Conservative commentator Charlie Sykes had some advice for Republicans on Saturday: Get off the Trump train now, because it’s going to derail in the near future.
During a discussion on MSNBC, Sykes said the GOP’s impeachment defense strategy – attack the process, not the substance – is doomed to fail as the inquiry quickly escalates with public hearings.
“Republicans in the Senate have to realize that things are going to get a lot worse,” he said. “At some point, they’re going to have to confront the substance and the substance of this is a president who has abused his power and sold out the country.”
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) October 26, 2019
All of this is also a distraction, and I think that became clear from that federal judge’s ruling yesterday. But the story of Lindsey Graham is really quite exceptional when you think about his willingness to shamelessly switch all of his positions and, look, this is where the Republicans are at right now. They have to talk about the legitimacy of the process, focusing on that vote. That’s a fig leaf that’s going to be torn away very, very soon and this is what, you know, David talks about you know, the offramp for Republican. Republicans in the Senate have to realize that things are going to get a lot worse in terms of the evidence, in terms of the venue that’s going to be televised trial, in terms of the president’s behavior and they’re not going to be able to hide behind these questions about when does the House have a vote, public hearing, private hearings, because that process issue will be resolved at some point politically, so at some point they’re going to have to confront the substance and the substance of this is a president who has abused his power and sold out the country.
The Republican strategy is a ticking time bomb
The GOP’s entire impeachment strategy rests on two phony ideas: 1. Democrats need to take a formal vote to have an official impeachment inquiry; and 2. It’s taking place in complete secrecy.
Both of those arguments have already been torn apart.
As PoliticusUSA’s Jason Easley noted on Friday, “A federal judge ruled that House Democrats are engaging in an official impeachment investigation, which means that the White House has no grounds to block witnesses and testimony.”
In other words, the impeachment inquiry is officially underway, whether Republicans like it or not.
The second argument – that Democrats are holding secret impeachment hearings without GOP input – is equally ludicrous. Not only have Republicans participated in each of the depositions to this point, but South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham praised such depositions during the Clinton impeachment inquiry.
At the end of the day, this Republican strategy is a ticking time bomb, even if it does manage to juice GOP morale in the short term.
There will soon be public hearings where the American people will be able to hear the damning evidence against Trump with their own ears. Following those hearings, there will likely be a vote in the House on official articles of impeachment, which will pass.
When all of that happens, the substance of the allegations against Trump will be much worse and Republicans – particularly those in the Senate – will have to make a choice: either break with a criminal president or go down with Donald Trump.