Welcome To Impeachment Limbo For The Holidays
Welcome To Impeachment Limbo For The Holidays
Now that the Democrats have gotten their impeachment vote as a gift to the base, they are left trying to figure out what to do with it. As a result, they are in political limbo.
Voting for impeachment to please the far-left base was like giving a child a puppy for Christmas. For a glorious, shining moment, captured forever on video or in pictures, there was sheer excitement and joy. The next day, you realize that someone has to clean up after the puppy, train it, and feed it, and the child isn’t the person to do that. In other words, you just gave yourself the gift of more work. The Democrats are now in that position. They made the base happy, but now they actually have to follow through on impeachment. And there is no way that President Trump will be convicted and removed by the Senate.
So Nancy Pelosi’s brilliant, Botox-fog induced idea? Don’t send the articles of impeachment to the Senate! It’s GENIUS!!! Trump is impeached and then he will never be cleared because he won’t get a trial!
You have to hand it to San Fran Nan – when she commits to the crazy, she takes no half measures. It’s so crazy, in fact, that two of the law professors that testified about impeachment in the House – Noah Feldman and Jonathan Turley – actually disagree about whether Trump has actually been impeached. Feldman, who testified for the Democrats, has said that Trump isn’t impeached until the charges make it to the Senate (and urges Pelosi to stop the charade and just get it over with).
Until a few weeks ago, no one, to my knowledge, has ever suggested that impeachment could be complete even if there is no communication to the Senate. And no historic example of this new idea has been brought forward in the current discussion. This issue isn’t merely theoretical or “academic” in the pejorative sense. It has major political implications for the current stand-off between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.”
Constitutionally, the Senate can’t try Trump until she triggers the trial by sending a message about impeachment to the Senate. The Constitution gives the House has the “sole power” of impeachment; and impeachment means the power to initiate and conduct a prosecution in the Senate.”
But if Trump has already been impeached by the House vote, then Pelosi has zero leverage, because the Senate can start the trial right away, without waiting for the House to initiate or conduct the prosecution. After all, the House only has the power to impeach. If it has already executed that power, then the ball is already in the Senate’s court. The Senate has the sole power to try the impeachment.”
Turley, on the other hand, says that yes, the impeachment is official, so just get it over with – or risk the impeachment expiring. (More on that later.) But Feldman and Turley are in agreement – the limbo that Pelosi has created is Constitutionally shaky, and inherently stupid.
Where Noah and I agree is that this use of the articles as a bargaining chip is a departure from tradition and undermines the integrity of the process. It also contradicts the Democratic narrative that the House could not wait because this is a “crime in progress.” I argued that a little more time could greatly enhance this record. Now, having adopted articles of impeachment on a facially incomplete and insufficient record, the House suddenly has ample time to toy with the Senate on the transferral of the articles for trial.”
Yet, on the issue of impeachment, that was established with the adoption of Article 1 on the abuse of power. President Trump stands impeached as clearly defined under Article 1 of the Constitution.”
Of course, Congress has now adjourned until January 7th, so now we get a glorious three weeks of living in this impeachment limbo, when most people are focused on things other than the news during the holidays and vacation. No wonder everyone is bored spitless with impeachment. First we’re told there’s a crime, then we’re told there’s no waiting for the facts or for witnesses, and now we’re being told “meh, no rush, we’ll get to it after vacation ends.” No one is paying attention to it. We’re all, thankfully, focused on other things at this time of year – like whether “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is worth seeing or not.
Now, the delay in the articles being transmitted hasn’t stopped Democrat senators from proudly declaring that they will vote to convict before the trial even starts. So much for all the bitching and moaning about Mitch McConnell not being an “impartial” juror, right? Senator Dick Durbin, in an interview with CNN, at least realizes that this is a bad, bad look for Senate Democrats, and undercuts their entire argument for witnesses in a Senate trial. Why call witnesses if the jurors are already announcing their decisions?
The Democrats were gleeful when they voted for impeachment. But now that they have their present, they suddenly realized that they really don’t want to finish the job. This was the second part of Jonathan Turley’s argument – impeachment can’t stay in limbo forever. According to him, impeachment has an expiration date.
A common analogy is often drawn to federal indictments by a grand jury. Though this analogy can be overstated, on this point, there is a telling distinction between the indictment and trial stages. If the grand jury decides the evidence presented establishes probable cause, it issues an indictment. As with the House in an impeachment, a majority of the grand jury (16 of 23 members) must vote for indictment, which is then called a true bill. The submission to a federal court in an arraignment is to allow a defendant to plead guilt or innocence. If an indictment is not submitted, there can be no trial or conviction. Moreover, there is a time limit as there is in an impeachment with statutes of limitations and other limits on the life of an indictment. If a House does not submit articles of impeachment to the Senate, those articles will die with that Congress. Like indictments, the limit is on the ability to prosecute or try the articles of impeachment.”
The 116th Congress is the one who voted for impeachment. If they don’t send the articles over to the Senate, and then the 117th Congress is sworn in (as happens every two years), the articles of impeachment, according to Turley, would actually expire. Imagine if Nancy Pelosi thought that she could hold these articles of impeachment over Trump’s head like the sword of Damocles. Permanent limbo, as it were. And let’s say that she holds on to the Speakership after the 2020 election, and that Trump wins reelection. If Turley’s constitutional interpretation holds true, and the 117th Congress tries to then send over the articles of impeachment to screw with a second Trump term, the articles would be invalid and would have to be voted on AGAIN. Can you imagine the fury of the left if they had to do this all over again, after squandering their first chance?
I don’t believe the impeachment limbo will last, and we’ll actually have to put that theory to a constitutional test. Pelosi is just delaying the inevitable in hopes of winning the war of attrition. She knows she will lose in the Senate, but she wants to make Trump’s victory hurt. But by leaving this entire mess in limbo to go on vacation, Pelosi is proving just what a joke impeachment was in the first place.
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