What’s Next In The Impeachment Drama?: No One Knows

By

Leonard Zwelling

https://www.wsj.com/articles/democrats-set-a-bear-trap-11569539234

I laughed out loud when I read Peggy Noonan’s latest op-ed on Saturday, September 28 in the Wall Street Journal. She was thinking what I was. There is no way to know what happens next when the Democrats formally launch the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s dealings with the leadership of the Ukraine.

Just as I think, she thinks that this is ultimately a political question. Will the Dems be able to bring a majority of the country along to agree that Mr. Trump committed a high crime or misdemeanor when he asked for political help from the Ukrainians, perhaps in exchange for military aid? Was he conducting foreign policy on behalf of the American people or was he extorting a foreign leader to aid his next election campaign?

How America reads the road map drawn by the Democrats in the House and how the Republican Senate perceives the direction and strength of the ensuing wind makes all the difference in the world. And no one can predict any of that.

Don’t look to the Constitution for help. As President Gerald Ford said, “impeachment is anything that a majority of the House says it is.” The latest counts say the Dems have more than the 218 they need to impeach the President. How the House conducts itself will matter. What was so important about the way that Senators Sam Ervin and Howard Baker ran the Watergate hearings was the sober, disciplined way they approached this most disturbing of political issues. Speaker Pelosi and the various chairmen of the House committees had better be as careful as Senator Sam was if the Dems want to convince some of the Trump supporters that maybe this was a bridge too far and that the country can go on without Donald Trump. As Ms. Noonan wrote, “maybe Pence wouldn’t be so bad.”

Donald Trump has never had the support of the majority of the American people. It’s not like 1998 when Bill Clinton did. His favorability rating actually rose when he was impeached and the Dems took the House because the Republicans overreached in impeaching Clinton for lying.

This is different.

Trump was never as popular as Clinton and his crime, if it is one, is far more serious than lying about sexual activity in the Oval Office. He was basically selling the security of a nation, one that is our ally, for information on a political rival. It’s worse.

And as Ms. Noonan points out, Mr. Biden too may suffer from this process. No matter whether or not his son or he broke the law, clearly they used Mr. Biden’s position in the American government to further the career of Hunter Biden. The op-ed points out that relatives of powerful people may have to play by special rules so as not to appear to be taking advantage of Daddy’s power. My own family had to deal with this. Once I became the person at MD Anderson signing the contracts between the institution and big pharma to sponsor clinical trials, my family had to rid itself of all drug stocks. Was that a sacrifice? A small one, but it was necessary.

The same was true here. When Pop or Mom is the Vice President, stay out of foreign entanglements until he or she is out of office. Trump’s kids are just as bad. What the hell does Jared Kushner know about the Middle East? Only that his father-in-law knows MBS and Bibi on a first name basis. Ivanka also has no qualifications to be in the government of the United States.

Write this down. It may be that Elizabeth Warren will run against Mike Pence in November of 2020. One can always hope. In the mean time, the Democrats have to be steady and disciplined as they run out this scenario. There are many people including quite a few Republican Senators who need to be convinced that Trump went too far this time. We are not there yet.

The Dems will probably try to go fast and may well take the advice of my last blog and focus on this one issue and forget about all of Trump’s past transgressions. This could be over by the end of the year. If it is, and Trump is convicted, there will be plenty of time for the campaign of 2020 to take place outside the shadow of impeachment. Perhaps that is the most important aspect of all of this. The world can move on without Donald Trump. Much to his chagrin. That’s the one thing he really could not tolerate. Being irrelevant.

Leonard Zwelling