Senate Republicans are now gearing up to acquit Trump in an impeachment trial on the specious rationale that putting a former officeholder on trial is unconstitutional, even though legal scholars, including some from the conservative Federalist Society, have broadly affirmed the constitutionality of such a proceeding.
Democrats in the House of Representatives have begun to openly discuss impeaching President Donald Trump. This is a new development in that after the November 6 elections most of them said they would focus on hearings and legislation instead.
But the new criminal allegations made against Trump by federal prosecutors last week have changed the environment on Capitol Hill. And this means legislators are no longer reluctant to mention the “I” word even if they say that the time is not right (yet) to move forward on impeachment.
All the top House Democrats agree that they must wait for Robert Mueller’s final report. They also know that Mueller, and the New York federal prosecutors, may soon come out with more indictments against the president, and even his children and his business.
So it makes sense to “wait and see” but the political dynamic has changed. Democrats in Congress are getting pressure from the people who voted them into power — the left wing of the party. And these people are not that patient. They want Trump impeached, and they want it now — or at least some time soon.
Here are some recent comments about impeachment from leading House Democrats:
- Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York will be chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee. He called the criminal allegations from New York prosecutors an “impeachable offense.” But he also said it probably was not worth removing a president from office for just that.
- Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island who leads the Democratic policy and messaging group, said, “Friday’s revelations give you a sense that we might ultimately head that way (toward impeachment) but we just don’t know yet.”
- Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, the vice-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said “the mountain of evidence is building against Trump.” But she also agreed that Democrats must wait for the report from Mueller before making any final decisions, and she hoped it would be a bipartisan process. “I think impeachment is a political process,” she added. “That means that the American people as well have to feel that the integrity of the White House has been damaged.”
- Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the newly elected House majority leader, told reporters Tuesday he wants a cautious approach:
“Our position has been, is now, and I think will be: Until the Mueller investigation is over, it’s premature to discuss what action ought to be taken as a result of it. We want to see what he’s found out.”
A new ABC News/Washington Post opinion poll released on Friday morning has a lot of bad news for the president. In the poll, disapproval of Donald Trump is at a record high, with fully 60% of voters saying they disapprove of his performance in office. And with 53% saying they “strongly disapprove” of Trump the news could hardly be worse for him or the Republican Party with just two months until the watershed midterm elections.
Only 36 percent of respondents said they approve of Trump, matching his all-time low in that category also.
In addition to Trump’s disapproval increasing, likewise the approval of special counsel Robert Mueller has increased to a new high, spelling more bad news for the president. The poll shows that Americans’ support for the Mueller investigation is very broad. And after the revelations made by Michael Cohen in his guilty pleas earlier in August, now half of Americans would like Congress so start impeachment proceedings against Trump.
“60% disapprove of Pres. Trump, numerically the highest of his presidency; 53% disapprove strongly, the first time more than half have said so in an @ABC News/WaPo poll.”
60% disapprove of Pres. Trump, numerically the highest of his presidency; 53% disapprove strongly, the first time more than half have said so in an @ABC News/WaPo poll. https://t.co/uoninVOCVD pic.twitter.com/SBqz6Z9tXg
A new Axios/Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday reveals 44 percent of respondents want Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump, including 49% of independent voters. Fully 79 percent of Democrats but just 8 percent of Republicans want an impeachment trial to begin in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“NEW POLL: Nearly half of Americans say they want Congress to start impeachment proceedings against Trump.”
— The Hill (@thehill) August 28, 2018
The poll also found that nearly two thirds of American voters believe Michael Cohen when he says that the president ordered him, as his attorney and fixer, to make the illegal payments to women to keep them quiet about his affairs. Cohen admitted he made the “hush money” payments to both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, but said that he only did so at the direction of his client and boss, Donald Trump.
Americans’ opinions on whether or not to begin impeachment of Trump depends completely on which party the respondent belongs to. Even though most members of the GOP do not want to start an impeachment trial in Congress, GOP members of Congress in more moderate congressional districts
have recently said they are open to the idea
It is 208 days until November 6, 2018, the date of the midterm elections. After the votes are counted it is likely (assuming Russia has not hacked our voting machines) that Democrats will re-take control of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Nancy Pelosi will be re-installed as Speaker of the House.
This is all made more likely by the announced retirement of current Speaker, Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. His retirement has other important implications also, as discussed below.
Perhaps the most interesting outcome of Speaker Ryan’s announcement is this: it makes the formal impeachment of Donald Trump in the U.S. House of Representatives much more likely.
Impeachment is not something the Democratic leadership (especially Pelosi) even wants to talk about. Some Republicans are campaigning on this issue, as if the threat of a Trump impeachment will scare so many Americans that they will want to keep the GOP in power in Washington.
But some political observers think that “Democratic leaders could not prevent a 2019 impeachment drive even if they want to.”
Here are other likely outcomes from Ryan’s retirement: