The Next Steps Forward On Impeachment
The next steps in the impeachment process are relatively easy to predict.
Over at The Glittering Eye, Dave Schuler lays out his predictions for how the rest of the impeachment proceedings against President Trump will go, which I generally agree with:
- The House will vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry.
- The House will vote to impeach President Donald Trump. All they need is a simple majority and the House leadership would not have allowed their inquiry to go on as long as it has if they didn’t have the votes. They really don’t have any choice if they want to hold onto their jobs and hold their fractious caucus together.
- The House vote will be entirely or nearly entirely along party lines.
- The impeachment vote will take place before Thanksgiving.
- A bipartisan majority of the Senate will vote to convict.
- But it won’t be enough senators to convict because not enough Republicans will join the majority.
The first step, of course, has already happened and the procedures for that process were approved by the House of Representatives today. I also agree that the House will vote to impeach the President, largely because I don’t believe House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have gone forward with this if she weren’t confident about how it will end. If today’s vote is any indicate, it’s also correct that this vote will be on party lines. As it stands all but two Democrats voted for the procedures, and all Republicans voted against it. Additionally Justin Amash, who has previously endorsed impeachment, joined the Democrats to approve the procedures and will vote in favor of impeachment.
As for the Senate, I tend to agree that the Senate will fall short of the 67 votes needed to convict and remove the President, but I agree with Dave that there’s at least a good chance that we could see enough Republican defections to give conviction a majority, which would be at least embarrassing to the President. It won’t be enough to remove the President, obviously, but the fact that a majority of a Republican-controlled Senate, even a slim majority, voted to convict him will go down in history as surely as the fact that the same thing happened to Presidents Johnson and Clinton. That could prove hard to defend heading into an election year.
Potential defectors among Senate Republicans include Senators Romney and Murkowski, who have independent power basis in their home states and are not up for re-election until 2024 for Romney and 2022 for Murkowski. Another possibility is Maine’s Susan Collins, but her re-election concerns could mean that the desire to keep Republicans united behind her will play a role in her vote. Another potential defector is Cory Gardner, who trails in the polls in Colorado and faces an uphill battle in the General Election against John Hickenlooper, may find it hard to go along with the pro-Trump GOP. Assuming the Senate trial ends in acquittal, it will be up to the American people on November 3, 2020.
While I don’t disagree with any of this, I think the exact contents of the articles of impeachment are critical. They must be particular; they must be supported by overwhelming evidence; and they must be articulated in a way that Senate Republicans will have the choice of being shamed for finding against the facts or being emasculated by finding that such facts are not impeachable. The two topics I see are (1) using the power of the American government and the Office of the Presidency to pressure a foreign state for the benefit of the campaign (to the exclusion of national interests) and (2) categorically refusing to comply with and obstructing an impeachment investigation, particularly after today’s resolution.
Trump will probably escape conviction, but it’s not going to be pretty. The smoking gun has already been produced and he’s not what we think of as a well person. The only questions are how bad he deteriorates as it proceeds and how much double-talking Republican senators are going to do as they try to figure out how to justify their cowardice after he loses the election and is escorted out of the White House. This will end. There’s no politics for Trump, no plans, no real connection with America beyond the zone of rage, victimization, and entitlement.
Also, I hope the media will ask GOP Senators whether they’d have voted to convict if a Democratic president had faced identical charges.
I rather like the outcome that has Trump convicted but not removed. The majority of House members, Senators and voters will know that Trump has betrayed his oath of office and is a traitor to this country. I don’t think the cult will disappear, but it will be bleeding.
My biggest concern three years ago was that the culture hold. It has. Outside of the South and the Uninhabited Zone his white supremacist, misogynist world view is rejected.
Second biggest concern was that he’d be a competent fascist. Thankfully, he’s a fkin idiot of a fascist who couldn’t organize a two car funeral.
Third concern was that he’d get the people to shift their Overton Windows to crazy. Worked only on his existing voters, no one else is buying and Trump has zero persuasive skills beyond his cult.
That said, I think there’s still a chance Trump quits. The words ‘impeached’ and ‘disgraced’ will be permanently attached to him. His business is already in trouble and once he’s no longer worth the Arabs bribing, he’ll be in even worse shape. Then there’s the pile of lawsuits and likely serious felony charges. If he has a brain in his tiny head, facing likely disaster at the polls, he’ll negotiate a deal and leave while spreading transparent bullshit to be lapped up by people like @Guarneri and @JKB so that they can wallow in their Lost Cause 2.0 mythology.
@Michael Reynolds: Back in late November 2016, I was hoping/wishing that Trump, given his non-existent attention span and bottomless ignorance, would find the presidency so boring or confining that he’d quit after a month or so. No such luck.
He might still resign, but the prospect would have to be presented to him in such a way that he could delude himself into thinking it was winning.
Three Republican senators did not sign on to the petition condemning the House’s impeachment inquiry (prior to the authorizing vote): Romney, Murkowski, Collins. I think it is quite likely those three will vote to remove. Add to those Ben Sasse who’s already said things suggesting he’s open to the possibility.
IMO there are also four possibles: Ernst, McSally, Gardner, and Alexander. Ernst, McSally, and Gardner are all facing tough re-election campaigns. Alexander is retiring.
If all four of the likelies and one of the possibles votes to convict plus all of the Senate Democrats, that’s a total of 50 voting to convict (remove). One more wild card would make a majority voting to convict. That’s how I got there.
Unless the evidence that emerges from the House impeachment inquiry is truly compelling, I don’t see how you get to 67 votes.
Note that this comment is mostly about the mechanics and politics of impeachment and removal. That’s the focus of my post.
“I tried my best to beat the deep state and the fake news of the failing whatever and the illuminati, and international Jewery and bitchez eatin’ babies in pizza parlors, but I have to worry about my family first, so I have to look to my business which is my family. Some day I hope these scum will be brought down, and we’ve put them on notice, but I’ve done all I can do, the bestest job anyone could do even Abraham Lincoln or Jesus, but it’s always been family first for me, so the smart move is to just step aside and let our amazing vice president take over.”
If you meant to say Johnson and Clinton had a majority for conviction but not 2/3 that’s not true of Clinton. 55-45 against conviction on the perjury charge and 50-50 on obstruction.
@Michael Reynolds: I think he’ll say something about being a very stable genius, too.
As I’ve said before, impeachment happens in Congress, but unless they bring along a constitutional majority of Americans, it is futile. The House has only 8 days in session between now and Thanksgiving. So somehow they are going to get people onboard in a long week of “work”. More likely these next 11 days of district work are going to be eyeopening.
But let’s suppose the Democrats pass articles of impeachment. They will do so with secret evidence that will then need to be provided in public testimony to the Senate. Where witnesses and evidence will be, for the first time, subject to their own impeachment and cross examination. That’ll take time and not something most Americans are going to appreciate during the holiday season so likely, not until January. This presumes the articles survive the motion to dismiss vote that will surely be the first act in the Senate after opening of proceedings.
What in Donald Trump’s history makes you think he would ever quit? Especially since you see he will not avoid “disgraced” or “impeached” labels?
@JKB: What act, committed by President Trump, would suffice for you to vote for convicting him?
What stance did you take on President Clinton’s impeachment?
Exactly. Trump knows he a terrible person, and he is not offended by being considered as a completely dishonest and disgraceful person.
Mr. Bankruptcy? Mr. Divorce? The man who failed to get a gambling license in Vegas and gave up? And gave up on Atlantic City? And has a ratio of threatened lawsuits to actual lawsuits filed of about 100 to one? The man who rolled over like puppy for Kim Jong Un? The man who folded on NAFTA? The man who hasn’t delivered on his wall and seems to have no plan to pursue it further?
Your little tin god is a weak man. A wimp. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t want him to run away. I want him to crawl away. And then I want him in a federal prison where he so richly deserves to be.
@JKB: Because Trump can rationalize quitting as winning.
@JKB: I should know better by now than to engage, but your point here is truly baffling:
Are you somehow suggesting that in order to proceed with an impeachment vote in the House, the American public must somehow be…surveyed? The simple fact of the matter is that members of Congress probably have been hearing from their constituents for a while now on the impeachment process. Speaker Pelosi probably knows what the tallies look like for every one of her members’ districts. This is such a weird argument.
This is nonsense. The only things that are being kept under wraps are the usual: classified information and sources & methods. The reason hearings are being held behind closed doors is to a) reduce the media circus that ensues; b) to encourage forthcoming answers and follow-up questioning that everyone knows won’t be parsed by some partisan sources; and, most likely, c) to prevent obvious attempts to tailor statements that fit with other witnesses’ testimony (in short, to prevent witness coordination).
This presumes the articles survive the motion to dismiss vote that will surely be the first act in the Senate after opening of proceedings.
Where in the United States Constitution do you find a provision for anyone to file a “motion to dismiss” in a Senate trial of an Impeachment?
Which United States? In the Constitution of the United States of America, there is no such provision. In the constitution of the United States of Trump, there is no such provision either, but one can be made up at any time, for any reason, by any person, so long a they kiss the Orange Ass.
More seriously, it has been suggested that if the removal vote in the Senate were secret, there’d be more than enough votes to convict. That’s an easy claim to make and also impossible to test(*). But if it is true, meaning most Senators want Trump out, then wouldn’t the Senate leadership at least try to get El Cheeto to resign?
Oh, they won’t succeed. No question. It’s not like Dennison has any party loyalty; he is the party, end of story. But if they have something on him, then maybe.
Well, if we use the Schiff “grand jury with partisan leaking” simile, then when the articles of impeachment, literally just an accusation, or formal statement of offense, the evidence will be subjected to the adversarial process during the trial. In the past, Watergate and the Clinton impeachment, the House inquiry was open, full bipartisan rights, adversarial with participation of the president’s attorneys, witnesses subject to impeachment and cross-examination, all televised. So the Senate testimony phase accepted much of that proceeding.
Under this farce, the public, adversarial, bipartisan, with full rights for the president is being put off until the matter is in the Senate.
Can I ask; does the resolution refer to the Ukraine related material as the basis for possible impeachment, or is it more general?
I’ve seen reports on the BBC indicating it is Ukraine specific, but can’t see that in the text of the resolution.
If it is Ukraine specific, does it remain open to the House to widen to include obstruction re. Mueller inquiry, emoluments breaches, etc. and how easy/practical would it be to do so?
Well, much like the House determining the “rules” for impeachment, the Senate determines the rules for the trial. And the Senate can throw out the articles of impeachment if they find them without merit. The difference from a judicial branch proceeding is that the Chief Justice is unlikely to rule on the motion, but rather put it to the Senate for a vote.
The fact the Senate won’t likely convict (frankly I doubt any Republican will vote that way) is getting pretty irrelevant to me. The timing of this will be that the House will impeach on likely fairly narrow and inarguable grounds, with a tonne of evidence that is irrefutable (at least by any honest argument). This will take enough time that the Senate hearings and vote will be a huge election issue. Where before I didn’t see the Senate flipping, if the Republican Senators make big enough fools of themselves, maybe it could happen. Seeing as how they are now being bribed to support Trump, maybe that should be an impeachment issue as well, putting them in a pretty tough spot (fully deserved, obviously).
The new rules grant Trump or his counsel the ability to recommend additional testimony or evidence for the committee’s review, to attend all hearings and question any witnesses who testify, and generally to respond to the allegations against him “orally or in writing as shall be determined by the chair.”https://rules.house.gov/sites/democrats.rules.house.gov/files/ImpeachmentInquiryProceduresJudiciary.pdf
That’s far more than what usually happens before a grand jury.
I was asked today by a (republican) friend why I thought that Trump needs to be removed (why not wait for the next election)
My answer was simple: Because Trump believes that he did nothing wrong (particularly with regard to Ukraine extortion attempt), consequently he will continue to do things like this during the next 14 months. Impeachment will simply tell him that the Congress believes that he did wrong.
Removal will prevent him from acting on his belief that he has done nothing wrong, thereby protecting the country from a leader that believes he is beyond the law. My focus is on protecting the country and democracy, rather than “punishing” a delusional leader.
If you are going to pretend this is like a grand jury but with partisan leaks, then there will have to open, adversarial proceedings with the right to impeach/cross-examine, call any witness, raise objections on law and procedure, etc. in the Senate.
Or as I said, the Senate may simply dismiss the articles of impeachment as not being substantive on their face.
But as to your previous comment, things depend on whether Democrats wanting this to overshadow their primary. Perhaps, that is what the party wants given their candidates. I see that being favorable to Trump. The process/accusations right now are to complex and unlikely to sway the inattentive voters.
The rules passed by the House today feel to me like they are very much taking in to account that the Senate has no intention of holding an actual trial, and so they are moving many of the trappings of a trial in to the House’s process. Letting Trump and his lawyers subpoena folks, challenge evidence, cross-examine witnesses, etc.
@JKB: Trump is a man who thinks he is above the law. And he’s a malignant narcissist.
If that doesn’t scare the crap out of you, I don’t know what will. This is the same man who took an oath upon the Bible to uphold and maintain the Constitution of the United States of America.
I guess having the President of the United States of America breaking the oath he took to the country doesn’t bother you. Which says a lot about you, no?
(New nickname for Trump I saw over at one of The Guardian’s comment strings: The Pumpkin President. Chortle.)
I don’t think there’s time for that, actually. There will be a few public hearings, a Thanksgiving recess, and a bunch more. With rumblings that the first thing the senate will want to do is a motion to dismiss (JKB is right about that), the House Democrats will need to present enough evidence to the American people that the Senate cannot do that.
I expect the Senate to get articles of impeachment as a Christmas present.
@grumpy realist: The Man Who Would Be Pumpkin King.
It scares the crap out of me exactly how many Trumpkins are totally fine with Trump being above the law.
President Trump is being accused of delaying aid to a foreign government until they make a public statement that they are investigating the son of one of Trump’s rivals.
I don’t know how stupid Republican voters are, but pretty much everyone else can follow that.
If the Quid Pro Quo were not so obvious, it might be harder to explain (quid pro quo is not required, under law, but that may be hard to explain).
As a complicating factor in the scheduling, recall that the current continuing resolution for the budget expires Nov 21.
Did anyone else forget to buy popcorn futures, or was it just me? 😉
@Ms. Cris Ericson: You DO realise that Andy Borowitz writes a humour column for the New Yorker, don’t you?
(This reminds me of the U.S. Army finding a J.I.R. article “How to Build an Atom Bomb” at an Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan.)
….cuckoo cuckoo cuckoo….you are a prime example of how incessant pot smoking kills brain cells.
@Ms. Cris Ericson:
None, because they are not going to be violating that law.
But thanks for playing “Please pay attention to me and see how smart I am as I demonstrate that I don’t understand anything about how to interpret law.”
However, I fully encourage you to put your money where you mouth is and walk down to your federal court house tomorrow to file a criminal complaint against all of those parties (or at least the ones you have standing for as a resident of Vermont). I’m sure folks in that office are really excited to learn more about your novel interpretations of the law.
If we ever decide to have an OTB meet-up in person, Cris is not allowed to bring the weed. I suspect whoever is supplying her may have been responsible for the brown acid at Woodstock.
JKB, if the Republicans were smart (and they aren’t) they would want to have two things: this open inquiry be thorough, and that it end quickly enough. Both contradict each other.
Plus, they fail to realize in this 8 days until Thanksgiving idea, the Dems have full control of the calendar on this. There is no deadline except for the end of the term, which isn’t until 2021, and even then they could vote for some sort of extension or renewal in the new one. Indeed, given the holidays, they are going until at least after Christmas. The Republicans who want a quick resolution need to urge everyone to testify, stop stalling, and cooperate. Every act of stalling takes it further and further in the New Year and closer to the primaries and the General Election.
@JKB: May I ask you a question? When I meet a Trump supporter, I’m always curious to know if he or she is:
1. An avid, full-out, Trump-is-the-greatest-president-we’ve-ever-had type
2. A well-he’s-awful-but-he’s-better-than-Hillary type
3. Something in between
I really would like to know.
McConnell will be driven only by his perception of whether he wants the senators up for election running on Trump’s coattails or on whatever situation he thinks would exist post Trump’s removal from office. Even if Trump is badly damaged and looks to lose reelection badly, they’re probably better off with Trump than with, say, Pence.
I’ve seen no discussion of what would happen if Trump were forced out or resigned. Pence has no claim to the nomination. Sanford (he still pretending to be in?), Walsh, and Weld are running but have no backing. Pence, Kasich, Romney, Cruz or whoever might try to get into the primaries. If there’s no presumptive nominee by then I expect there are rules to resolve it in the convention. As I understand it, Trump could run again unless the Senate specifically finds otherwise. And timing, where Trump’s departure fell in the Primary schedule, would be critical.
If we ever do an OTB meet up, I suggest we do it in Vegas before Easter in 2021.
Why? Well, accommodations are plentiful and range from economical to extravagant. there’s plenty of entertainment, even outside the gaming floor. Dining options are also plentiful and quite good. the weather around April is rather pleasant, and air conditioning is always mere steps away. And weed is now legal, too.
Why 2021? To celebrate a Trump-free America.
And, even to be hospitable to Ms. Ericson and (I’m guessing) Tyrell, weed is legal there.
@Kathy: I don’t understand why you would want the media to question GOP Senators about this. I’m pretty confident that they can lie about whether they would vote to impeach a Democrat on the same charges as well as they can lie about anything else. Moreover, said lie won’t affect their standings with voters in their home states.
70% of the time when I write here I’m high. And yet somehow I don’t cut and paste long strings of gibberish. I write my own gibberish.
Aside and totally off topic, I am totally into the idea of some type of Paul L., Cris Ericson, Tyrell slashfic. Nothing sexy mind you. But the idea of some type of Jane Austin chaste sitting-room farce about them falling in and out of love while running a VT B&B Sparks joy for me. Like Newheart, but with more pot and tinfoil hats.
@mattbernius: Great idea. Set in or near Montpelier. There’s a reason its nickname is Montpeculiar.
@mattbernius: Tyrell and his other brother Tyrell?
All those Republican Senators the media keeps telling are unhappy with Trump but aren’t willing to go on the record about it should think about this very hard: If he is not removed from office, he will claim vindication and believe that he truly is above the law. Given his behavior with the Mueller investigation and impeachment hanging over him, how do you think he will behave when both of those have been removed? How much damage will he do in the remaining year he has in office?
JKB: Either you haven’t read the rules just passed for this proceeding or you are deliberately and deceptively ignoring them.
@Pylon: Deliberately and deceptively ignoring them, is my guess.
Good on Pelosi for giving more rights to Trump to go testify on camera in front of the entire nation than the previous *cough cough* Republican congress did with Clinton.
This should get interesting, considering Trump can’t testify to ANYTHING without lying.
I predict he will testify in his Twitter feed. You remaining Republicans can decide if you are ok with your Hero hiding behind his phone.
Did somebody say something about popcorn futures?
Precisely my fear.
Where does the idea that Trump has broad public support come from? He lost the popular vote in 2016. The stands at his inauguration were half empty. The workers at the Shell rally earlier this year would have lost pay if they stayed away. He got booed at the World Series. There is a reason that he only appears at a few selected events.
Even more to the point, how much damage will he do in his lame duck months if he loses the election? Who would he pardon, who would he fire, what appalling damage might he do to America’s relations with other countries, how many public servants and members of the armed forces might he place in horrible positions by issuing orders which are arguably unlawful? And what mischief might he do by holding one rally after another to declare the election was rigged and he’s not sure yet whether he’ll agree to stand aside?
@JKB: “They will do so with secret evidence…”
So secret that dozens of GOP congressmen were in the room.
@Modulo Myself: By what information do you have that there is anything wrong with Trump’s mental health? Because he keeps doing everything the “experts” tell him to do? He out smarts them every time. If mental health should be questioned, it would be with people like Mad Maxine, Nancy Peelousy, Shifty Shitthead, and Nadler.
@steve ross strutz: He “outsmarted” them right into an impeachment inquiry, possibly several by the time the shit quits hitting the fan and all the information comes out. “Outsmarted” them right into six bankruptcies, and myriad other failed business ventures, going back decades.
The only person who got “outsmarted” here… is you.