Sunday, December 16, 2018

Impeachment Thoughts

There's been a lot of talk about impeachment again with the Democrats taking power and Trump's former lawyer turning rat. I figured this would be a good time to talk about that.

● Blowing a hole in Trump's former lawyer's testimony will be the easiest assignment a defense lawyer can get. The man has admitted on television (repeatedly) that he's looking for revenge and the different stories he's told are tailor made for cross-examination. What's more, a dirty witness trying to shift blame for his own crimes rarely succeeds in court. Even worse, he's the lawyer. All Trump has to say is, "I relied on him to advise me." Checkmate.

Even assuming everything Trump's lawyer has alleged is true, none of it comes close to a legitimate case for impeachment. Impeachment is for "high crimes" and "treason." Treason means acting in a way with the intent of causing the downfall of the United States. That's rare and doesn't come up here. High crimes isn't really defined, but tends to mean shocking crimes... murder, violent rape... terrorism. It does not mean administrative violations. It does not mean minor instances of graft. It simply is not implicated in what is alleged against Trump.

That said, it turns out that impeachment is a political issue more than anything. The Congress can impeach him for any reason they want, really, and I doubt very much that the Supreme Court is going to step in and limit that power by defining "high crimes." So if the Democrats want to impeach him, they can and the Court will leave it to the voters to stop them.

● That said, impeaching Trump would be a nightmare for the Democrats. The public hates these kinds of political games and they punish the party that does it harshly. By impeaching Clinton, the GOP turned him into a national hero and made themselves into a pariah. Only the foolishness of the left saved them. And even then, by 2008, they faced the possibility of de facto extinction.

● That said, the Democrats won't be able to help themselves. Their leadership knows impeachment would be a disaster for them, whether they get Trump or not, and they are hoping to walk a line where they keep talking about it but never let it happen. They have misread their supporters, however. Far too many of them can't stop talking about it. They are even looking for other reasons like his tax returns. They want his blood and they won't take anything less from their leadership. At the same time, the public doesn't want to hear it.

● If it does happen, look for it to eat up about a year before it happens and then six month of legal battles after the vote. That puts it right into the heart of the election season. With tempers already running high and the crazies getting crazier, look for lots of death threats against candidates and total paralysis in Washington. I suspect the Democrats are not prepared for the anger they will unleash.

● It's nearly impossible to predict how this will go with voters, but I can totally see this destroying Trump and the Democratic candidates for President, and leaving some little-known Republican as the last man standing in 2020. If I were advising this person, I would say stay clean, ignore Trump, and hope the impeachment happens.

In terms of the Democrats, I don't think they can avoid the issue. They might as well dive in deep and try to steal opinion. I don't think they can, but they'll knee-deep no matter what they do.

● One thing is for sure, the next year could be pretty ugly.



Anthony said...

Everyone knew Trump was a corrupt, thin skinned, dictator loving philanderer from the get go. I agree impeaching (or trying to, the Dems can't complete the process without the Republican dominated Senate) him for those things won't damage him.

That being said unlike with Clinton I doubt it would damage the Democrats either. As I predicted post-Kavanaugh when Republicans were riding high Trump's love of grabbing the spotlight via lies, taunts and threats has often undid Democratic idiocy. Impeachment would no doubt drive him to new heights.

I still lean towards Trump winning re-election though some big event could alter the equation.

tryanmax said...

This is more of a sidebar than anything, but it's my understanding that a "high crime" is one that can only be done by someone in a unique position of authority. In any case, some on the left are so dumb as to assert that traffic violations are impeachable misdemeanors.

I'm frankly surprised that Democrats haven't latched onto a somewhat obscure remark by Benjamin Franklin, recommending impeachment for when the Executive has "rendered himself obnoxious." It should be noted that the recommendation was in alternative to assassination, so maybe it's because Democrats don't want to cede that option.

tryanmax said...

Another sidebar, too good not to share. Someone just summarized the Donald Trump news cycle and it was spot on: "Russia - He’s stupid, can’t read, insane, 25th amendment - Stormy - He’s increasingly isolated and angry - repeat"

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Actually, I think they could impeach him if they want to and it can destroy him. The problem is that it becomes a suicide pact and they'll destroy themselves in the process.

And in that regard, keep in mind that well over 100 million of the people who will vote in the election aren't ideologues. They can swing.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The Dems aren't particularly good at knowing history one way or other other. Who is Ben Franklin? Some slave owning white racist, right?

Critch said...

I think if the Dims attempt it, the same thing will happen to them that happened to the GOP when they went after will backfire.

Tennessee Jed said...

seems to me the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors is absolutely a political act, but getting a conviction is tough. Trump has enemies in both parties, but would survive unless they have irrefutable proof of a felony. It is interesting that everybody said get rid of special counsel untiln now. The real villain is Rosenstein who expanded Mueller’s portfolio to anything he wanted to look at.

As far as it hurting Democrats, I am not so sure. Had Clinton been removed and Gore made POTUS, I believe he would have won with the added gravitas of being POTUS. Republicans have a bumbers disadvantage. We win when Dems are not motivated. There are many black people and women who DO vote identity, and I understand their frustration. It is why a Kamala Harris is dangerous. She will pick up the Obama voters who did not come out for Hillary in addition to the I’m with her crowd

Rustbelt said...

Seems to me the Dems don't know the difference between impeachment (committed a crime), and a no-confidence vote (a parliamentary procedure we don't have).

Andrew, like Anthony, I don't think impeaching would hurt Trump as much as you think it might. Americans hate the process and it might create sympathy for him. (Unlike Kavanaugh, whom nobody knew anything about before the hearings.) In fact, I'd say there's a one-in-three chance it hurts Trump based on experience:

1868: Nobody won or lost when Johnson was impeached removing Stanton without Senate consent. He was already unpopular and on his way put. The Radical Republicans maintained their popularity and took the White House that year.
1974-75: Nixon was found to have covered up the CREEP activities without actually participating. His resignation was forced when neither party would side with him in the Senate. He lost. Congress won.
1998: After years of hounding, the GOP impeached Billy for the lesser things the creep did. Americans hated the petty politics. Billy won. Congress lost.

So, I say there's a 33-34% of any outcome.

Also, did you get the email I sent you over the weekend? I'm trying to find an honest biography as opposed to all the cynical revisionist bios that are out there.

AndrewPrice said...

Hi Rustbelt. I just saw the email. It was in my spam folder.

In terms of hurting Trump, I'm not really meaning his popularity. That is what it is. I'm talking about bringing him down. If they choose to do it, they will unseat him. He can't stop that and the Supreme Court won't help him.

But it will blow up on the Democrats just as badly.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, I think so too. I think even just continuing to talk about it raises the possibility of blowback. What neither party seems to get is that the public wants a government it doesn't need to hear from.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, The thing is, there are no rules for a trial. It's basically just a legislative thing. There's no standard, no rules of evidence, no rules of procedure. So convicting him would come down to "can we get enough votes against him." Even with the Republicans holding the Senate (for now), I suspect they can find the votes.

You're right about their supporters. Their core definitely believes that crap.

tryanmax said...

Hey, Merry Christmas to all if I don't pop back in after the weekend.

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