured. It isn't worth the risk. We must accept, for this crisis, the reality that US impeachment trials are political and wait for the Republican votes. Then we need to de-politicize them with Jefferson's Remedy a Constitutional Convention followed by another every 20 years.

Submitted on Friday, Sep 27, 2019 at 4:36:42 PM

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Joe Giambrone

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Demanding answers from foreign leaders is kind of the main job of the president. Trying to criminalize it is a seismic shift in Washington politics. This absurdity would never apply to any other presidents, and so it's a special case setup by the CIA, nitpicking Trump's words in transcripts.

Obama/Biden literally supported violent fascists with over 100 NED (National Endowment for Democracy sic.) programs to bankroll them and train the mobs to destabilize the country.

There's a Woody Allen film called Crimes and Misdemeanors. That's the absurd concept that bears on this fiasco. Biden installs fascists and his son to pillage the spoils of regime change, but Trump is the criminal for asking about it! Insane.

Biden and fascist thug Oleh Tyahnybok, SVOBODA leader

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Submitted on Sunday, Sep 29, 2019 at 3:00:32 AM

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