Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi: one tune, two different dances

Impeachment is a political process.  It is not a civil trial or a criminal proceeding.  Rather, impeachment is part of a political process that should not be taken lightly but is being exploited by democrats and republicans alike.

Three U.S. Presidents have faced impeachment.  President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment came after the assassination of President Lincoln who had formulated a plan to peacefully reunite the South with the North after the Civil War.  President Johnson wanted to carry out Lincoln’s plan which was not popular with certain members of Congress.  The impetus to impeach President Johnson took off when he removed Edwin Stanton, an ally of many members of Congress, from his position as Secretary of War, a violation of the Tenure of Office Act which said the president could not remove an appointed official without the approval of Congress.  The result was an impeachment and a near conviction in the U.S. Senate.  The Tenure of Office Act was later declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bill Clinton was impeached in his second term for lying under oath and obstruction of Congress.    His impeachment procedure was started after a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against Clinton by Paula Jones and President Clinton’s testimony denying a sexual relationship with a White House intern.  His denial of the relationship was not true.  The president was acquitted by the Senate along a party line vote.

The impeachment of President Trump was his own doing.  Democrats never accepted the defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016.  The president was on the democrats’ hit list from day one.  The Russia investigation which democrats thought would be grounds for impeachment fizzled out after the Mueller Report.  Left without impeachable charges democrats waited and hoped that Mr. Trump would somehow give them new ammunition to impeach him.  The democrats did not have to wait long.  Mr. Trump gave it to them with his telephone conversation with the president of Ukraine and the withholding of aid to Ukraine unless it announced an investigation of the Bidens, Joe and Hunter.

In each instance of the impeachment, politics was the over riding issue.  Mr. Johnson was impeached because members of congress wanted a new president, one of their own who would punish the South for the Civil War.  While Mr. Clinton’s actions were certainly worthy of impeachment and conviction, politics and a united democratic caucus in the Senate were Mr. Clinton’s safety net. It did not matter that Mr. Clinton was accused of lying under oath or obstructing Congress.  Democrats were not going to let their president get booted out of office. 

Last week Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw a new wrinkle into the impeachment of the president once again proving that politics is more important than the law.  She says she will withhold the Articles of Impeachment from the Senate until she is assured that there will be a fair Senate trial.  How interesting!  In all fairness the impeachment inquiry in the house was not fair.  It was on the fast track.  Now, Ms. Pelosi is telling the Senate how to conduct its business.  I cannot imagine the magnitude of outrage that Ms. Pelosi would have if Senate Republicans had told her how to conduct the impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives.  It would not be pretty.  She would resent it.  This is why you can count on a double standard in Washington, and why impeachment is a political process.

Democrats are scared that Donald Trump may somehow find a way to win re-election.  They are doing all that they can to load up the wagon to help their future nominee win the 2020 election.  Republicans are using impeachment as a major fundraising event.

Mr. Trump’s best path to re-election may not be under his control but may lie in the hands of democrats regardless of the impeachment.  A radical nominee on the democratic side, such as Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, may be enough to scare middle of the road voters who are looking to vote for someone other than Donald Trump into staying home or reluctantly voting for Mr. Trump as the better of two unacceptable candidates.  It would not be the first time that politicians, in this case the democrats, over played their hands and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.