Ken AshfordTrump & Administration, Trump ImpeachmentLeave a Comment

(But on the other hand)

President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday night, becoming only the third American chief executive to be formally charged under the Constitution’s ultimate remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The historic vote split along party lines, much the way it has divided the nation, over the charges that the 45th president abused the power of his office by enlisting a foreign government to investigate a political rival ahead of the 2020 election. Then a majority of the House approved a second charge, that he obstructed Congress in its investigation.

The articles of impeachment, the political equivalent of an indictment, now go to the Senate for trial. If Trump is acquitted by the Republican-led chamber, as expected, he would have to run for reelection carrying the enduring mark of impeachment on his purposely disruptive presidency.

The House voted 230-197 to charge Trump with abuse of power, with just two Democrats in opposition and one voting “present.” The second charge, obstruction of Congress, was approved on a 229-198 vote, with three Democrats breaking ranks and one again voting “present.” All Republicans opposed both articles, underscoring their staunch unity behind the leader of their party.

Few lawmakers crossed party lines without consequence. Just two Democrats — Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey — broke from their party to oppose the first article of impeachment, while Rep. Jared Golden of Maine opposed only the second article. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted “present” both times. Van Drew, who had long questioned the impeachment push, has already signaled to colleagues and aides that he intends to switch parties and join the GOP.

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, an independent, backed both articles. Amash left the Republican Party earlier this year shortly after announcing his support for impeachment, and amid several ideological disagreements with Trump.

What was Trump’s response? He want off the rails at his rally. (I suspect his staff planned for him to be at a rally, so that his wrath would not be at the White House last night).

It wasn’t until 40 minutes into the rally, after the House approved both articles, that Trump began to dig into impeachment. He recycled accusations of Democrats trying to undo the results of the 2016 election rather than introduce colorful new attacks, as he often does when he is under fire.

“The do-nothing Democrats,” Trump said, “are declaring their deep hatred and disdain for the American voter.”

He proceeded to call the impeachment a “political suicide march for the Democratic Party.”

“I don’t know about you, but I’m having a good time,” Trump said. “I’m not worried.”

Trump tried to discredit the basis of the impeachment by using a common Republican defense of diverting attention to former Vice President Joe Biden and his family. He raised an unsubstantiated accusation that they were involved in corrupt dealings with Ukraine, and bemoaned what he called a “double standard“ by the media.

The president also pulled out some of his favorite jeers against the 2020 Democrats. At one point, he said his son Barron could rally a larger crowd than “crazy Pocahontas,” a derisive reference to Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Some of his comments demonstrated a vindictiveness he has used in the past. At one point, he went after Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and her vote for impeachment by mocking her husband, the late Rep. John Dingell.

Trump accused her of ingratitude in her impeachment vote, after he had called for flags to be flown at half-staff following her husband‘s death. He said that after he had offered the late congressman the “treatment,” Debbie Dingell called to say her husband was “thrilled“ looking down from heaven.

“Maybe he’s looking up,” Trump said of the congressman, drawing groans from the crowd.

Debbie Dingell was quick to respond.

All in all, Trump ran the gamut of his favorite targets, from former President Barack Obama and former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke to the former FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.

But he clearly was venting: it was his longest rally to date since becoming President.

But the news didn’t end with the vote for impeachment and Trump’s tantrums. There is the issue of what next. And it looks like a strategic delay. Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to commit last night to delivering articles of impeachment to the Senate, citing concerns about an unfair trial on removing President Donald Trump from office.

Senior Democratic aides said the House was “very unlikely” to take the steps necessary to send the articles to the Senate until at least early January, a delay of at least two weeks and perhaps longer.

“So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” Pelosi told reporters at a news conference just moments after the House charged Trump with abuse of power and obstructing congressional investigations. “That would’ve been our intention, but we’ll see what happens over there.”

Pelosi’s comments, which echo suggestions raised by other Democrats throughout the day, inject new uncertainty into the impeachment timetable and send the House and Senate lurching toward a potential institutional crisis.

Though the House adopted two articles of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of congressional investigations, it must pass a second resolution formally naming impeachment managers to present the case in the Senate. That second vehicle triggers the official transmission of articles to the Senate.

By delaying passage of that resolution, Pelosi and top Democrats retain control of the articles and hope to put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to adopt trial procedures they consider bipartisan.

I think this is a good idea. Yes, get the Senate rules to a point where there is an actual trial. But also, a lot can happen in a few weeks. More evidence can come out. The House can still investigate.

It’s actually not the Senate’s call. They can’t force Pelosi to do anything.

Here’s Graham earlier today:

Well, I’m sure they will send the Articles, but the political cowardice is rigging a trial so that more facts don’t come out.

Whoop. Nanci is speaking now.

Now she’s talking about legislation passed.

Aaaand Trump is apparently watching TV too…

By the way, Trump has warned repeatedly that an impeachment vote would backfire on Democrats, and force the stock market to dip. In September, for instance, Trump said: “If they actually did this the markets would crash. Do you think it was luck that got us to be the best Stock Market and Economy in our history. It wasn’t.”

The Dow is up 100 today hitting record highs.

And someone wasn’t listening to the prayer’s of the White House spiritual adviser: