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Is the Trump impeachment countdown on?

The impeachment countdown is on. Democrats are lurching inexorably toward trying to dump President Trump, even if they won’t admit it now

By: EBR - Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2018

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 With the House in their hands, Democratic leaders are planning to use their subpoena power, and hope that it uncovers more evidence of Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors. CNN has already written an “Impeachment 101” story, providing a timeline on what to expect from a formal push to oust Trump. Even if collusion can’t be proved, there are plenty of other legal avenues to pursue. There are Trump’s financial dealings, possible obstruction of justice, the inauguration funding scheme, Trump’s tax payments and the emoluments clause
With the House in their hands, Democratic leaders are planning to use their subpoena power, and hope that it uncovers more evidence of Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors. CNN has already written an “Impeachment 101” story, providing a timeline on what to expect from a formal push to oust Trump. Even if collusion can’t be proved, there are plenty of other legal avenues to pursue. There are Trump’s financial dealings, possible obstruction of justice, the inauguration funding scheme, Trump’s tax payments and the emoluments clause

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By Hans Izaak Kriek*

The impeachment countdown is on. Democrats are lurching inexorably toward trying to dump President Trump, even if they won’t admit it now. 

Conventional wisdom says that the Democrats, who are about to take over the U.S. House, are proceeding cautiously, and will be reluctant to launch into impeachment proceedings. Nancy Pelosi is trying her best to restrain herself.

Don’t believe it. Democrats would like nothing better than to oust Trump. If Robert Mueller provides them with the ammunition, the party won’t be able to resist. Left-leaning voters are pressuring lawmakers to act, thinking about the months long torture that impeachment will inflict on the president.

Who is the most popular Democrat in the country? You could argue it’s Beto O’Rourke, the failed Texas Senate candidate and current White House wannabe celebrity. “I do think there’s enough there for impeachment,” he said during his 2018 Senate campaign. But O’Rourke lost, only because he was running in Texas. Now that he’s No. 1 in the 2020 polls, O’Rourke’s words carry more weight. Democratic voters love his aggressiveness.

With the House in their hands, Democratic leaders are planning to use their subpoena power, and hope that it uncovers more evidence of Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors. CNN has already written an “Impeachment 101” story, providing a timeline on what to expect from a formal push to oust Trump. Even if collusion can’t be proved, there are plenty of other legal avenues to pursue. There are Trump’s financial dealings, possible obstruction of justice, the inauguration funding scheme, Trump’s tax payments and the emoluments clause. All of which could provide the base for impeachment charges.

Many books have been written on impeachment. The quick summary: an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House says it is. So the incoming Democratic majority could impeach President Trump on any single theory or many at once. Certainly, cable news is full of breathless speculation about what special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has or may possibly have, and to what Michael Cohen pleaded guilty, and of course there are charges of unconstitutional emoluments received and inaugural committee contributions mislaid. 

Of the original charge, that the president and his campaign colluded with the Russian government to bring about his election, there is still only the thinnest of reeds. We all await the special counsel’s report on his investigation.
That the House Democrats are going to drive toward a vote on one or more articles of impeachment seems predestined. 

The animal need for House members to be on television, combined with the already accelerating race for the Democratic presidential nomination, guarantees that one dynamic will feed off the other as surely hurricanes do over warm ocean water. The big blow off is coming. It will last months and months.

And, in the end, there Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution: The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present. But the reality is, that the thirst for impeachment carries huge risks for the Democratic Party. 

All they have to do is look back at the late ’90s, when Republicans moved ahead with the impeachment of President Clinton. But he was never convicted in the Senate, despite Republican control, and became more popular as a result of the impeachment drive. Republicans lost seats in both chambers in the 2000 election.

Impeaching Trump will be even more difficult than going after Clinton. Because Republicans now control the Senate, it would take 20 GOP senators to flip and reach the two-thirds vote necessary to convict Trump. Without any clear evidence of “high crimes,” that’s never going to happen. Republicans are not going to impeach Trump based on a few campaign finance violations.

The final problem with impeachment is, it won’t solve anything. Democrats wouldn’t take back the White House, they only be handing it off to Vice President Mike Pence. But such small inconveniences don’t seem to matter. In the Democrats’ minds, Trump is dangerous and has to go. Getting revenge on the president for winning the White House is the ultimate goal, and nothing less than impeachment will stand.

And who, in short, might learn to love ‘the process’? Donald Trump, of course. It isn’t a normal presidency seeking normal historical achievements. He already has some of those in his massive tax cut, his two justices on the Supreme Court, a much-needed military rebuild and a new realism regarding China. President Trump can look at his markers already down on the table and come to relish the battle for 2020.

* An international political commentator for European Business Review and editor-in-chief of Kriek Media

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