One of the questions that both professional pundits and ordinary Americans have been asking is if President Donald Trump is so self-evident a criminal who uses his office for political purposes, why go through the bother of an impeachment proceeding with an election so close at hand? Why not present the case of the American people and let them decide in November?
Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee and the head of the House impeachment managers had a Freudian slip, which is to say a Washington-style gaffe in which he spoke the truth when it was not to his advantage to do so.
The Daily Wire quotes Rep Schiff from his opening statement in the well of the Senate.
“The House did not take this extraordinarily step lightly,” Schiff began. “As we will discuss, impeachment exists for cases in which the conduct of the president rises beyond mere policies, disputes to be decided otherwise, and without urgency at the ballot box.”
That statement is not something that most people on both sides of the question would disagree with in principle. The disagreement is whether Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president was impeachable or even wrong.
It was what Schiff went on to say that is raising eyebrows across official Washington and in the newsrooms of cable TV news networks.
“Instead, we are here today to consider a much more grave matter and that is an attempt to use the powers of the presidency to cheat in an election,” Schiff continued. “For precisely this reason, the president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won.”
It did not take long for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, one of the 100 senators who is being forced to sit through this spectacle, Cruz took to Twitter to express his view succinctly or, as the mainstream media often says about Republicans, he pounced.
“When House Dems say out loud that thing they had told themselves to keep quiet…”
What exactly was Schiff saying that he should have kept quiet about? The Federalist explains that it goes back to the conspiracy theory that somehow Russia arranged form Trump to win the 2016 election through clandestine means.
The Mueller report found that while Russia did indeed interfere with the last presidential election, as they have with every American election to one extent or another since the 1920s, the operation was not so much to elect Trump as it was to sow chaos and mistrust. It doesn’t take an expert in disinformation warfare to conclude that Putin succeeded beyond his wildest expectations.
The Federalist concludes:
“However ludicrous, Schiff’s statement is the necessary extension of the Democrats’ logic in bringing the case so quickly, without waiting for witnesses. And as it seems extremely likely the senate acquits Trump, then the same “emergency circumstances” will exist that caused the rush to impeach in the first place. Schiff is flat out telling voters that if Trump is not removed from office they should question the fairness of the outcome of the next election.”
In other words, the whole purpose of impeachment is not to remove President Donald Trump but to mess him up a little. Whomever the Democrats nominate for president will loudly claim that Trump is using underhanded methods to win reelection.
Then, either Trump will be defeated, which would certainly suit the Democrats just fine, or he will win, in which case Americans will be made to doubt the fairness of his victory. Then impeachment can begin all over again in the second term.
The Federalist, however, holds out hope that Americans will not be fooled.
“But the American people are not stupid. They know an acquittal of Trump would in no way, shape or form undermine the November election. Instead, under the guise of defending our democracy, it is Schiff and the Democrats calling it illegitimate.”
Some pundits are suggesting that all of that depends on the size of Trump’s second term victory, should that occur. If it is a narrow victory, then the doubts and finger-pointing will persist.
However, if Trump manages a 40 or so state blowout and, especially, if the Republicans retake the House, then denial will be all but impossible, according to several commentators.