For months now, Calbuzz has advocated impeaching Donald Trump in the House of Representatives and NOT sending the articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate, where Mitch McConnell’s rabid Republicans would instantly acquit the president.
Now that Trump has been impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, that’s exactly what the Democrats should do.
Our logic: 1) Since it takes two-thirds to convict in the Senate, Republicans will exonerate Trump 2) Nothing in the Constitution requires the House to send its impeachment to the Senate 3) Let Trump spend the next nine months explaining that he wasn’t impeached. Which he was.
Sure it’s nasty, taking advantage of the public’s lack of understanding of what impeachment actually means. And it’s exactly the kind of dirty pool Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has played for years, including stifling former President Obama’s choice for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Now — after McConnell has said he is not impartial and is coordinating his impeachment trial plan with the White House, and after Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham has promised to kill Trump’s impeachment instantly – the Republicans have given the Democrats obvious cause to withhold the articles.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while careful not to raise this possibility herself, has made it clear that the House has no intention of sending charges to the Senate until she and her leadership are assured they will be fairly tried. And since McConnell has already pledged that the charges will not get an impartial hearing, it logically would follow that she cannot in good conscience forward a bill of impeachment to the Senate.
As the New York Times noted, “The Constitution does not dictate how the process of transmitting articles of impeachment from the House to the Senate should work. It says only that the House has ‘the sole power of impeachment’ and that the Senate, ‘shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.’”
Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe, former White House Counsel John Dean and others – especially among the progressive Democrats in the House – have come to agree with the impeach-but-throttle strategy.
Maybe in the meantime the U.S. Supreme Court will order the White House to produce documents and witnesses that could lead to further impeachment charges.
At the very least, as Pelosi has suggested, holding back articles of impeachment from the Senate gives the House leverage to demand rules in the Senate that would ensure a fair trial.
“We will make our decision as to when we are going to send it when we see what they are doing on the Senate side,” Pelosi said. “So far, we have not seen anything that looks fair to us.”
President Donald Trump has been impeached. He can deny it all he wants, but it’s a fact.
And maybe it’s enough.