Speaker Nancy Pelosi To Get On With It. Impeachment, That Is…

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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23 Responses

  1. Doctor Jay says:

    I wonder if Bolton’s announcement has changed the calculations, because now, voting to dismiss without hearing witnesses would amount to ignoring him. But then again, I wonder if any of this changes anyone’s mind. Is anybody undecided or persuadable?Report

    • North in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      It’s hard to say. I’m not remotely confident enough to say whether Pelosi’s gambit yielded any benefit. Then again I also am uncertain if her gambit had any serious costs.
      I can think of some pros- the media talked about her withholding the articles which did focus the conversation on McConnell’s talk about being hand in glove with the White house and refusing to hear witnesses; Bolton the evil mustache went and said he’d testify in the Senate which arguably will make it harder to just vote it through without hearings and have it over with. It seemed to rally Pelosi’s troops a bit and rattle Trump.
      Costs? I dunno, it pissed off right wingers who were gonna be pissed off anyhow?Report

      • George Turner in reply to North says:

        Well, whether Bolton testifies is not up to Bolton. Executive privilege belongs to and is exerted by the President, not his advisors, which means a judge would have to rule on whether Bolton can testify. That would create a delay, potentially a fairly long one, and I don’t think anybody in the Senate is wanting to drag things out.

        Apparently Nancy may have been forced into action because members of her party were defecting, since none of them could really explain the logic behind the delay, or defend the rhetoric that impeachment had to be rushed because Trump was so dangerous, and then suddenly it was no biggie.

        The idea for the delay apparently came from Watergate conspirator/double-crosser John Dean, who suggested it on CNN. John Dean is perhaps the worst possible person to give advice on impeachment.Report

        • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

          I’m not sure Executive Privilege applies to impeachment, since its explicitly called out as a function in the Constitution. That aside, Bolton is no longer serving as an active adviser, and the Courts have not been deferential to those sort of claims of privilege of late. That aside, Chief Justice Roberts will sit in the chamber to adjudicate these sort of questions. Last I checked SCOTUS and its Justices are the last word on such things.Report

          • North in reply to Philip H says:

            As I understand it 51 Senators in the Senate are the last word on such things. Roberts will just execute the rules they enact.Report

          • Doctor Jay in reply to Philip H says:

            Well, I don’t think there’s any appeal to SCOTUS from the Senate procedures. The Senate is a co-equal branch. The Chief will preside as judge and as such has the power to hold subpoenaed witnesses in contempt.

            But the whole scenario of Bolton both being called and refusing to testify seems unlikely. The most likely scenario is that he isn’t called, as far as I can tell. Because the Senate votes in rules that allow a preliminary vote for dismissal (the rules for Clinton and Johnson allowed this, too!) and they vote along party lines to do exactly that.Report

          • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

            Executive privilege certainly does apply, and was a major component of the Watergate and Clinton hearings. It doesn’t matter if Bolton is or is not currently employed in the role of advisor. The privilege is part of the separation of powers, protecting key Presidential rights and responsibilities, so that the White House isn’t just a puppet of the legislative branch, with Congress looking over their shoulders and approving or denying every decision and piece of advice.

            As Justice Burger said during all the Watergate related cases,, the privilege is strongest regarding foreign policy. Well, Bolton was the foreign policy advisor, and the topic under scrutiny was a decision about US foreign policy, and one directly impinging on Ukrainian defense against Russian aggression. There really won’t be a stronger case for executive privilege than that, especially when the impeachment investigation is just fishing for third-hand tales about Rudy Giuliani’s dogged pursuit of rumors about a coke-sniffing ne’er-do-well who knocked up a pole dancer.Report

          • he will do, to quote CJ Rehnquist on his time at the Clinton Impeachment “I did Nothing, and I did it well.”Report

        • Doctor Jay in reply to George Turner says:

          I’m not sure I put much stock in either point here.

          First, yeah, I heard the thing yesterday from some committee chair in the House. But who knows, it kinda seems like he just misspoke. Why would he be feeling pressure? Like I said above, none of this seems likely to change any voters minds.

          Regarding Bolton, he announced that he would testify in the Senate. You think he’s going to walk that back? I thought it might be a cynical ploy – he announced that he would testify because he knew he wouldn’t have to because the Senate isn’t going to call witnesses – but who knows really what goes on in the heads of all the players, including Bolton.

          Media loves to read tea leaves and minds of actors, scribbling in thoughts that gives them lots of clicks from partisan readers. I’m feeling cautious about thinking I know so much.Report

          • George Turner in reply to Doctor Jay says:

            Well, my take is that it if Trump invokes executive privilege, it doesn’t matter if Bolton wants to testify or not. It kind of puts what he’d like to say in the realm of “classified information” that he can’t reveal to anyone, and then the courts have to rule on whether what he wants to say is protected or not.

            Now of course Bolton is fully aware that he will probably never have to testify, and as anyone with sharp political sense would do in that situation, he’s saying he’d like to testify. That way nobody can accuse him of being part of any cover up, and it’ll probably generate book sales way down the road. It’s a win-win position. He may not even know anything that’s worth hearing, and is just yanking everybody’s chain.Report

            • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

              The likelihood of the National Security Advisor who was listening to the phone call in question and then had to run the President’s policies after NOT knowing anything pertinent to the impeachment trial is vanishingly small.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to North says:

        Bernie and Warren are Senators, Joe is not. Delaying things lets Nancy pick the time when he can campaign without them around to distract things.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    She should withdraw the articles and then re-vote on them now and include the stuff about using Iran to distract from the previous impeachment.

    Then Trump will be the first President to be impeached multiple times.Report

  3. Aaron David says:

    ‘First this morning, I want to associate myself with a statement made yesterday by one of our distinguished colleagues about the House Democrats treating impeachment like a political toy.

    ‘Here’s what the senator said: “If it’s serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn’t, don’t.”

    ‘That was our Democratic colleague the senior senator from California, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

    ‘And she wasn’t alone. Quote: “It is time to get on with it.” That’s our Democratic colleague the junior senator from Delaware. Quote: “At some point it’s appropriate to send them and… pass the baton to senators.” Our Democratic colleague the senior senator from Connecticut. Quote: “I think the time has past. She should send the articles.” Our Democratic colleague the junior senator from Connecticut.

    ‘Now, this is a challenging time to create bipartisan agreement in the Senate. On any subject. But the Speaker of the House has managed to do the impossible.

    ‘She has created this growing bipartisan unity in the United States Senate… in opposition to her own reckless behavior.

    ‘Senators may not agree on much, but it appears most of us still recognize a threat to our institution when we see one.

    ‘Article I, Section 3 says: “The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.” Period. The House can begin the process, and Speaker Pelosi’s majority has certainly done that. But the Senate alone can resolve it.

    ‘And yet for weeks now, the House majority has blocked the Senate from fulfilling our constitutional duty. In a precedent-breaking display of partisanship, the Speaker has refused to let her own allegations proceed normally to trial unless she gets to hand-design various elements of our Senate process.

    ‘In other words, the House Democrats already spent 12 weeks undermining the institution of the presidency with an historically unfair and subjective impeachment… and now, for the sequel, they’ve come after the institution of the Senate as well. That’s where we are.

    ‘The dwindling number of our Senate Democrat colleagues who remain complicit in this must realize what they are doing. Should future House majorities feel empowered to waste our time with junior-varsity political hostage situations? Should future Speakers be permitted to conjure up this sword of Damocles at will and leave it hanging over the Senate unless we do what they say?

    ‘Of course not.

    -Mitch McConnell. 1/9/20Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    There it is…


    • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

      Once you’ve lost Chris Cilizza you’ve lost…um…Chris Cilizza.Report

    • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

      Ironically or maybe it’s just par Cilliza there are docs coming out today from Lev Parnas that with very little exaggeration show Rudes taking notes of a frickin criminal conspiracy as Trump’s lawyer in Ukraine. Even have notes saying “do crimes” on Ritz Carlton notes pads.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        Greg, please understand. I am not looking for reasons that Trump, seriously, is going to get impeached.

        The main thing that I have been keeping my eyes open for are cracks in the façade. A change in narrative, if you will.

        If you want to argue that Cillizza is an idiot and fake news, you will get *ZERO* argument from me.

        That said, I do think it’s interesting when Real Journalists start saying the things that I’ve been keeping my eye out for journalists saying.

        We can get to the impeachment trial proper as soon as Pelosi sends the articles over.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

          She already killed it with her delay. She wanted impeachment to be the biggest event in modern American history, but instead it got completely buried under speculation about events surrounding the 6th person in line for the British throne. Is there any way that Princess Beatrice (or whatever her name is) could move up as a result? Will Harry and Megyn move to Vancouver or Toronto? America waits on pins and needles to find out.

          The only way she could revive interest in impeachment is by alleging that Trump might have passed along unfounded rumors that Barack and Michelle were advising Harry and Megyn on attaining financial success after leaving office. Absent that, impeachment will have trouble climbing higher than page three.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

          The real journalists seem to be preoccupied covering the jaw dropping list of crimes spilling out of Parnas’ phone.

          But I’m sure they will return to palace courtier gossip soon enough.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Twitter seems to be talking about the Democratic debate and whether Bernie and Warren refused to shake the hand of the other.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

              Dana Milbank at WaPo:

              “This had to be one of the most successful failures — one of the most triumphant defeats — in modern political history.
              ouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) clearly failed in the stated aim of her four-week delay in sending impeachment articles to the Senate: to withhold the articles and the naming of impeachment managers until, as she put it last month, “we see the process that is set forth in the Senate.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) didn’t reveal his impeachment resolution and made no commitment to bring forth witnesses or documents.

              But Pelosi’s delay seems to have blunted any hope President Trump’s defenders had of dismissing the charges without a trial. Before the speaker’s gambit, McConnell pledged that “there will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this.” Trump is now calling for a dismissal, but Senate Republicans say they won’t allow that.”

              John Cole at Balloon Juice phrases this much better than I can:

              “This is about as close as a beltway asshole who treats politics like sports talk radio — picking winners and losers for everything, focusing on personality instead of performance — is going to get to a nuanced perspective.”

              I prefer the more elegant term “palace courtier”, but potayto, potahto.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Yeah, when I was a Christian, we had negative words for the people who only wanted to study the individual books and letters in the Bible without assuming that they were inspired by God.

                They weren’t coming at the topic from the proper perspective. They were pretending to be neutral and unbiased, but isn’t saying “I’m not going to pretend that The Lord was behind these words” a prejudice as well?

                Anyway, here’s twitter: