Friday, May 31, 2019

The Clock Slowly Winds Down

Thursday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, 24-36 hours after Special Counsel Mueller's statement, Pelosi had shifted only slightly. She said

Let me just- because you mentioned several things, why I think the President wants us to impeach him. .......He knows it's not a good idea to impeach but the silver lining for him is that then he believes that he will be exonerated by the United States Senate....And there is a school of thought that says if the Senate acquits you, why bring charges against him the private sector when he's no longer President. So when we go through with our case, it's got to be ironclad.

There is a school of thought also that the perfect is the enemy of the good. The case is never going to be ironclad.

It is also highly unlikely that impeachment and renewal from office- which Pelosi, like most of the country, believes is an action the Senate would not take- inoculates the (ex-) President from being charged and indicted thereafter. As explained here

Only the criminal justice system can impose fines, imprisonment, or a death sentence as punishment for misdeeds committed while in office." In other words, assuming the Fifth Amendment applies to impeachments, the Double Jeopardy Clause cannot be violated when Congress impeaches someone because Congress cannot put the defendant in “jeopardy of life or limb.”

Kimmel asked why Pelosi believes that a Republican Senate, "even if they know that he committed a crime, will side with Donald Trump." Pelosi noted that GOP senators have pledged undying loyalty to the President and "not one of them has spoken up."

It's clear that the GOP has placed country over party. Still, there is solid tactical advantage to the Republican Party not to question the President, just as Pelosi and many other Democrats yet refuse to advocate the impeachment process because they believe it would backfire on the Democratic Party. It may be a little much to expect Republicans to denounce a President of their own Party when the opposing Party, which loathes him as almost any thinking person would, refuses to impose the constitutional remedy.

Until recently, the Speaker would not even concede that the President understands "it's not a good idea to impeach." Still, she maintains "the silver lining for him is that then he believes that he will be exonerated by the United States Senate."

Can we put to bed the notion that President Trump wants the House of Representatives to impeach him?  Donald Trump does not want to run for re-election as an official who has been impeached. Moreover, he fears the testimony that would be taken in the House, testimony that would be televised across the nation, shown on countless newscasts, receive millions of hits on YouTube, and become a Facebook favorite. And no one wants "impeachment" in the first line of his obituary.

It may have been debatable a few days ago. On Thursday, however, Trump gave it all up, labeling "impeachment" a "dirty, filthy, disgusting word." ("Dirty and filthy?" How is your stash of pornography, Donald?)  Donald does not want to be associated with dirty, filthy, and disgusting.

The process of impeachment should not commence merely because the President doesn't want it.  And it is probable (though not as certain as assumed) that following impeachment, the Senate would not convict him. But the President, who can be thrown out of office and still be charged in a criminal court, rationally fears impeachment. Republicans will not speak out until and unless confronted by the  evidence which would be revealed only in the course of the House seeking an indictment.

President Trump, smart enough to have been elected President, and Speaker Pelosi both seem to be stalling for time and trying to run the clock out. However, time can be on the side of only one Party, and it's not the one Nancy Pelosi represents.

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