Politico is reporting that the Democrats, freshly invigorated with witch-hunter Robert Mueller nasty anti-Trump slambook, are shying away from pursuing impeachment.
After interviews with 15 lawmakers Thursday, it’s clear Democrats think the report is severely damaging to the president, with substantial evidence that he attempted to derail the Russia probe. But it’s still not enough to pull the trigger on the most consequential — and politically risky — action Democrats could take in their new majority: trying to forcibly eject Trump from office.
“Election time is when you beat Trump,” said Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a senior member of the party’s progressive wing who was an early supporter of impeachment efforts in the previous Congress.
“Right now, he’s got enough protection around him from the top lawyer in the country to keep him in office,” Grijalva added, referring to Attorney General William Barr, who has come under a barrage of criticism from Democrats over his handling of the report’s release.
Two years of shrill, hysterical and alarm-littered press conferences and media appearances, why on earth would they shy away from impeaching such a criminal menace like Trump?
Politico spins, spins, spins:
For two years, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Democrats deferred impeachment questions until after the special counsel’s investigation concluded. But after Mueller showed at least 10 instances in which Trump may have committed obstruction of justice — and ostensibly met the “high crimes and misdemeanors” threshold previously laid out by several Democrats — Pelosi and her top deputies were notably restrained. They issued short statements and made few, if any, media appearances.
The job of the Special Counsel is to bring charges or not bring charges. Mueller did not bring espionage or obstruction charges against Trump or anyone in his orbit. If Pelosi and her motley crew really believe Trump is as corrupt and criminal as they say, don’t they have an obligation to impeach?
But Steny is cautious. “Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the No. 2 Democrat, told CNN. “Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months, and the American people will make a judgment.”
“I think that Speaker Pelosi doesn’t think it’s worth going forward politically when there will not be a conviction. … For a lot of people in swing districts and all, it’s probably easier for them to take that position,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), who once introduced articles of impeachment against Trump.
“I don’t know that we’d have a majority, anywhere near a majority, willing to stand up and oppose the speaker and take a position that could be adverse to maintaining the House,” he added.
Even Jerry Nadler is treading lightly: “It’s too early to talk about that,” Nadler told reporters Thursday when asked about impeachment. “That’s one possibility. There are others.”
So why have continued investigations? Do the House committees have as many resources as the Special Counsel’s operation: 19 lawyers, 40 FBI agents and grand juries to discover information that slipped by the Mueller team?
Those questions are answered if we understand this report to be a political document rather than a legal document. Mueller’s people knew they were never going to make a case for espionage, remember Stzok texting “there’s no there, there”? The emphasis of the investigation was always about obstruction and the information gathered was going to be used, at the very least, as political weapon if it didn’t meet a legal threshold of an obstruction charge. That is exactly what is happening: the House Dems are going to continue the presidential harassment but aren’t actually going to take that final step. It’s all a big show.
Image from Getty Images.